In a meeting not too long ago someone referenced the novel Bleak House. The twenty-something seated next to me looked to me for an explanation. I discretely informed her it was a book by Charles Dickens.
She asked, with wide-eyed innocence and so everyone could hear, "Who's Charles Dickens?"
Excuse me while my head explodes...
I didn't expect her to get the Bleak House reference, but I at least expected her to know who Charles Dickens was?
Or was I expecting too much?
I was mildly comforted by the fact that the few others in the room, all above 40 years of age, stared at her in shock too.
She's a high school graduate and currently attending college. No, not an English major, but still...
This is CHARLES FREAKING DICKENS!
What in the hell are they teaching in schools these days?! I was exposed to Dickens and his work in high school and again in college. I still haven't read everything he's written, but I've read most of it.
I leaned toward her again. "You know ... Charles Dickens. Oliver Twist?"
"A Christmas Carol?"
A glimmer of light. "I know that one," she said, beaming. "Didn't they make a movie out of that?"
At least she didn't reference the Muppet version.