Totally nerd to totally word: How to look cool on the Internet

I’m about to take you from drool to cool when it comes to the the Web’s pop culture one hit wonders, and soon YOU’LL be dropping bombs and making others feel uncomfortable and dated. Isn’t that what the Internet is all about?

What, exactly, IS an Internet meme? Wikipedia says, “The term Internet meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with “cream”) is used to describe a concept that spreads swiftly via the Internet.” It can be a cartoon, a video, a song, a picture, or even a commercial but, whatever form it takes, it resonates with people and spreads like wildfire. But it’s also a sure way to separate the men from the boys when it comes to online hipness. Someone tweets or facebooks (totally a verb) “Double rainbow all the way!” or “Play ’em off, keyboard cat” and half of their friends laugh uproariously while the other half also laugh, but nervously. Don’t be afraid, readers. Embrace the meme. I’m about to take you from drool to cool when it comes to pop culture one hit wonders, and soon YOU’LL be dropping bombs and making others feel uncomfortable and dated. Isn’t that what the Internet is all about?

One of the first memes I ever experienced, it is responsible for all the terrible Internet speak in the world. Maybe not all, but it didn’t help. Basically, the site consists of pictures of animals with captions. Simple, right? Simple like a fox! On the front page of the site at the time of this writing is a picture of a cat, holding up his paw, with the words “Dis many cheeseburgers, pweez” and it’s totally cracking me up. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

Keyboard Cat
“Play ’em off, keyboard cat” is one of my favorite disses, ever. Keyboard cat started as a video of a cat, wearing a shirt, being controlled like a puppet to play the keyboard. What? Yes. Besides being kind of adorable, the meme is about putting that short clip of keyboard cat on the end of another video where the person really needs escorted out. Some of my favorite keyboard cat clips: Miss South Carolina 2007, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber.

Three Wolf Moon
Three Wolf Moon, the product, is a simple thing: a black T-shirt, screen-printed with dramatic art of three wolves howling at the moon. It’s dark, it’s mysterious, it’s what boys who play Magic: The Gathering would wear. But the secret to the meme is not in the shirt, it’s in the listing for the shirt, which has over 1700 customer reviews, many of them intentionally hilarious. As a wink at the silliness of it all, the shirt has been sported in public by Jack Black, Zach Galifianakis, Rainn Wilson, and Will Wheaton (nearly an Internet meme, himself).

Old Spice Man
One of the hottest memes right now, Old Spice Man, is a brilliant commercial for (you guessed it) Old Spice. The cologne my grandpa still uses is suddenly hip again, thanks to actor Isaiah Mustafa’s portrayal of “The man your man could smell like.” Sexy and sassy, he went from the small screen to the smaller screen, opening a Twitter account so he could respond to his fans on a more personal level. Tweet to Old Spice Man? You might get your own, personalized video response. Recently, he had a hot little exchange with Alyssa Milano that I’m pretty sure resulted in sweet lovemaking. At least in my head.

Double Rainbow
Another new and hothothot meme, Double Rainbow is a YouTube video that’s being referenced and parodied all over the Internet. It’s simple. A man is standing on his front porch, filming a double rainbow across the sky. The funny and awesome thing about it is he is really excited to be witnessing the magic of the double rainbow and gets caught up yelling things like “DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY!” and whispering and sobbing things like “What does it mean?” This guy clearly sees the face of God in the phenomenon and shares it with us. Is it cool to get that excited? Never. But it IS kind of cool to hear that some people still believe in miracles, even ones like the prismatic effect of water on sunlight.

There are other Internet memes that shouldn’t be missed if you want to be up to speed with what Saturday Night Live, Family Guy, or your younger, hipper friends are talking about:

Charlie the Unicorn

Think unicorns are all sweetness and light? Take a trip to Candy Mountain and be educated.

Probably the best song ever written. About a sea creature with a horn. Narwhals aren’t mythical, but they are magical.

(Link: fairly safe for work. Meme: heck no.)
A man does the unspeakable. So I won’t speak of it.

2 girls 1 cup
(See above warning. And heed it. Seriously, guys. Heed.)
The only thing missing from this meme’s title is “and some doody”. But now you’ll know what everyone is talking about.

Dancing Banana/Peanut Butter Jelly Time
Painful to watch, but lots of memes are. Bad animation, bad music, bad brain worm that could last days. Sing it to your friends. If you hate them.

Chocolate Rain
It’s impossible to put your finger on what is so great about this video. The song? The singing? The singer? The caption at 0:23? I giggle every time I watch it. Share, liberally.

Pants On The Ground
I don’t know why everybody finds this so funny. It’s catchy and timely and I’ve heard much worse songs on the radio, being presented as serious music. Related: I am old.

Leave Britney Alone
Chris Crocker is a sobbing mess of eyeliner and snot but you can’t help but love him for his righteous indignation. How dare we judge Britney? Oh, we dare. But we love you, Chris.

David After The Dentist
“Is this real life?” No, David, it’s the Internet. I dare you to not “aww” at least once and use the “real life” phrase for the next 24 hours after watching this. Really, it works in a variety of situations.

Never been Rickrolled? You haven’t lived! Don’t let your friends suffer the same fate, punk them today!

There you have it, folks. You are officially educated on Internet memes. Caveat: Like Brett Favre’s career decisions, memes change constantly. My advice: keep your ear to the ground. If you see more than one person tweet/facebook a phrase, use the Googles and check it out. Or just wait for Saturday Night Live to do a sketch on it. Whichever. I mean, uncool is the new cool, right?

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. I think I’m officially kicked out of the cool kids Internet club for never having seen David after the Dentist. That is AMAZING.

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