Friday, December 13, 2013

A little fuzzy on the memes

So we decided this year it made irrefutably more sense to buy a small artificial tabletop Christmas tree and in fact put it up on a table, out of reach of the baby who can now belly crawl across the room and pull himself up on things faster than you can say Donner and Blitzen. To that end, last weekend (or the weekend before? this month is flying by) the whole family trekked on out to Target to avail ourselves of their seasonal accessories. My wife and I had hoped on some level that there would be waiting for us the perfect multicolored fiber optic faux-fir which would allow us to fully embrace the tacky and gaudy with zero pretense of naturalism. But alas, the offerings at Target were fairly unassuming, so we contented ourselves with a humble three-and-a-half footer (which we knew would end up mostly obscured by our collection of Christmas ornaments, anyway).

The kids were bored with the artificial trees but slightly more intrigued by the various ornaments on display in the same section of the store, and since they were behaving themselves relatively well my wife and I indulged them for a while, letting them pick up and examine some of the more durable ornaments and picking them up to get a closer look at fragile ones which needed to stay on their display spindles. At one point my wife and the two older kids spent some time trying to identify all the various species in the woodland creatures assortment.

Let me back up a bit here. My wife and I have in recent years come to accept the fact that certain internet memes are going to elude us. We are not hip young kids anymore. My wife's job does not give her tons of time to idly surf teh interwebs, and while mine more or less does, there are certain limits I set for myself because I feel it's not worth the risk of getting busted for egregious slacking at work. The foremost case in point would be videos; half the time the firewalls on my government network prevent YouTube and other video sites from loading at all, and the other half I'm not comfortable putting on my headphones and making it obvious to my coworkers that I'm watching something. (Why do I have headphones at work at all, then, you ask? Mandatory annual training modules.)

Every once in a great while, my wife and I will make a point of tracking down some video which had gone viral months earlier. So we're not entirely clueless, just perpetually out of date. We have enough social self-awareness to avoid being those people who insist on breathlessly describing to friends and acquaintances about something we've just discovered which was old news last season, as if our exposure to it is the only thing which made the meme matter. The delayed-discovery memes just become part of our little household pop culture sphere.

At any rate, it was only just this month that my wife saw the video for Ylvis's "The Fox" and she was tickled enough by it to bring it to my attention almost immediately. Of course, she asked me to watch it on her phone after dinner, while the kids were still up and about, so they were naturally curious about it and got to watch it as well. We all liked it, for different reasons, and all found ourselves quoting from it or singing it apropos of nothing for the next few days.

Which encompassed the shopping excursion I started off talking about. So when my wife was looking through the animal ornaments and found an arctic fox, she held it up for the little guy and little girl and said, "What the...?" To which the kids replied, in tune and in unison, "FOX SAY!"

And that was intended to be another one of those insular little moments, but it was little loud and in public and sure enough, another woman who was nearby responded to my wife with, "Oh, thanks, Mom, now that's gonna be stuck in my head all night!" She seemed chagrined yet amused, I can only imagine because when she had gotten that earworm dislodged the first time (probably back in October or so) she figured that was the end of it. Sorry, fellow Target patron! We're a little behind the curve in our family.

Incidentally, once we got the artificial tree home and set up and plugged in, the kids looooved it. They danced around in front of it and made up a song entitled "The Christmas Tree Is Here!" Which is pretty catchy, and at least if my wife or I find ourselves singing it as we browse the aisles anywhere, the other holiday shoppers won't get it stuck in their own heads. Probably. You never know.

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