6 things Brian Clarey doesn’t know, and 3 he surprisingly does

That's our guy.
  1. Netflix & Chill

Last week my boss Brian Clarey decided to make fun of me in this newspaper, pointing to cultural references from decades prior to my birth. Quick to defend my millennial generation, I’m clapping back this week (a term that Brian surely doesn’t know), but it’s actually harder than it sounds. The man spends a lot of time on Facebook, and he’s worked in newspapers since around the time I was playing with Stretch Armstrong. But he had no idea that “Netflix & Chill” meant anything beyond the obvious.

2. Tom Hiddleston

I admit, this is cheating a little bit, because I’d never heard of this English actor until he started allegedly dating Taylor Swift. But since then, Hiddleston’s name is everywhere, and unlike me, Brian did watch the man star as Loki in the Avengers, so no excuses.

3. Code-switching

Defined as “the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation” by Google, code-switching is probably used more frequently to refer to the skill people develop to pass in upper-crust white culture, especially if they’re black or poor whites with an accent who need to be fluent in both modes to get by. That may not be the most adept explanation, but it’s a lot better than the clueless look on Brian’s face when I asked him.

4. A/S/L

Brian is up on a surprising amount of shorthand for a 46-year old, including things like SMH. But this outdated reference from the dawn of AIM and chat rooms meaning “age/sex/location” didn’t make it into his lexicon.

5. Old Gregg

“No idea,” he said. I made him watch the idiotic YouTube video though, and I think he liked it.

6. Sandra Bland

“Yeah,” he claimed at first. “Why do I know who she is? Of course I know who Sandra Bland is. Why do I know who Sandra Bland is? She’s in the news because she uh… she’s not the main GOP senator who…” At this point, Senior Editor Jordan Green cracked up, and Brian knew he’d botched it. Pretty terribly, I might add.

7. Meek Mill

When I asked if Brian had heard of this rap artist he said, “Isn’t he in that big thing with the Drake right now? I don’t know what any of those words mean, but I know that. Some beef?” I’ve got to give him credit for getting that far, though his use of “the Drake” as if we were discussing a noble duck instead of one of today’s biggest music stars is adorably embarrassing.

8. Icing

I’m a little disappointed that Brian knows what “icing” is, or was. “This was a big deal among my friends in New York City who were wayyy too old to be doing it,” Brian explained. A friend asked him at the time, “Dude is everybody in your office icing?”

9. Anyone in NSYNC

I would’ve been surprised if Brian couldn’t recall JT’s name when I asked if he knew anyone who’d been in the seminal boy band. But he did one better. Two, actually. “Yeah,” he said. “Justin Timberlake. Lance Bass. Wasn’t Fatone in that one? I like calling guys like that by their last name.”