Local Memes

I have meant to undertake this project for a long time: the compilation of a list of “local memes” in my household. As I get older (and older and older) I become more and more aware of this condition of being composed out of bits and pieces that originated in other people. I am also aware of various recurring gags, puns, patterned exchanges etc.– memes –that gradually died out through disuse or replacement. Every once in a while my wife and I will recall some old joke that we used to do and we’ll momentarily resurrect it, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. We flatter ourselves that we have an unusual number of these active or recalled memes stored up, but probably most couples have equally rich archives. Anyways, ours are special to us, and I’d like to partially preserve them by sharing them now. I’ll just update this post as I think of more.

I’ll be right Barack Obama. Pretty self-explanatory. Also, Barack to the future, etc.

Thass nice. Thass real nice. – Slurring lecher #1 in the bar scene in the terrible movie Eve of DestructionDenotes lustful appreciation of something (in the meme, usually something innocent like food or drink).

snoring/narcolepsy — This is where you decide that the point you’re trying to make is too boring, obscure and convoluted to actually finish and you stop in mid-sentence and nod off. The use of this has decreased because it was really off-putting for my wife and she basically forbid it.

“Oh God” – this was my sort of Joey Lawrence woah during college. I also briefly tried to promote my own pre-packaged meme: embrace the chaos/channel the void.

revolution in your stomach — when you mix foods causing gastrointestinal distress. From a Salvadoran family member. Also the phrase Don’t be lazy.

“What? What did you say?” — I tried to find a relevant video clip from the Ozu movie Good Morning to demonstrate this very simple and satisfying gag, but looks like you’ll have to check out the movie yourself.

cat names — We have two cats, Mackerel/Mack and Ruby. Ruby is variously PoofyMiss Fluffy-shanks and Rubifer Jenkins. Mackerel is usually just Mack, but his friendly, chill demeanor often conjures up declarations that Mack is a buddy and that Mack is a mackimal.

monkey dancing — A monkey dance is a disrespectful display where you show your interlocutor that you are not paying attention to what they are saying because you are no longer a rational being with language. Traditionally you literally pretend to be a monkey by putting your arms above your head and bouncing back and forth on your feet while sticking your tongue out, but any elaborate discourse-destroying dance qualifies.

hot socks – This one is based on the Lords of Acid song “Rough Sex“, where the refrain is a litany of “deep sex, hard sex”, etc. So you replace the word sex with socks and try to come up with descriptions of socks that sound dirty but still make sense in the context of socks. “wet socks, hot socks, smelly socks.”, etc. I actually can’t remember how we kept this one going long enough to be interesting, but we came up with quite a few.

“Bob” Damon – If you’re watching a movie where an actor looks like a more famous actor, you come up with a fake first name and assert that the actor is the more famous actor’s sibling struggling in obscurity.

“And it looked just like a checkerboard!” – The punchline to a ridiculous true story once told to me by a friend. When uttered (in a high-pitched, incredulous voice) it denotes the discovery of an absurd and wonderful fact.

haspiration – This is where you append h’s before all beginning vowels in words and all silent h’s, as in “That’s hannoying” and “hu-wat hare hu-you doing?”

Y’see… Rudy — apocryphal quoting from the Bill Cosby Rap, which doesn’t actually include the name Rudy. Denotes when you’re saying something self-consciously condescending.

Stompy McStomperson — This is apparently me. Related to Messy McMesserson, which is a pretty universal meme.

“_ Joe, everyone’s favorite Joe.” – e.g., Hey look it’s Self-pitying Joe, everyone’s favorite Joe. This came from my roommate in college.

Sometimes a man has to do things that don’t make any sense, nevertheless he must do them, because he is a man. – half-remembered paraphrase from the great movie Fighting Elegy.

“I look good, I smell good, I feel good … I’m a cat!” – half-remembered line from Red Dwarf. Also, “The only thing that can kill a vindaloo: a lager.” Also, from The IT Crowd“You’re making it go back in!”

deathwork — Term from an eccentric book by the cranky sociologist Phillip Rieff, which he uses to describe everything from Piss Christ to Ulysses to this image of a person made out of vegetables. A way to flippantly dismiss something. Related to the phrase The death of meaning.

You’re probably going to die. Used by a friend a lot, the joke being that instead of trying to reassure someone that their neurotic fears aren’t real, you just agree with them that they’re probably right in their catastrophic estimates. This friend also says Happy family, happy family whenever there’s slight social conflict, which is probably from something. Also, the whole concept of icecream cake being inherently more desirable than regular cake, which is apparently from Modern Family.

basic portalology — Recent meme from playing through Portal 2 with same friend, as in That’s basic portalology!, exclaimed when you realize you’ve been overthinking a level.

I think there was something wrong with the beer. The joke being that the beer being skunk is what made you sick, which is why you should always drink out of heinecans.

It’s important. — Said of things that aren’t important. See note.

an all too possible future – a reference to the offensively ridiculous Heinlein book Farnham’s Freehold, read by my friend and I and thankfully few other living people. Also with the same friend the principle that only one person can take off his shirt in a room at a time.

I’m sorry that happened to you — tepid expression of sympathy for an unfortunate event that is either extremely mild or entirely self-induced and preventable.

“Pretty. Pretty. Pretty good” – From Curb Your Enthusiasm, of course.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuumm – Open-ended contemplation sound that a friend’s five-year-old daughter would make. Also from same little girl: “Poop on your head!” And from that friend: “Wake up!”

“Train.” We live next to a railroad, so when the train comes by we translate what its warning horn is saying, which is clearly: “Train. Train. Traiiiiiin. Train.”, etc.  

  • Ian McCracken

    Ours are, almost universally, Arrested Development or Star Trek or Lebowski or Nora quotes. Frankly I’m unable to think of any (right now) that don’t fall into one of those buckets.

    Forgot all about the checkerboard. Thanks for that.

  • method

    Yeah, I left out the Lebowski memes altogether, because they’re so universal. We do a lot of “He’s a good man, and thorough.” and “Fuck it, dude, let’s go bowling.”

    I just thought of a good one between us. I’ll add it to the list.