I was in a drug store Monday evening (the 20th - hint, hint), and while filling out the check the perfectly nice young female clerk helpfully offered the day's date.
I told her, "Thanks, but I knew that one. Big Trivia Fan here."
First Bad Sign: Her reply - "Huh?"
I drew a breath and asked her if she knew what world-famous event had occurred on that day, forty years earlier, that was the cause of newspaper reports and tv segments and talk radio debates and internet alerts and god knows what all else.
She gave me that look that you get when you show a card trick to a dog. Total befuddlement, a nervous sense that she was supposed to be more excited but didn't know why.
I told her that forty years ago that day, mankind landed on the moon for the first time.
I tried one last time. "Neil Armstrong? 'One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind'? Apollo 11? The human race set foot on another heavenly body for the very first time?"
She stared at me for a few seconds, and then burst out guffawing and said " Get outta here! We ain't been to the MOON! That's just Crazy!!"
Now. I'm aware that ignorance knows no age or intellectual divide. I know quite clever people that are still totally unaware of some things that one would expect almost anybody living in the Information Age to be cognizant of - Like, that if it's the middle of the afternoon here, then it's the middle of the night on the other side of the planet. I know people in management positions who are under the impression that the ENTIRE UNIVERSE re-sets it's clock every time we switch back and forth from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. I'm real good at staring at somebody who's said something that dumb with an unnervingly blank expression until they get flustered and go away.
But...Doesn't a perfectly content stranger not even knowing that we've been to the Moon make any of you just a tad...sad? These are the folks that are going to inherit the planet, and it made me morose. Just how ignorant and uninformed is acceptable these days?