Anyone who has seen the many movies made about World War II knows that soldiers who had forgotten the day’s password, or who happened upon Allied troops who weren’t from their own company, were always asked something like “Who won the 1939 World Series?” It was a question designed to prove that they were real Americans and not enemy spies.
If I had to answer a similar question today – “Who won the 2012 World Series?” – they would shoot me on the spot because I haven’t got a clue. And the sad thing is, I watched the entire series. The only thing I’m sure of is that it couldn’t have been the Cubs.
Like many people, I haven’t lost my memory.
Are there any questions you could ask today that every American would know the answer to, but few foreigners? Can you name all the Kardashians? Who won the Super Bowl two years ago?
Few people can answer all those questions because there are very few things all of us watch or listen to at the same time anymore.
Even dating sites are dividing people into smaller and smaller groups. I’ve started seeing ads for dating websites targeted to specific groups, instead of singles in general: FarmersOnly.com, ChristianMingle.com, BlackPeopleMeet.com, Mate1.com for people over 30, ProfessionalSinglesOver40.com, OurTime.com for singles over 50, and SingleParentMeet.com. Sounds like it’s OK to be a single parent of any age. Or maybe single parents are just not that picky about who they date.
But even these categories are probably too vague for a lot of people. Would a dairy farmer really want to date someone who raises beef cattle? More and more specific dating services are sure to follow as time goes by with something for everyone. Can SingleUndertakersUnder35.com or DrunkenGamblersWithoutPartners.com be that far away?
How did people ever hook up before the Internet? I don’t remember so many people being single before the Internet came along – is there a connection? Maybe the more connected we are, the less connected we become. You might say, “But look how many of them break up or get divorced!” Yes, but so do regular people. When a couple two blocks away from you splits up, you don’t read about it in the newspaper; it’s not splashed on the magazine covers at the grocery store. You might not even hear about it. Until you see the two parties show up on WontMakeTheSameMistakeAgain.com
• Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.