One of my mentees and his wife have welcomed a new addition to their growing family. The baby’s name will be Maxwell.
I wanted to make a mild joke about the newborn with my other mentees, so I asked them whether they thought it would be appropriate to get little Maxwell a silver hammer. In response, I was greeted with absolutely blank stares. “I don’t think a hammer would be an appropriate gift for an infant,” one of my mentees politely responded. “Is there some kind of tradition involved in giving a hammer to a child?” another asked.
“You know, the Beatles song,” I prompted. Additional baffled looks. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer?” I added. More uncomfortable silence.
Occasionally, an incident occurs that crystallizes the fact that you are getting incredibly old, and the common cultural touchstones that used to be assumed in every conversation are common touchstones no more. My references to Beatles song have no more resonance with my 20- and 30-something mentees than the latest Jay-Z song (assuming Jay-Z is still a popular artist — which I of course am blissfully unaware of) would have with me.