Memes of New York

someecards meme creation for facebook

I have always been a big fan of the late, great Dave Barry. I say late because, as of the writing of this post, he is fifteen years late responding to my fan mail. Seriously though, his writing style has been truly inspirational to me. Every word so carefully crafted, it’s as if his filter was not a six pack of Budweiser, but a chain mail of brilliance. A lot of what made his writing so ingenious was his ability to pull together the most random of objects or discussion points, find a hidden link and tie them together to a wonderfully resounding denouement.

In the hopes of following in his steps, I want to talk about the memes that have recently been littering my Facebook news feed (I am referring to the images with a clever quote overlaid ..or something like that). Where did this phenomenon originate? Who came up with this crazy thing? To find out, I decided to use some investigative journalism. [Note to the IRS: Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve done any investigative journalism, but if you take a look at my previous articles, you will see I definitely do it for business reasons.] This time, my professional journalistic nature took me to the grand city of New York.

For those of you who have not yet been to New York City, let me tell you a bit about this wonderfully stuffed berg. It houses two of the most hated baseball teams in the Major Leagues and is the only logical city for Spiderman to sling around in. Let’s be honest – imagine if Spiderman lived in Omaha, NE. All he could do would be to spin a huge net between the Woodmen Tower and the First National Bank Building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think he’d be very effective that way unless criminals were sling shooting themselves through the air.

Back to New York. While there, I ran into the tremendously helpful Jolene Smithers. When asked about her knowledge of the funny card corporation, Someecards, she excitedly responded, “Who?” To help jog her memory, I told her I was talking about those funny cards that get passed around a lot on Facebook. Now clear on what I was asking about, she said, “Oh, I don’t do that Facebook thing. Sorry.” That confirms only 1 of the 18 million people living in New York are not familiar with these memes, proving these are obviously significant no matter where you live.

Why does this matter? It matters because these memes are so completely helpful to our daily life. Thousands of barely surviving business struggle on Facebook trying to provide relevant and informative information to their constituent base, but they’re not doing anything for the gazillion Facebookers out there; nobody cares about helpful information anymore – mindless entertainment is the way to go! I could not agree more, as I am certainly a huge fan of mindless entertainment. I must say though that I am not a fan of the letter games going around; I’ve spent all day trying to figure out how many states do not have any vowels and I’m now way behind on work.

That is why I am so fond of Dave Barry’s work; his mind is as disconnected as mine and he doesn’t use words more complicated than “potato”. I’m pretty sure if they had memes back in the 80s, he would have become a millionaire (but only if he had been the one to invent them). [Note to the IRS: I admit this does not seem like a lot of research for an entire trip to New York, but I can assure you that I have more crackpot investigations to come; such as, what would happen if the Incredible Hulk got trapped in the subway? Or, what exactly does crab juice taste like? Trust me, there is a ton more where that came from.]

someecards meme creation for facebook

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Human Funniness Hormone

Recently, I reported on a ground-breaking story that had the potential to change the face of editorial pages around the globe. It concerned the invention of a new steroid; one that could make a non-humorous person the life of the party. This substance is referred to as HFH (Human Funniness Hormone) and is injected into the rear of the candidate. This injection would cause inhumane amounts of pain, often forcing the candidate to scream random phrases in an un-detectible dialect. Many highly-trained comedians (when I say “highly trained” I mean “largely intoxicated”) considered this panic-induced yell to be an immediate onslaught of Turrets’ Syndrome, rather than a humorous gesture. Thus voting members of the American Association of Silly Simians (AASS) have declared this steroid illegal and punishable by a five year banishment to Des Moines area comedy clubs. When Dave Barry, founding father of AASS, was asked to comment on the severity of the punishment, he offered only a short reply: “I think Des Moines is in Iowa, but I’ve never been on the Artic Continent, so I can’t tell you much about it.”

In an effort to inform readers of this controversy, I intended to write a thorough and well-researched article that would be regarded as the highest output of journalistic integrity that I’ve manufactured to date; so I went straight to the phones and called a few well known comedians for interviews about this controversy. First on the list was Jerry Seinfeld. When questioned about his alleged use of HFH, Mr. Seinfeld replied curtly: “Who are you? How did you get this number?” For the sake of America’s youth, I cannot disclose the remainder of his comments, as his momentary outburst of uncontrollable swearing is still giving me night-sweats. After my discussion with Jerry, I phoned the loveable Danny Tanner; known by his real life name—Bob Saget. His comment was even more vicious and flatulent, yet at the end he muttered that his “hiny” was sore and had to find a soft pillow on which to sit.

The only individual who would give me an honest reply was former Vice-President Al Gore. He offered a very informative discussion in which he expounded on the negative effects of HFH, such as impotence and the loss of an inner monologue. After about forty-five minutes, I thanked him for his time and quietly hung up the phone. He had just finished explaining that if a person were to use his invention known as the “Internet” to look up jokes and research the art of being funny, one could become the life of said “party” (quotations are his) without resorting to intravenous drug use. After my short parlay into the political realm, I still needed more information, so I continued down the list of compatriot comedians. I asked each of them if they had at one time succumbed to the temptation of HFH, and their replies were almost identical: “Call again when you get published!”

My research for this well-informed article was coming together, but I needed a scientific opinion. I considered performing an old-fashioned science experiment wherein I compile a list of poor folks (also known as college students) who would be willing to be injected in the glutinous region with a large needle containing a mysterious clear liquid for a small amount of money. However, I was rejected by every individual questioned (except for Dave Chappelle, he’ll try anything). The majority of respondents thought it was some practical joke by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Mr. Bud Selig. I tried to convince them that Mr. Selig has never told a joke in his life, but no one would listen. My last option to provide scientific data for this article was to break into the lab that developed HFH and take snapshots of incriminating data. This plan failed for two reasons: 1) I don’t have a camera; and 2) I’m not sure what the word “incriminating” means.

Despite my inability to complete the story with that final, incriminating piece of evidence, the information speaks for itself. HFH does cause immediate bouts of voracious swearing fits followed by painful swelling in the rear end. I have no idea if it actually makes you funnier. While we’re on this topic, let me take a moment to educate you by discussing a phenomenon that is absolutely not funny. While performing tax-deductible research for my story at a baseball game—I wanted to see if the painful side-effects of HFH injections were similar to the steroid injections used by baseball players—I overheard a conversation between two young girls. One of them made a sincere effort at a joke, and if I were a thirteen year old boy with a face that looks like a pickle, I might have chuckled a bit. The other girl found the comment quite funny, but instead of laughing until milk squirted out of her nose like teenagers did in my day, she said, “L-O-L”. It was more meaningful to spell out the acronym L-O-L (internet lingo that stands for “Laugh Out Loud”) than to actually laugh out loud. This confused me terribly. Has society deteriorated to the point that we speak personally to each other in the instant message language? I’m not sure I can handle this. The next thing you know I’m going to be at a book signing at Barnes and Noble when a person comes up to me, and instead of speaking to me, writes a note that says, “Who r u? What do u no bout LOL?” My only comfort will be in knowing that my chair is heavily padded.

This on-going trend towards futuristic living deeply confuses me, not only when it comes to human conversation, but also everyday living. I’m very concerned that one day Dippin Dots will take over as the main source of ice cream in the U.S., probably due to a hostile takeover at a dairy farm. Coke floats will lose out to the newly popular “vegetable float”, a drink that combines pureed veggies with a non-fat sherbet. And quite possibly the most horrendous development of the future concerns the early season success of a women’s high school basketball team in South Dakota, known as the Jack Rabbits–“Jacks” for short. The Lady Jacks should not be getting off to a good start.