Around this time every year, some major university or other publishes a list "Things The Class of XXXX Has Always Known." I thought I'd take a swipe at what this year's college freshman class has "always known" before the official list comes out. There have always been two families running the United States - the Bushes and the Clintons. Who are these political Kennedy people from New England and why should I care? The standard sidearm of the United States Army has always been the 9mm Beretta. Browning M1911A1 .45s are for fuddy-duddies and South American banana republics - whatever that means. There have always been personal computers. And anyone who IS anyone has always had a laptop. There has always been SpellCheck, and it has always checked grammatical usage as well. And it's always come standard as part of every word processing program. Which, by the way, has always been MS Word. There has always been Internet access at home in the United States. Come to think of it, the World Wide Web has always been there. There have always been cellphones. It's just that when we were kids, there weren't so many of them. The country known as the Soviet Union (you know, where Russia is on the map) is something we study in history class. Berlin has never been a divided city. Germany has never been a divided nation. Japan has always been a source of excellent electronics, optics and anime. The United States has always hated Iran. The Red Sox and the Yankees have always been contenders in the American League. What's with this stuff about The Curse? VHS was how people recorded shows off the air before there was TiVo. And what's "off the air," anyhow? Cable and satellite dishes have always been around. Everyone has always had one or the other. There has never been a time when there weren't ATMs. Though I don't know why people bother; everyone's always had a credit card - or two - or three... Making change? Why do I need to know how to do that? Payment is either by credit card or debit card - although some old folks still write checks. Cars have always come with power steering, power brakes, power seats, power windows, air conditioning and a CD player as standard equipment. I don't know why they bother putting cassette players in the dash; tradition, I guess. While we're on the subject, CDs are how people used to get their music before they got it online. And how bizarre was it, that you had to buy a whole CD just to get the two numbers you like on it? NASCAR has always been a presence on TV. Pixar Animation has always been the king of the animation hill. Didn't they buy out the Disney animation studio a couple of years ago? There has always been "one girl, alone of all the world, who battles the vampires, demons and the creatures of darkness." William Shatner IS Denny Crane. Who is James T. Kirk? Vitamin X, aka E or Ecstacy, has always been available if you know who to ask. Everyone has always worn quartz watches. Wind-up watches are so... quaint. The hull number of the USS Enterprise has always been NX-01, and she's always been commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer with Commander T'Pol as his Executive Officer and Science Officer. Law & Order and The Simpsons have always been on television. NBC has always had the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games. Time Magazine and Newsweek have always been written for subliterate cretins. Not that anyone reads anymore, anyway. 4-banger calculators have always been given away as promos or incorporated into cheesy watches. Supermarket cash registers have always had laser scanners. What the heck is a four-on-the-floor, and who on earth would drive one? Gasoline has always cost more than a dollar per gallon. There has never been a military draft. Why would we need one when the military takes anyone who wants to/is dumb enough to go? I'm sure you can come up with plenty more examples of this sort of thing, that have "always been so" for the Class of 2012.