From VH1's I love the 2000s
1. You know what a "hanging chad" is.
It's not what Urban Dictionary may lead people to believe. The 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore got thrown into a month-long limbo as the winner in Florida was too close to call. Paper ballots were recounted, and there was a dispute as to whether ones that weren't completely punched through would count. Those pieces of paper were called "hanging chads." We think that guy who's examining the chads in that famous photo is still crosseyed.
2. Tom was your MySpace friend.
Remember MySpace? It was Facebook with polka-dot wallpaper and Comic Sans text. As soon as you created an account, you had a friend! It was this guy named Tom, sitting there giving you a thumb's up. This was a real person: MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson, who finally left the company a few years after it was sold to the News Corp. behemoth.
3. You watched Ken Jennings kick butt on Jeopardy!
Jennings is just like the guy in the cube next to you who regales you about his fishing trip or how he spent the weekend looking for vintage comics, but he also pretty much knows everything. In 2004, he won 74 straight games and over $2.5 million, two numbers that have yet to be reached outside of the show's tournaments.
4. You made phone calls with your cell phone.
You didn't text. You didn't watch Mad Men episodes. You didn't check Twitter every two milliseconds. You didn't take selfies. You actually made and received telephone calls. Oh, and your phone likely flipped open and was small enough to actually put in your pocket.
5. The words "Homestar Runner" make you smile.
Before the advent of web series and the ability to stream everything in the world via Netflix, there was Homestar Runner, a web-only cartoon series that starred the shapeless, somewhat child-like Homestar and his friends. Anyone who was a follower, though, always looked forward to the e-mail segment from Homestar's "enemy," Strong Bad, a tiny guy with a big head enshrouded in a Mexican wrestling mask.
6. You remember that Lance Bass was as big a star as Justin Timberlake.
It seems like there's a big "boy band boom" every decade or so, isn't there? Well, we old fogeys remember 'NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys as the One Direction of the early aughts, and that girls screamed over 'NSYNC's Bass as much or more than his spindly bandmate, JT. Even Joey Fatone got a lot of attention. Now JT gives permission to have five-second pity reunions at the Grammys.
7. You scratched your head when Rachel and Joey hooked up on Friends.
That was weird, wasn't it? Ross and Rachel made sense, as did Chandler and Monica. But Rachel and Joey? It's like up was down, inside was outside, and Hoobastank was a good band. Luckily, the writers also realized that they didn't need to hook everyone on the show up with each other and let the coupling slide. That would have made little Emma's birthday parties really awkward, wouldn't it?
8. You have a favorite Adam Sandler movie… and it's not Punch Drunk Love.
We're partial to Anger Management, mainly because of Jack Nicholson, but in the decade Sandler did a surprising mix of more "serious" movies and his usual goof-fests. Sometimes, though, it's hard to believe he was in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie like PDL, and that he was actually good in it.
9. You still think of Lindsay Lohan as a good actress and not a train wreck.
And you thought Britney Spears was a pop star and not a train wreck. Or that Amanda Bynes was a budding child star and not a train wreck.
10. You let your kids watch Miley Cyrus without guilt.
Remember when you couldn't avoid Hannah Montana, even if you tried? Did you know that the show only started in 2006? It seems like it was a lot longer ago, doesn't it?
11. "Lazy Sunday" introduced you to YouTube.
In 2005, NBC uploaded the SNL Digital Short "Lazy Sundy" to a new and little-known online video site named YouTube. It got over five million views and instantly made YouTube synonymous with online video, and it put Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island partners on the comedy map. So if you're tired of watching the 3,232,331st cat video, blame Andy Samberg.
12. Your favorite Pixar movie was a window into your personality.
This was before the studio started in on their glut of sequels. Boys liked Cars, girls liked Finding Nemo, foodies liked Ratatoullie, comic book fans liked The Incredibles, grumpy old men with hearts of gold liked Up, and weirdos liked WALL-E.
13. You have a massive CD collection you now have no idea what to do with.
It wasn't that long ago when you used to go into a store, buy armfuls of CDs, and hand the cashier your credit card. When Outkast's "Hey Ya!" was in your head and couldn't get out, you actually had to make the effort to get the disc. Now you can just listen to the song on Spotify while staring at that dusty wall of CDs you are dreading having to get rid of. Can't the baby just share her nursery with my Snoop Dog CDs?
14. You remember when the Red Sox were "cursed."
And you also remember when the Yankees used to beat them every which way they could think of. Then a Big Papi, a bloody sock, a bunch of long-haired "Idiots" happened and all of a sudden people like Bill Simmons could no longer be sad. The Sawx have won two more championships since that first one in 2004, and Boston in general was the Sports Town of the Decade.
15. You want to know if Tony Soprano was killed.
When The Sopranos ended in 2007, Tony and his family were at the luncheonette, ordering onion rings. Tony (the late, great James Gandolfini) looks up, and the screen cuts to black. Fans were outraged, but creator David Chase told fans to come up with their own conclusions. How dare he ask TV viewers to think for themselves!