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Pop Culture

16 of the Gen X time capsules that make zero sense to any other generation

Who remembers Columbia House collect notices?

gen x, gen x trends

The car DJ is a sacred job.

Let’s hear it for the lost generation—the slackers and middle children who brought us apathy personified and grunge music. Sure, Gen Xers might not be as loud as the boomers, millennials or even the Gen Zers of this world, but that’s only because, if we’re honest, they’re too busy taking care of things themselves to have time to complain.

And you know, for being the forgotten generation, the world can’t seem to stop talking about it. From Gen X pop culture classics re-emerging into the mainstream, to making headline-worthy spikes in wealth over the past couple of years, this group is (finally) in the spotlight.

Recently u/Ruffffian asked the Reddit community to share what they consider to be “THE most Gen X” thing. As a certified millennial, I have absolutely no idea what half of them are (seriously, what is a “Garbage Pail Kid” and why are they terrifying?). But I guess that’s why only you latchkey kids can proudly claim them.


Much of what people shared harkens back to an experience, rather than an actual object. But one thing’s for sure—only Gen Xers can fully understand, let alone appreciate, this list. Dare I say, no other generation has this flavor combination of edgy and wholesome.

1. “Columbia House collect notices.

– @additional-Olive-405

Not gonna lie, I had to look up what this meant. Fellow millennials, think old Netflix, but for music. There, translated.

2. "Never getting mentioned in the news. It always goes from gen z to millennials to boomers.”

– @My_eternals

3. “Video arcade. Before Gen-X, graphics weren’t good enough, and after Gen-X, you’d play the games on your own home console. No other generation claimed them like we did.”

via GIPHY

– @Masonsknob

4. “Parachute pants..the noise was deafening in the halls between classes!!”

– @GboyFlex

5. “Claiming shotgun in the car so you had access to the binder and could play DJ for the night.”

via GIPHY

– @TikTokTinMan

So like … no Spotify playlist? Such dark times.

6. "Sun-In for hair. Feathered bangs. Blue eyeliner. Love's Baby Soft. Jellies."

– @star-67

7. “Hair crimper, riding bikes with no helmets, buying smokes for my dad at the shop. Putting baby oil on and sunbaking (cause we were literally baking ourselves haha) doing whatever I wanted for one to two hours after school by myself cause parents were still working. Being allowed to roam the streets until almost dark.”

via GIPHY

– @Master-Cricket9906

8. “I said-a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie To the hip hip hop-a you don't stop the rock it to the bang-bang boogie, say up jump the boogie To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat…

– @labretirementhome

9. “Being the last unreachable generation. There were hours where no one knew where we were and our parents had zero way to contact us.

– @Nakedreader_ga

10. “Calling your out-of-town friend collect from a payphone to another payphone to avoid long distance charges.“

via GIPHY

– @Advancedbullshit (who "successfully did this with a boyfriend too")

11. "Always having a pencil in the car for cassettes."

– @sillyputtygizmo

12. "Being the last generation to have to walk across the room to change the TV channel. Being able to fix the TV by pounding on it the right way. Getting the brown box for the TV and there only being three stations."

– @ok_micologist_5569

13. "Watching MTV's Headbangers Ball on Saturday morning, ready to record on the VHS when my favorite bands came on."

via GIPHY

– @hyenaatemyface

14. "What defined Gen X growing up was living under the constant threat of nuclear war. If you wonder why Gen X is defined as 'whatever,' it's because we believed that at some point in our future, we'd end up living, or dying, in a nuclear winter."

– @ruatrollorruserious

15. "Beepers. It felt so important to have one, even cooler if you paid extra for the voicemail service."

– @nousername56789

And finally...

16. "Being old enough to remember (and appreciate) life before the internet and cellphones but being young enough to transition into that world without a hitch."

– @TikTokTinMan

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