Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knock Knock

I was in the shower this morning, listening to GlassWorks and trying to remember an old Knock Knock Joke I’d heard about Philip Glass. I knew it played off his repetitive musical structure, but I couldn’t remember exactly which part of the joke repeated – and I kept getting it confused with the “orange-cha glad I didn’t say ‘banana’” punchline. It occurred to me that I could probably finish my shower, hop down to my office, type in Philip Glass Knock Knock Joke and get exactly the information I was looking for.

And for some reason, this realization made me a little depressed.

Not remembering the Philip Glass Knock Knock Joke is frustrating, yes, but it gives me the opportunity to suss out which of my friends know such silly nonsense. There’s a whole world of arcana that bonds me to people, it’s like Cultural Literacy Glue. Someone who knows and gets that Philip Glass Knock Knock Joke is a kindred spirit in some small way. It may be someone I play tennis with, or someone at my kid’s bus stop, but now I won’t ever find out because my question will already be answered before I even leave the house.

We all have our little repertoire of phrases that somehow communicate about a hundred times more than the words that they’re comprised of. They reference a time and an experience – presumably a shared experience – and bond us together, like secret passwords. But having that information so accessible on our phones and through our keyboards, it’s almost like it’s not our little secret anymore.

Does anyone understand what I’m talking about?

Anyone? Anyone?


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