Rocket Shoes

13 Year Old: "What's a pager?"

Me: "Oh. It was this device that I wore on my pants. My friends would call a number that would sound like an answering machine. And when they did, they'd enter in a number for me to call them at. It's like, someone saying…'hey, call me.' It was like…analog texting."

13 yo: "What does analog mean?"

Me: "I don't know. Not fancy."

13 yo: "What's an answering machine?"

Me: "There used to be machines. That literally picked up the phone and recorded things when you weren't home. Like a.."

13 yo: "Why wouldn't you just text them?"

Me: "Oh, we used to not actually like, have cell phones. So texting didn't exist. People would just go outside. And hang out with other people. You had to, you couldn't just text and shit."

13 yo: "So instead you wore something in your pants that couldn't make phone calls?"

Me: "Don't say it like that."

13 yo: "Why, you wore a robot in your pants. I'm just saying what you said."

Me: "It wasn't a robot."

13 yo: "It sounds like a retarded robot."

Me: "You're a retarded robot."

13 yo: "I don't get what that means."

Me: "That's because you're young and don't understand dry wit."

13 yo: "I don't get what that means either."

Me: "See?"

13 yo: "But I still don't get a pager. Why wouldn't you just call people?"

Me: "Because we would be out and wouldn't have phones. So, friends could page you. And you'd call them from like, a pay phone or whatever. And you could write things in "pager code". Like 07734 was hello. And 143 meant I love you…which, in retrospect, is a bit aggressive for a 13 year old. Don't tell anyone you love them yet, you don't. Christ, I sound depressing."

13 yo: "What's a pay phone?"

Me: "They used to have phones all over the place that you could call people on. You'd put money in it. Didn't your generation see The Matrix yet?"

13 yo: "What's The Matrix?"

Me: "Jesus."

13 yo: "Nobody calls anyone. Why don't you just write them on Facebook or tweet at them."

Me: "We didn't have Twitter or Facebook then. You had to meet people. Like, for real. And wait, why do you have a Facebook account? Or a Twitter account? You're too young for that shit. And wait, do you read my stuff? Don't take that stuff seriously."

13 yo: "Why wouldn't I have Facebook and Twitter. And yeah, I've read your stuff. You swear a lot. If you didn't have Facebook or Twitter how did you know if you liked a girl?"

Me: "Oh, we talked to her. She'd tell us about things. Like, interests. And then I'd tell her things. Like, interests."

13 yo: "That sounds exhausting."

Me: "How do you know the word exhausting?"

13 yo: "I'm 13. Are you serious?"

Me: "Just seems like a big word. You're very little. Like, physically. So I just figured you wouldn't know that word."

13 yo: "That makes no sense."

Me: "You make no sense."

13 yo: "Every one of your jokes just seems to be you saying what I just said back to me."

Me: "I know. Because it's hilarious. What are you looking at?"

13 yo: "Instagram."

Me: "Unreal that you know what that is."

13 yo: "My friend just posted a picture. She's hot. I liked it."

Me: "I'm worried for your generation. You guys are gonna just stop talking altogether. Like, little 'like' buttons just walking around. BOOP! I 'like' you."

13 yo: "You have a blog."

Me: "What does that have to do with anything?"

13 yo: "You're worse than me. Have you seen your blog?"

Me: "We're not talking about me."

13 yo: "I am."

Me: "I miss when you were dumb and just listened to anything I said."

13 yo: "I miss when you thought I didn't understand sarcasm."


13 yo: "Hey. I saw The Matrix. It sucked."


Rocket Shoes Mixtape 51: Songs To Say 143 To

Stream the whole thing at the link above.


Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.


38 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Explaining when I was 13 to a 13 year old.”

  • daisy

    September 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    My brother had a credit card, so he helped me get my pager. And then told my mother that only drug dealers had pagers. If you look at this picture you can see the pager and that I was decidedly NOT a drug dealer:

    I think next you should talk to the 13 year old about The Oregon Trail and 3-way phone calls.

    • Jester of the Apocalypse

      September 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      . . . and phone phreaking, BBSes, D+D, phone cards, and if you’re as old as I, Mr. Microphone!

  • Rae

    September 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    “If you didn’t have Facebook or Twitter how did you know if you liked a girl?”

    I weep.

  • Trish

    September 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Hilarious. And thank you for making me feel old :)

  • Erin

    September 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I just had to google instagram. When did I get old?

    • Kristine

      September 6, 2011 at 11:27 am

      I did too :(

    • Grim

      September 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      You’re not the only one :(

    • wolfkin

      October 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      hey you’re young enough to know how to google instagram. if my Dad needed to know what instagram is he’d have to call me.

  • Anthea

    September 5, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Very fascinating. I have not had such a conversation with a young one before but now I totally want to because yours was quite amusing. I fear the day when we’re all really old and we can’t even converse with kids because we’ll be so out of touch. Gasp…

  • Kitten

    September 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Why didn’t the kid just Google it? I mean, it sounds like he does nothing with his life except play on the computer and his cell phone anyways, so why not take a few extra seconds to look it up himself? He would have gotten a more clear answer that way…

  • Lucía

    September 6, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Hi! This was fun :) Have you ever talked him about the film cameras? About how you had to wait a week to get your pictures and see how they got?? I think that would be hard for the 13 year old people to understand..!! :P

  • /facepalm

    September 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Umm, wow. That’s the stupidest 13 year old I’ve ever seen. I knew more than he did when i was ten. I’m 13 now. I know all of those words, got all your pathetic jokes, and knew what a pager was. I find this offensive.

    • daisy

      September 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Why are you not in school right now?

  • No You

    September 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Wow. You’re lame. Also, you’re rather unintelligent. Do you really need to swear at a 13 yr old, and make it sound like it’s impossible to actually talk to someone else about interests and the like… How old are you? 19? If you’re any older, you should really go back to school. Not this new school crap, but school where you actually learn how to be a productive member of society.

    Not only that, but you don’t know what analog means? Go look it up on your smart phone, instead of the “I don’t know” copout. And repeating what the kid was saying because you didn’t have something better to say?

    Oh, are you getting too exhausted reading this? Too bad. This is your kick in the face to grow up and act like you know a thing or maybe even two if you can count that high.

    But let’s get away from you, and address the real problem. He’s 13, he’s not going to think of himself a kid any more… Remember? I sure do. These kids are living in a COMPLETELY different world. They lack real social skills, and they escape from the reality of it through their electronics. Set a good example and make memories. They’re worth more than an outdated Iwhatever.

    • daisy

      September 6, 2011 at 11:26 am

      No. You totally get it. He’s definitely ACTUALLY having this conversation with a 13-year-old. What?

    • Rage

      September 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

      “you’re rather unintelligent”

      This is the kinda thing people say when they want to sound smart but live in their parents basement. It was suppose to be a conversation with a 13 year old. If you have a conversation with someone and part of the way though it they ask you what something is and you stop everything you’re doing to Google it, you are pathetic.

      Lets move on since you like to randomly bash people for no reason. Productive member of society huh? So that would be the school that you didn’t go to? If anyone needs to go back to school it’s you considering the way you word your sentences, and decide to attack people because of a conversation you weren’t apart of.

      You’re obviously not a parent; you’re obviously not married and you’re obviously not any help to society. You spend all of you’re time thinking you’re better then everyone else; you are disgusting. The internet is full of people like you, people who do nothing but bitch and complain about how horrible the world is. News flash you incompetent jerk, the world is like this because of you.


      • English101

        September 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        *It was SUPPOSED to
        **conversation you weren’t A PART of
        ***all of YOUR time

        Don’t bother bashing people for “randomly bashing people” if you can’t use proper grammar or properly structured sentences.

      • hasu

        September 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

        English101, ^
        If you can’t win the argument, attack the grammar.

    • whatever

      September 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      oh what an idiot.

  • Chris

    September 6, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    This makes me a) feel very old b) frighten of how it will be when I’ll have children.

  • mathhbratt

    September 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    If you ever explain party lines to the child, I would like to read that. lol. Most of my friends could not afford private lines and had to deal with party lines. While I didn’t have to have one, I was still constantly frustrated while trying to cope with theirs.

    • daisy

      September 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      How sad that I originally thought you meant in terms of politics.

      Ok. I’m going to stop commenting on this post now. I’m starting to look like a stalker.

      (I SEE YOU, DREW.)

  • hijabeng

    September 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Good grief, that reminds me of conversations with my 13 year old cousin (whom we’d nicknamed Simba). He had never even seen the Lion King as a kid, for shame, until we forcibly made him watch it. He called it boring. Le sigh.

    • JN

      September 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      The Lion King?
      I need to punch something.

      • whatever

        September 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

        i feel that urge too

  • JN

    September 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Man, I remember when me & my mom first used instant messaging with my cousins in NJ. And that the first video I ever saw online took about 20 minutes to load with our old dial- up connection. And the first time we had cell phones & they were like plastic bricks with antennas. We thought all that was amazing because we never had it before & after that, we could really appreciate all the new & improved tech being released.
    I think I heard from some news station that this new generation is being called the ‘Entitlement Generation’ because they think they just deserve to have everything without having to work for it. Which is just lame. I may be only 19, but come on. I was more grown up at age 9 than these ungrateful kids today are at 13.

    You should tell him about VHS tapes & how sometimes they’d get fuzzy while you were watching them & you’d have to blow dust out of the VCR to fix it.

  • Aly

    September 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I’m 16 now, and I feel terrible knowing I belong to this generation. I know all that stuff. But it was still funny. That thirteen year old sounds a lot like my nine year old cousin…. I fear for future children…

  • Roshan

    September 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    lol. i’d almost forgotten how pager worked!

    • Kylie

      September 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Stereotypical, ignorant, ageist. You should try to remember how pissed off you were when some patronizing adult would think less of you because of your age (and then you went and patronized a bunch of 5th graders, which is how the cycle probably started). If I were that kid, I would act snotty towards you as well. Go him!

  • haley

    September 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    omg srsly. i have no clue what instagram is and facebook and twitter are the most boreing thing ever. the matrix is amazing and pagers are the shit idkby but this kids scares me. i suddenly feel im the nost well rounded child in the world after reading this

  • hamsterbot

    September 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    im 13 and i new all that shit… i just think that kid is retarded….

    • daffners

      September 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      lulz same but wtf is instagram…. google time? yush

  • Newbies

    September 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    so the real question here is…

    1) were all these sub-13 year olds reading this before?
    2) did it get indexed fast enough to come up in their streams/feeds/search results?

    love it.

    and seriously people, smile a little, yeah? it makes life more fun.

  • Roxanne

    September 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I’m 19 and had to google instagram too, but I don’t care much for high tech phones. 6 years isn’t too much of a gap, right? I know a whole lot of movies, singers, references, and technology from the older generations. Man these kiddos are moving quick!

  • Roxanne

    September 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I’m 19 and had to google instagram too, but I don’t care much for high tech phones. 6 years isn’t too much of a gap, right? I know a whole lot of movies, singers, references, and technology from the older generations but I’m still going on Facebook and texting. Man these kiddos are moving quick!

  • Susan

    September 11, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Wow, I just aged another 10+ years from reading this! I’m not ready to be that old!!

  • Alison

    October 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    what the fuck… what kind of 13 year old doesn’t know what an answering machine is?!

    I knew what it was and we didn’t have them growing up we had voice mail which is basically an answering machine on your damn phone. jeez.
    I had a cellphone when i was 13 and knew what a damn answering machine was.

  • tim

    April 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    How do you not know what analog means you are not as smart as the 13 year old. this was so disappointing I am going to block this entire site I don’t want to see anything by you ever again.

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