Working with pre-teens is such a trip because they repeat what they hear in an effort to look cool but without any of the necessary context to understand what they’re saying or how stupid (or inappropriate) it sounds. I used to just shake my head and laugh but now that I’m like, a legit grownup*, and a role model of sorts, I reaaaaallly feel like I should probably say something.
*Like a parent with kids I can’t give back after class ends.
Case in point: My Body is Ready
Let me share first, a fun resource I’ve just discovered that I’m sure I’m the last grandpa shouting at clouds to find: KnowYourMeme.com Owing to my lateness in arriving to grownup town**, I am not totally unaware of memes and their prevalence in youth culture (like a certain fake 26 year old on a show I can’t wait to see the next season of), but I’m also… like… busy, man. I got two jobs and two kids and right now, two WIPs going on so I don’t have time to engage in every bit of internet ridiculousness. So Know Your Meme is like the Cliffsnotes of middleagedom.
- **I got to be an idiot for a long time before becoming a grownup, unlike Liza who spent her youth being a mombot and has to catch up to culture now to stay relevant in her profession.
And today, instead of engaging with the original material like a responsible scholar, I used the condensed version and learned the following:
“My Body is Ready” is a catchphrase mainly associated with image macros wherein the subject is posing in a seductive manner or smiling creepily, similar to the usage of “Draw Me Like One of Your French Girls.” In discussion forums, the phrase is often used to humorously convey one’s excitement or anticipation towards the impending arrival of a desirable object or an event.
The phrase was originally uttered by Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime during the company’s demonstration of Wii Fit at the E3 press conference held on July 11th, 2007. As Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and translator Bill Trinen unveiled the Wii Balance Board, Fils-Aime walked up onto the stage and stated “My body…My body is ready” before stepping onto the accessory to start the demonstration.
Ok, so… imagine, if you will, hearing a group of 11 to 13-year-old boys repeating the phrase over and over again while playing a physically active game. They don’t know what it means, they don’t know the implications, and they haven’t yet discovered that the repetition of joke phrases actually makes it LESS funny.
I was forced by my conscious to act.
What I wanted to say was, “Children… I do not think that means what you think it means.”
But what I actually said was, “Please stop using that phrase. It’s inappropriate.”
That one actual teenage boy present, the one who probably does engage with the material and knows exactly what the phrase means, did his best not to laugh.
“Also,” I said, because I just want to teach them the way, “repeating a joke actually makes it LESS funny. Obey the rules of comedy, kids.”