When my adult son handed me a personal check to cover his debt, I asked him how he knew Mr. Dollars.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said, repeating what was the most-often-used phrase between us.
I showed him the check. On the “Pay to the order of” line, he’d written, “Two hundred dollars.” The line below had my name, though I was fairly sure I was an unacceptable currency. His signature was at the bottom left, on the “Memo” line.
On the bottom right line, where you’d expect to see a signature, he’d written “$200.”
At 19, my son had absolutely no idea how to make out a check. Even after a quick tutorial, he required another two attempts before getting it right.
I was surprised at first, until I realized that a Millennial needs a checkbook like a Bedouin needs a life jacket.
It got me thinking what other basics aren’t in my son’s life-skill set (and no longer need to be).
My top 5 In my day, we had to know this stuff, but not anymore competencies:
- Dialing 411 for information. My son will never know the humiliation of paying 50 cents to a bored telecommunications employee for a phone number that had just a 60 percent chance of being correct.
- Misreading a map and, eventually, stopping for directions. Thanks to GPS-powered mapping apps, my son can blame technology for getting lost. The best thing is how voice assistants don’t scream back and blame you for ruining the trip.
- Type with more than two fingers. Using more than two fingers seems excessive in a text-fueled world. In a few decades, maybe Millennials will complain how the younger generation depends on emojis rather than facial expressions.
- Driving a stick shift. In between texts and social-media posts, it would be unfair to burden younger motorists with additional driving skills.
- Confusing cursive with hieroglyphics. I am my son’s “Google translate” when it comes to deciphering cursive writing. His ability is so lacking, his signature contains only his initials and resembles a single heartbeat on a cardiogram.
- Requiring guidance when addressing an envelope. Not only unsure where to put the address and what information it should contain, Millennials also wonder where the “Subject” line could be.
- Spouting tedious “Well, back in my day” stories in an attempt to impress the younger generation. But just wait, Millennials. You will acquire this skill sooner than you think.