Anatomy of a meme


This comes to me via my pal, Jeremy Cherfas. I admit to being completely befuddled when I first looked over the questions. Then bummed.

And then, I figured out what to do with it...

1. What's in your pocket?

Left rear: a rectangle of vivid orange velvet, trimmed for me from a larger rectangle of same by a small fry of great passion, kindness and unbridled creativity.

Right rear: A "" card I had printed up for SXSW last year, deposited there by aforementioned small fry.

Great meme-responding requires a delicate mix of wit, bravado and truthiness. This response has none of those; all but the most diehard readers of this blog will hightail it out of here after reading this first response.

2. Is the pork ready?

If it's been cooking in the gravy for a minimum of eight hours, yes.

Right away, we see the the author of this meme is either: (a) non-American; (b) trying to out-smartypants his respondents; (c) all of the above. Note to would-be meme crafters: attempt (c) at your own peril. You will almost certainly fail, either at propagating your meme on a broad scale with the many, or out-smartypants-ing the few.

3. Have you ever had to rock to and fro to make your poopie go?

Yes. Apparently, the constipated are as likely to develop Crohn's as the loose-poopeys.

After reading this question, I am fairly certain of the meme's provenance. The question, while not particularly clever, feels steeped in foreign idiom. The best way to handle memes like this, should your colloquialisms not align with those of the meme-writer, is to mainly take things at face value, then look for an opening.

4. Do you like onions?

Yes. Unfortunately, the feeling is most decidedly not mutual.

While awaiting an opening, try to maintain a good ratio of wit to truthiness.

5. So, how big is it?

Big enough to know better.

See above. This is a sass-based answer, although not smart enough to turn off a reader who's made it this far.

6. Budweiser or real beer?

No beer on SCD.

Another excellent function that memes provide is the chance for internal links. Also, in my case, I never met a platform I couldn't turn into a soapbox.

7. What do you feel about your nose?

It's less what I feel about mine, than what I do about other people's, namely, how the hell do most of you breathe out of those pinholes?

Remember, a good part of truthiness is deflection. This is not untrue, but it not the full (and boring) truth. For posts about my nose in full, stay tuned to this blog channel.

8. Children: Baked or broiled?


With memes, as with all lists, the better part of excellence is often restraint. Mix your longs with your shorts, people, your longs with your shorts...

9. Do you like it when I do this?

Depends on my mood. I'm a mystery wrapped in a goddamn enigma.

There are a good deal of perverts in the intertubes. If you don't believe me, feel free to browse some of the search strings that brought people here. A firm hand is a lady's best friend. Don't give the pervs an inch. (Cf #7 re: deflection)

10. Do you like the sound of chickens?

As an enlightened person, I prefer the sound of "womens".

This is one of those Dennis Miller lines. Hope both of you liked it.

11. Would Beyonce clip her own toenails?

If what...she had hands? If her hands were broken and she could only use her teeth? If someone stole her clippers and she had to use two toothpicks and a piece of string? How can I be expected to answer these incomplete questions?!?

Not a bad question, but this is where we separate the meme-boys from the meme-men, as it were. Seize every opportunity to grab the reins.

12. Do you like pork?

Yes. You want go at it now?

For example, when the bar is (supposedly) raised by this second pork question, it's important to establish superiority. Resist the urge to build on your previous pork answer. Sharp left turn. Comedy is the unexpected meeting the ill-prepared. Or something like that.

13. If the butter is soft, does the bus arrive on time?

Wait, is this some foreign meme?!?

With memes, as with most interactions, timing is everything. Note how I bided my time, waiting for the right opening? NOTE: another nice way to deal with this is to drop a hint-joke in early and do a callback later on. In this case, since the first indication that this might be a foreign meme was rather oblique, I opted to wait.

14. When do you get up?

When I'm stiff from sitting.

Filler answer. Pacing, remember?

15. How did you survive childhood?

By hanging on with all my might to the occasional glimpses I got of me as an adult, free of them all.

If you want to make a serious point, it's almost always best to slip it in amongst a lot of silliness. That way, it will both be more effective, and more deniable.

16. What do you do before bed?

Indulge in some sort of media input.

Pacing, again. Think of certain of your answers as sorbet courses in between the saucy richness.

17. What are your hidden charges?

All fees negotiated up front and signed off on by both parties.

Ramping back up to something racier.

18. Who's behind you?

Those on the Side of Right, Jesus, and elite team of venture capitalists. (Duh.)

Bang! Even slipped in a Jeebus crack!

19. Why don't people go to the bathroom on TV?

It shorts the circuitry.

Everyone loves a little potty joke. I skipped the obvious one, on poop, above. You do want to play to your audience a bit, though.

20. What's a soylent green popsicle?


Rule #407: Obscure must be met by more obscure.

21. What does it taste like?

I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.

Rule #408: Everyone likes a follow-up joke.

22. Why doesn't Consumer Reports rate hookers?

No balls. (Get it? No balls!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!)

If you don't see the joke immediately, come back to it. I couldn't see the obvious joke right away as I was too close to this. The Consumer Reports part, not the hooker part. Animals....

23. Does George Bush replace the toilet paper tube?

When my super-Christian, ultra-capitalist, uber-Republican father met with GWB back in the late '90s to discuss running his ad campaign for the first election, I braced myself for the worst. But Dad turned down the gig, noting that dude was a wrong guy, the kind of person "who probably pulled the wings off flies when he was a kid."

He leaves those two last sheets that are stuck on with glue, drinks the last of the mild and puts it back and doesn't redeposit the balled-up Kleenexes that glance off the rim back onto the floor. An entitled putz, we have for a president.

Save up your stories, you never know when they'll come in handy. Opportunity comes in strange guises...


P.S. While I thank Jeremy for the opportunity, I'm afraid this meme comes here to die. I have absolutely no idea who to tag who wouldn't come back an kill me in the night.

Image by via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license. Pass it on...