A couple of months ago, I met a friend for dinner. We were showing each other pictures on our phones and that led to a discussion about memes we’d saved.
Mine tended to be serious and contemplative with a touch of corny humor thrown in. Want some examples of what I have stored on my phone?
One shows a woman lying in the grass with a book in her hands. The quote next to her is from Oscar Wilde: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” I don’t know the intent of the meme’s creator, but I took this to mean that living is associated with reading. That resonates with me.
Another one shows an elderly person’s hand grasping a child’s hand. The quote above their hands is from Carlos Medina: “A soul that carries empathy is a soul that has survived enormous pain.” I find this to be true.
One of the corny ones has maybe 20 different ways to say goodbye that I’m totally going to use with my niece. I can’t wait to hear her reaction when I say, “Toodle-loo, kangaroo,” or “Better shake, rattlesnake,” or “Chop chop, lollipop.” I’m hoping for multiple eye rolls and I suspect I’ll get them.
The last one I’ll share has a picture of a baby with a scrunched up face that says, “So you’re telling me you drive a mile to the gym to walk a mile on a treadmill.”
I can’t remember which memes I showed my buddy over a basket of chicken wings, but they were pretty similar to these because I have dozens of similar memes on my phone.
What do they say about me, other than I skew toward the serious side of life and have a corny sense of humor?
I don’t want to just exist — working, paying bills, going to bed early, then getting up and doing it all over again. Not that anybody can shirk responsibility, but I need space for laughter, reading, contemplation, and recharging. If I don’t get this, I struggle.
I want to be someone who expresses empathy. I want to sit with you and listen as you tell me what’s really going on in your life. I want to remember dates that are important to you. I want you to feel the freedom to cry, ask for prayer, express your anger or rejoice. And I hope for all this in return. Everyone has experienced loss. It should make us empathetic toward one another.
I’m a bit corny and sentimental. I don’t express that side of myself face to face around a lot of people. But if you’ve seen that side of me, that’s means I trust you.
Finally, I want to be someone who can laugh at myself. The baby meme that makes fun of the person who drives a mile to the gym to walk on the treadmill for a mile totally hits the mark with me. Although, in my defense, I drive a mile to walk a mile and a half.
Saving memes on our phones is just a technological twist on saving quotes in a notebook — the way we used to. Not everyone does it but the technology makes it so easy that I imagine most people do.
With that said, if you were to die today and someone had access to your phone tomorrow, what would he or she learn about you based on the memes you’ve saved?
Better yet, why not have a meme-sharing conversation with a friend the next time you see him or her. Make a game out of it. Take turns flipping through the memes you’ve both saved and explain why each one touches you or makes you laugh.
It’ll be a great way to go deeper with one another.