But it isnít really the decline of pop culture thatís at the heart of the premature grandpaís bellyaching—itís the fear of the technology required to capture new music, TV, and movies, and resentment about the rituals being stripped away by things like TiVo and video streaming. Being expected to stay up and watch endless real-time coverage of election results on TV instead of waiting for his morning paper. Feeling pressure to amass thousands of MP3s on his hard drive rather than fetishize a collection of box sets.

Peter Jacobson, an actor best known for playing Dr. Chris Taub on House, is a self-professed old man at 43. He was at dinner recently with ďa bunch of twentysomethings,Ē and he was appalled. ďAll they did all night was take pictures on their cellular phones and send them somewhere,Ē he says. But lately Jacobson has pulled back a bit from the precipice. He recently asked the ďkidsĒ at work—people in their early thirties—to introduce him to some nifty new technology. And while his Grandpa Syndrome hasnít quite gone into remission, he isnít hating his encounter with the other side of middle age. ďThey taught me how to text,Ē he says. ďItís kind of annoying, but Iím starting to get the hang of it.Ē