While You Were in Diapers
I was describing tropes here while you were in kindergarten
Flash: So, Jeeves, do you come with the place or does "Master Bruce" rent you just for parties?
I've been in service here since the master
was in diapers.
Flash: Now there's a picture.
For some old people, looking back at their past achievements is not a sign they are over the hill, but a sign that they've been awesome all along, and that the awesome just compounded over the years. This trope comes into play with them saying to younger people that they were doing awesome things when those younger people were too young to do anything great, often in the form of "I was doing X while you were in diapers".
A common variation is a Long Lived
character stating "I was doing X while your ancestors were in diapers". Also, "I've forgotten more about X then you will ever know!"
often involves this kind of statement, except that it's "my culture was awesome when your culture was still banging rocks together!".
Compare When I Was Your Age
, Years Too Early
Contrast Glory Days
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Anime and Manga
- Kakuzu of Naruto makes a point of reminding his opponents that he once fought the First Hokage-a man who's at LEAST seventy years dead. Essentially, he fought the most powerful Shinobi to ever live before any of the protagonists were even born.
- Interestingly enough, the Edo Tensei reanimated Second Mizukage remembers Grumpy Old Man Ohnoki, the current Tsuchikage, from when he was a child.
- A variant occurs in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Hayate, speaking with Auris Gaiz, suggests that Auris' superior, Lieutenant General Regius Gaiz, is somehow involved with the Jail Scaglietti incident. Auris then asks Hayate how long she has been with the Bureau, and the 19-year-old Hayate says she has been with them for 10 years. Auris then says that Regius has been in the Bureau for 40 years, and when Hayate was committing crimes to save her life during the Book of Darkness Incidentnote, Regius was upholding the law and defending the people, implying Hayate has no right to question him.
- Batman comics and other adaptations often have Alfred invoke this trope. In the Justice League animated series, Alfred tells the Flash that he had been working for the Wayne family "since Master Bruce was in diapers", and on several occassions when Batman brushes off Alfred's assistance or gets frustrated with him, Alfred is quick to remind Master Bruce that he was an MI 6 agent before he was born, or something to the effect of "I powdered your bottom, I can very well do (X)!"
- One Lucky Luke story features an old-timer character in a wheelchair roping cattle. When Luke congratulates him, the old guy pretty much gives him the line.
- "I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!" snarls Moe Greene in The Godfather.
- Stryker says this to Senator Kelly (or who he thinks is Kelly) in X2: X-Men United. "I was flying Black Ops missions in the jungle of north Vietnam, while you were sucking on your mama's titter at Woodstock."
- Beast pulls one of these on Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand, but he's actually younger than Wolverine.
- In Star Trek: Generations, Kirk says this about Picard's grandfather being in diapers. The problem that many fans noticed was the context of the line was why he should enjoy a form of retirement, which directly contradicts scenes both before and after this, within the very movie.
- Sheriff Teasle does this to illustrate why he's so determined to find and kill Rambo in First Blood after the latter had accidentally caused his asshole deputy's death:
Teasle: Look, goddamn it! That's Art Galt, boy; me and him were friends when your mama was still wipin' your nose!!
- A variation, but with upbringing instead of age, is done in Battlefield Earth.
"While you were still learning how to spell your name, I was being trained to conquer galaxies!"
- In Blue Thunder, Braddock says he's was in the police force when new recruit Lymangood was "watching cartoons" and "eating a fudgesical".
- A variant of this occurs in Point Break with Gary Busey telling Keanu Reeves " I was takin' shrapnel in Khe Sanh when you were crappin' in your hands and rubbin' it on your face!"
- From O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Vernon T. Waldrip: I can't switch sides in the middle of a campaign. Especially to work for a man who lacks moral fiber.
Pappy O'Daniel: Moral fiber? Why, you little pasty-face sumbitch. I invented moral fiber! Pappy O'Daniel was displaying rectitude and high-mindedness when that egghead you work for was still messing his drawers!
- One elf in The Santa Clause dislikes being mistaken for a kid. "I have pointy shoes that are older than you."
- In The Rock, during his negotiations with the government, General Hummell calls out the Secretary of the Interior, reminding him that he and his men were in combat when the Secretary was 11 years old.
Live Action Television
- Subverted in Just Shoot Me!. Nina tries to do this with Adrian, but Nina names a specific year, and Adrian says she wasn't even born then. Nina instantly breaks down.
- On Mama's Family, Mama says to Iola "I was making booties before you had feet!"
- Artie in Warehouse 13 "Like I don't know how to improvise an electromagnet. I was doing this when MacGyver was still trapped in his crib!"
- During the Celebrity Deathmatch between Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie, Ozzy threatened Rob not to mess with him, saying "I was worshipping the devil when you were still in black leather diapers."
- The Twilight Zone episode "He's Alive" has a scene where Adolf Hitler's ghost tells off a neo-Nazi wannabe.
"Mr. Vollmer! I was writing speeches before you could read them. I was fighting battles, when your only struggle was to climb out of a womb. I was taking over the world, while your universe was a crib. And as for being in darkness, Mr. Vollmer, I INVENTED DARKNESS!!"
- In one of Colonel Flagg's MASH episodes, he showed up insisting that a bombardier who believed himself to be Christ should get "his highly trained thumb" back into action immediately. He was rude to Colonel Potter. Potter said that he didn't appreciate abuse. "I was in this man's army when the only thumb you cared about was the one you had in your mouth."
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics," Scotty angrily remarks to Geordi that he was repairing warp drives when LaForge's great-grandfather was in diapers.
- In "Unification Part 2," Picard describes Spock's dealings with the Romulans as "cowboy diplomacy" and tells him that the Federation won't tolerate it. Spock retorts that he was involved with such cowboy diplomacy before Picard was even born.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Message in a Bottle," Voyager 's EMH tells Prometheus's EMH Mark II that "I was saving Voyager from annihilation when you were only a gleam in your programmer's eye!"
- In the Game of Thrones episode "The Ghost of Harrenhal" one of Theon's crewmen, less than impressed by Captain Theon, goes even further back, saying that "I have been reaving and raping since before you left Balon's balls."
- An interestingly phrased variant in Farscape from Zhaan to Chiana:
Chiana: ...and when he didn't give it back, we beat the gris out of him. Should I be telling you this?
Zhaan: My dear, I've kicked more ass than you've sat on.
- Subverted in the Pet Shop Boys song "Young Offender": "I've been a teenager since before you were born" sounds like a boast, but is actually an admission that the singer is still emotionally/mentally a teenager.
- One of Cranky Kong's quotes in Donkey Kong Country is "Last time I saw you, you were in diapers!"
- Mass Effect 2: During Grunt's loyalty mission, if Gatagog Uvenk gets too uppity with the Shaman, the Shaman will remind him that "I was a warrior before your mother was born!" During a sidequest on Illium, an asari with a grudge against other species says that she was negotiating contracts while Shepard's ancestors were burning witches and enslaving each other.
- Later done in Mass Effect 3 with Javik, resident Last of His Kind former Precursor Popsicle, who is fond of mentioning what the dominant species of the current cycle were like in his time: humans lived in caves, hanar were like minnows in the ocean, yahg were small and salarians ate flies and licked their own eyes.
- In World of Warcraft, Xaril the Poisoned Mind, one of the mantid Paragons (heroes sealed in amber and released in times of crisis- although for Xaril, it was in the relatively recent past, as opposed to centuries or millennia ago), says he remembers when Amber Shaper Un'sok, one of the sha-corrupted Empress' minions and the penultimate boss in Heart of Fear, was afraid to mix his first toxin.
- Captain Rescue took offense at being called an 'oldtimer' by Sonic in the episode 'Over The Hill Hero', retorting that he had been saving mobius from bad guys since Sonic was a 'hedgehoglet'.
- In one episode of Cow and Chicken, a new school bully starts picking on the kids that the previous bully picked on. The after the new bully twists the noses of two kids, the original bully tells him:
Original Bully: Isn't nose-twisting a little old? My granny taught me that when I was still in diapers!
New Bully: Oh, just this morning then?
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: Baron Zemo used this on the current head of HYDRA.
- Jem: One episode invokes this trope with Bobby Bailey's criticism of Jem and the Holograms' version of a song he did back in the The Fifties. He told Kimber he did it while her father was in diapers.