FLINT - Witty guy that I am, I said to a young woman named Mindy, "You must get tired of being asked about how Mork is."
Ha ha! Ha um
She looked at me blankly.
I stammered, "You know, 'Mork & Mindy.' Nanoo-nanoo? Robin Williams? Hello?"
"Sorry," she said. "I'm only 25."
She might as well have said, "Move along now, grandpa. And take your quaint memories of television from the Mesozoic Era with you."
I confess I was irritated. What the heck's wrong with her, I thought? I mean, good grief, 'Mork & Mindy' rocked the TV world. And Robin Williams, he was an instant hit with that ridiculous red costume and that egg-shaped spaceship.
And, oh man, when he'd talk to Orson, his boss back on Orc, now THAT was some funny stuff. C'mon, everybody watched it!
Unless, of course, you weren't yet a glimmer in your parents eyes.
I went home and looked it up. 'Mork & Mindy' Robin Williams' first claim to fame ran from 1978 to 1982, three years before that woman would have been born. Is that possible? Am I really that old?
The answer is yes, but at 49 I certainly don't feel "old," per se. I mean, hey, I play basketball. I'm on Facebook. I listen to music on my iPod. (So it's largely '70s rock, so what? Foreigner rules!)
Oh, OK, so I'm not exactly a spring chicken anymore. What bothers me most, though, is that after that encounter with the Morkless wonder, I suddenly realized how many relatively archaic pop references I mix into my daily speech.
For instance, the other day one of my kids couldn't find something that was right in front of him.
"Hey, Mr. Magoo," I said, "maybe you need some glasses."
He looked at me like worms were crawling out of my ears, which isn't surprising. Mr. Magoo, the cartoon, ran in the 1960s and 1970s. It was old even when I was young.
Recently, one of my teenage son's friends asked if I knew what time a movie was showing. I responded like this: "I know nothing, NOOOTHING!" then smiled like a crazy man.
If you're my age, you may recognize that as a line spouted every episode or so by Sgt. Schultz on "Hogan's Heroes," which ran from 1965 to 1971. He didn't know that, though. He just stared at me like I was speaking Chinese.
Why that dumb little phrase popped to mind and out of my mouth is beyond my understanding, but like I said, I do it all the time.
I'm not sure a day goes by, for instance, that I don't throw out a line or two from "Seinfeld." No soup for you, close talker, sponge-worthy, I was in the pool, yadda yadda yadda, but I don't WANNA be a pirate. I can go on and on, and sometimes I do.
But I just looked that up, too. "Seinfeld" ran from 1989 when I was 28 until 1998. And yet to me, it seems like yesterday.
You know what this means, don't you?
It means that my kids - and pretty much anyone I encounter in my life who is younger than, say, 35 - probably think I'm an idiot. And a boring idiot, at that.
And that means I've officially become old because that's precisely what I used to think about my parents and their friends when they were always making tiresome references to Frank Sinatra, 'Laugh In,' Jack Benny, Elvis, Lassie, "My Three Sons" and weird stuff like that.
At least I'm not alone, though. The lovely yet formidable Marcia is equally as pathetic.
The other day I caught her singing the song to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" to our 16-year-old son.
Why? Because he didn't smile at something she said. So she sang, "Who can turn the world on with his smiiiile!"
Sam just rolled his eyes and groaned, as if he was in pain, which he probably was.
Lord, I hope he puts us in a good home when the day comes.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.