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Baby Boomers Used To Know That

Boomers took the first slap from the Do It Yourself movement.



Old timers had a saying:

“If it was build by a man, it can be fixed by a man.”

They usually said it before they reconditioned a scrapped tractor with bubble gum and bailing wire.

Those were the garage wizards building cars before the auto industry took off.

One look at early airplanes and you know they used lots of gum and wire too. Bike builders like the Wright Bros. figured it out.

Call it the Golden Years before regulations and licensing. Think 1900.

Then things got more complicated. 

Not long ago, 1991, a series of books hit the market, books for dummies.

From Arts and Photography to Sports you can read a dummy book and get smart.

Algebra, biology, chemistry? You might have failed them in school, but read a dummy book and feel like a PhD.

That was the first slap aimed for boomer adult education. We went to college to learn that stuff, now dummies know it better?

Of course the 282 books for dummies was an inside joke for smart people. They didn’t mind the dummy part.

If they didn’t get the dummy joke first time around they found it again with the Complete Idiot’s Guide two years later.

That’s the second slap.

Is idiot funny? Is dummy funny?

Or do both names remind baby boomers why they got their mouths washed out in grade school.

Now it’s cool to be a moron, but where’s that series?

Books for dummies and the idiot series each began with an explanation of DOS (disk operating system.)

If that’s the starting line for idiots and dummies, make room for one more.

Readers Digest Books did a series called “I Used To Know That.” They took slapping out of the hands of idiots and dummies.

With I Used To Know That, boomers are free to slap themselves silly.

Instead of titles acknowledging our general ignorance, now we get the added benefit of feeling stupid.














About David Gillaspie


  1. Nancy Lewis Swendsen says:

    With all the weight on our shoulders that ‘slap’ is probably why I never bought any of those books. I wonder if ‘flapper days’ moms felt pressure when raising that veteran generation?

    I don’t think all those moms danced.:)

    • David Gillaspie says:

      It’s funny how each era gets tagged with an image, like the flappers in the 20’s doing the Charleston. I don’t think they all danced either, but would they buy a book called Dancing For Dummies, or Speakeasies For Idiots?

      Probably not, but they had something similar to insult their sensitive citizens. Maybe ‘Investment Strategies For Success On Wall Street?’

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