12/07/2011 09:08 am ET

My Dick Van Dyke Moment

I coined a new phrase last week. It's called "a Dick Van Dyke moment" and refers to an exchange that causes a baby boomer to realize that he or she is actually a lot older than people previously thought to be peers.

The experience is similar to, yet distinctively different from, one of those stark reminders of the gap between a boomer and an adult who is obviously of a younger generation - like the babysitter who was floored to learn that I grew up before microwaves became popular household appliances. Or that encounter with a 20-something who was working at the Encino-Tarzana Library a good 15 years back. I asked her where the card catalogue was and she replied, "The what?"