Memes Are a Thing · 2 January 2016

Apparently, a meme is a thing. (Which apparently, our kids have tried to explain to us more than one time.)

We got on the conversation of memes at Thing 3’s fifteenth birthday dinner around Thanksgiving. I do not remember how the conversation got started, but it ended up with a search on the internet. (Now that the kids have tablets, they can race their mother to look up stuff. But that is another story.) According to various websites, memes are ideas that get passed around and become part of culture. Needless to say, our two younger children could not understand that my wife and I still did not understand memes. Even, after they had on several occasions tried to unravel the mystery of the meme phenomenon. (Thing 2 and Thing 3 are teenagers and are required to think their parents are brainless.)

We finally understood what memes are when Thing 1 came over later that evening for cake and singing. We sang Happy Birthday, had cake, and then got back to the meme thing. Thing 2 started it off when he said that “Let them eat cake” was a historical meme, which got me more confused than ever because I did not think that memes existed way back then. So Thing 1 pulled out his phone and showed us a few examples and explained the whole meme thing to us. (I guess a picture is worth a thousand words.) I got it then. I think.

According to Thing 1, memes are pictures with associated ideas that convey emotions, situations, statuses, or whatever. Apparently, strong memes only need the pictures, whereas new or weak memes need the captions as well. They are usually passed around on the internet via websites and social media. Memes are often funny and from what I gather, usually disparaging or demotivational (if that is even a word).

After the conversation, the kids all suggested that I write something about memes. Or about the conversation of trying to understand memes. Or about the generation gap. Or something. Naturally, I figured I ought to oblige.

After thinking about it though, I figured I ought to go one step further.

Since memes are really just pictures with captions on them, I figured I ought to make a meme. After all, with a moniker like MediocreMan, I ought to be able to come up with something. Especially, since one of my friends and faithful readers keeps telling me that MediocreMan is a misnomer. He tells me that I should strive daily to get to the point of mediocrity. He is right, of course. So I would be extremely happy if I could be the face of mediocrity in the meme world. Unfortunately, even if I became the face of mediocrity in the meme world it would still not mean I have made it to that oh so lofty goal of being mediocre. But it would be a start. So when you pass around thoughts of mediocrity, make sure to send pictures of me. (Or is that meme?)

Memes are strange. They are a cultural and internet phenomenon. They are bandied about on social media and everybody seems to understand what specific pictures mean. They are demotivational and funny at the same time. Memes are definitely a thing. Even though they are really just pictures with sassy captions. (Why nobody said that in the first place is beyond me.)

Oh. And if you are young and your parents do not get memes, just point them here to my blog. They still might not understand, but they might appreciate the new face of mediocrity. Meme.

© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi

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