Not too long ago, after years of using candles at night, I learned how to light a kerosene lantern. I jumped for joy when I did it, and was quite proud of myself until I thought "Wait a minute...it's 2005. I should not be rejoicing about this." But the fact is we live like past generations and so must learn those old ways of life. With no electricity we must cook on coalpots, light lanterns to see at night, and use coal irons to iron our clothes.
Today, my son came home from school with his Grammar notes. Topic: How We Use Capital Letters. In the chart of examples, along with the name of a classmate and the name of his school, was this entry: "Tiger generator". He is only 5 years old, but every kid in his class knows what a generator is. (Only the adults know how frustrating the Tiger brand can be). I suppose our kids are the lucky ones though. When I visited my old elementary school in 1996 I saw a list of terms on a classroom wall that included ECOMOG and CO. I had to ask what CO stood for. "Commanding Officer," I was told.