The word “meme” has become pretty common in this household. If you don’t understand what that word means, don’t feel too bad. It’s either because you don’t live with a teenager or you don’t spend much time in the digital world. It’s not a very easy word to define, as Joe and I have discovered in our many attempts to extract a definition from Louisa, our teen who can rattle off a list of memes as long as her arm, but doesn’t have the patience to explain it to us. Meme is more of a concept than a word, but here’s the definition according to Wikipedia:
“An Internet meme (/miːm/ meem) is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet. Some notable examples include posting a photo of people lying down in public places (called “planking”) and uploading a short video of people dancing to the Harlem Shake.”
Speaking from my daft parental understanding, a meme is a conceptual trend that spreads from person to person electronically, whether through blogs or social media; it’s generally used in a humorous way; and it’s often visual. Memes have become ever present, and if you are on any form of social media, you may have seen them without even realizing it.
Let me give you an example of the power of a meme. For last night’s dinner, I planned a very easy menu knowing how busy my day would be. As our main course, I prepared some of the freshest, sweetest sea scallops that were simply sautéed in butter and finished with a little of Papa Joe’s seasoning. They were accompanied by a simple vinegar-based slaw , intended to use up ingredients left over from a recipe I shopped for, but didn’t prepare, last week. And then, on a whim, I decided to serve jazzed-up tater tots, inspired by a local food truck event over the weekend where one of the trucks was all about tater tots. I’m so very impressionable that way. If you said to me today that you would like $1000 next week, I’d probably hand over a check. No, not really.
I wasn’t really sure how i was going to jazz up those tots, so I did a very quick search for a recipe that didn’t require shopping for ingredients. I came up with Parmesan Taters, a Food Network recipe from Guy Fieri.
Drumroll, please, because we’re bringing it back home to the subject of this post, the MEME.
Guy Fieri, he’s a meme. And you thought he was just a flamboyant chef. Nope. Apparently he’s used to express a wide range of thoughts and emotions all over the internet. If you go to Google Images and enter “Guy Fieri Flavortown” you will get a much better feeling for what a meme can be.
Apparently it’s not always a good thing.
However, at dinner last night, Louisa asked me why I messed with the tots. Once I shared that they were Guy Fieri’s recipe, all complaints vanished. That’s the power of a meme.
You thought the story ended here? You were wrong.
While spending quality family time in the car this weekend, e.g. going on another college visit, it slipped out that Joe, yes my Joe, the father of Louisa, has become a meme among her friends.
Huh, how did that happen? Apparently her multiple tweets of funny things that “Dad Pilato” has said over the years, has turned him into a meme. He’s popular and hip with the kids, even if he’s still struggling to grasp the concept of a meme.