I suppose one could say: this is how much Mandela changed the world. He changed it so much that today's concerned, intelligent, American teenagers have never had to hear the word apartheid battered around on the evening news. On the other hand, I was appalled. In my son's lifetime, Mandela has only been a respected public figure. But in my lifetime he underwent an unthinkable transformation: from state-reviled prisoner to president of that very same nation. It's not that my son is ignorant of Mandela's particular brand of greatness. He just didn't hear that racist label splashed day after day among Iran Contra embarrassments and Michael Jackson hits. Of course he didn't. But even though I know this, time never stops being a surprise.