Thursday, March 26, 2009

It Always Comes Back To One of These Guys

For hundreds of years, people referenced the works of William Shakespeare in their everyday lives. If someone they knew displayed jealousy, they talked about the green eyed monster. A panhandler might inspire one to recommend being neither a borrower or lender. So many young men have been called Romeos over the years. Fortunately, Jerry Seinfeld stepped in and took some of the burden off the Bard. Stuck waiting for Chinese food or searching for your car in a parking garage? Say to your companion, "This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode." How many times have we heard "Yada Yada Yada" or a guy described by his "spongeworthiness." Of course the height of this was while the show was still airing new episodes, but now that it is in syndication, Americans still allude to "Seinfeld" frequently. I just finished reading Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin, and the Soup Nazi makes more than one appearance in the text of that cookbook. For years, I used to say that for every human experience, there's a "Seinfeld" episode. That may have been a bit hyperbolic. Then my children started watching "SpongeBob Squarepants." If it is ridiculous, funny, or frustrating, and has happened to a human being, it has made its way onto that program. Not a day goes by that one of my children doesn't begin at least three sentences by saying, "This is just like when SpongeBob and Patrick..." All of that makes sense to me as there are about a gazillion episodes of "SpongeBob Squarepants," "Seinfeld" ran for years, and as we all learned for one English teacher or another, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays and a series of sonnets. It is beginning to amaze and exhaust me, however, that my six year old son can connect Star Wars to every aspect of his life. Star Wars! There's only, what, like a half dozen of those films. He's not old enough to read the novels. "Oh, look at that teddy bear; it looks just like an ewok!" "You are driving like Han Solo." Heaven forbid I walk out of the house with too much lipstick ("You look just like Queen Amidallah") or uncomed hair ("Now you look like Chewbacca."). Recently on this blog I wrote of how Ethan compared the Skin Horse in The Velveteen Rabbit to Yoda. I can't tell you how easily a kid can work the phrase "the dark side" into conversation! The worst part of this Star Wars referencing? It's contagious. Last night, I left the kids with my parents and met my husband for dinner and a show at Carnegie Hall. It was a lovely, classy adult evening, unlike the usual ones spent in sweatpants helping kids with their homework and shouting at them to get back in there and flush the toilet. There we were, nicely dressed and chatting quietly before the show in our seats in Zankel Hall. It is the lower level of Carnegie Hall and somewhat modern looking. My husband indicated the black ceiling with all sorts of metalwork and lights and asked me if I thought it looked like the underbelly of a Star Wars spaceship. I could have smacked him. But then a third of the way into his performance, the classical guitarist, John Williams, who had been playing beautiful pieces of Spanish and Italian classical music, told the audience that he is sometimes confused with the composer John T. Williams who wrote the Star Wars theme music. Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk, everyone chuckled. I just elbowed my husband. Every dogstar will have its day I suppose. It makes me wonder, back in the 1600's were there many mothers of pint sized groundlings saying, "Enough already with the Othello talk"?

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