I was sitting in the library working one day when a man walked past me and caught my attention. I watched him walk past the reference desk where a woman was sitting, looking at her computer. She glanced up at him, dazed at first and then her face softened, shifting from inner-monologue of thought process to outer-dialogue of interacting with a patron.
"Ah, man, I can't say it now," the man stated.
"I'm sorry?" The woman said, rather confused.
"I was going to quote the Joker - 'Why so serious?' but you took it away from me."
"Oh," she said, "A smile spreading across her face as she caught on to his gist.
I've been paying a lot of attention to the times where people use quotes or scenarios from fictional stories to reference something happening in real life. It happens quite a lot actually. We pull from stories to connect to one another on a common theme. It is a reference point to allow us to engage in conversation over a topic we think someone else will find familiar. Not only that, but it usually brings an element of light-hearted play along with it.
When I first got married my husband and his college friends would have these ongoing conversations. I always figured they were inside-jokes, until one day I watched the movie Dumb and Dumber. Come to find out, they'd been quoting that movie all along. Pulling the quotes and overlaying them on reality as they applied. It was a common language they spoke, and it brought enjoyment to them to find ways to make that movie come alive.
Did they consciously know they were doing this? I doubt it. It wasn't an intentional choice. It is just what we do when a story moves us in someway. We want to connect it to our living so we get to experience and enjoy it some more. It is a form of playfulness.
Start listening. See which stories people are referencing. Many of them are pulled from pop culture, either television or films or music videos. In fact, the animated gifs that we all love so much are a current example of this. You get to pull a character from a story you like and use their facial expressions or their words and apply them to a situation in your life. We can't get enough of it. Don't you think that's interesting? I find it fascinating.
Here's an example of one I found on Twitter the other day. It's Cookie Monster, and I can't help but feel like his face goes hand-in-hand with the "I want that" lady from Napoleon Dynamite.
I know how much that giant cookie cake means to the furry blue guy, because I have context. As a kid I watched Cookie Monster devour a million bazillion cookies or watched him drool over cookies other kids were eating in front of him. So to see those monsters who love him, Ernie and Zoe, etc, gathered together to clap and cheer for him and be there to celebrate when his wildest dreams come true, why it's just wonder-full. It sums up a host of my complex issues and emotions and values within 1.5 seconds.
If I dig deeper my take away is:
- I want our wildest dreams to come true every single day.
- They can come true in the simplest ways.
- I want to celebrate every time that happens for someone.
- I'm going to be that person whose face is spread with that much awe and delight.
They're all magic spells. I mean you have to dig a little, and get to the roots of why they impact you. But the potential there is huge if you start doing a little werk to uncover the treasure. They are clues to open us up to the possibility of a grander story being lived out day-to-day in our very own real lives.