Memes: What the Hell are They?

A Hawaiian Meme.

Here’s a silly post to kick off the last official weekend of Summer 2013, in which I clarify, once and for all, what that blessed word MEME memes…er, means.

Meme: (rhymes with Cherry Cordial Ice Cream)

According to the definition that pops up when you Google “What is a meme?” it is a NOUN. A noun, folks. That’s all you need to know.

But for those who need more, (and I know you’re out there), it comes from the Greek word, mimema, which, come to find out, means imitated, and is a cultural idea passed along from person to person non-genetically—not cultured Greek yogurt as I initially thought. Or maybe it is Greek yogurt. There are thousands of brands invading television commercials and grocery stores, exactly like a meme. I’m confused. Oikos!

Memima Activia Bifida Regulah

Memes can lead to such sticky situations.

The word was introduced back in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and probably the inspiration for the meme at your right (if not the actual person in the picture himself). He simply had way too much time on his hands for an evolutionary biologist and should have left the word-coining up to the real experts—us writers.

But no…he coined the word one morning while changing his sheets and now we’re stuck with it.

Is the malady contagious? According to the Center for Disease Control, that would be a big fat NO. However, new cases of MEMES seem to be spreading faster than the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. If we consider him to be Patient Zero, and we track the spread of MEMES from that point, it would make sense it would first infect his family, but they seem fine.

Such a Drama Meme.

His girlfriend, on the other hand (yes, he had one—shocker!), is another story:

Speech Impediment Girl (also known as The Gersberms Girl) was the first meme I ever encountered. The moment I laid eyes on her “Ermahgerd!” over at Gus’s site, I was hooked.

She entered the scene denying rumors she had been around the blog infecting every pimply-faced nerd and drunk uncle on the planet, but I knew better. I watched as everybody and their brother posted her gerds and simply chuckled from afar. Guys, those aren’t gersberms on your nethers. She’s a big SLURT. Get thyself to a doctor!

How to Know if You Suffer from MEMES

Oh, I thought it was serious, like hitting refresh right when the page finally loaded.

Do you take pictures of people in embarrassing poses? Plan snapshots with room for text in mind? Do you find yourself creating captions for every picture on your iphone? If so, whatever you do, don’t panic!!!

STOP! I said DON’T panic. Who do you think you are, the First World Problem Lady in the meme to the right? Dang. Get a hold of yourself. Panicking will only make matters worse and you’ll end up creating lousy memes that won’t get any “LIKES” on Facebook.

So stay calm. There is hope; it’s completely treatable. Most people consult a Memeologist, a physician specializing in virtual viruses. He will charge you $500 per visit (minimum of five visits) and not do a damn thing except say, “Hmm…looks encouraging,” then give you a shot of saline solution—in your ass. Ice cold.

I recommend the home remedy. Save the saline solution for your contact lens and the ice for your tea. Throw away all pictures of cute cats, grumpy cats, sleeping cats, bug-eyed pugs, and babies. Also nerds and stoners. And Captain Jean Luc Piccard. And Willy Wonka—Gene Wilder AND Johnny Depp’s versions. And Batman. In other words, just stay off Facebook for two solid weeks.

By then, the affliction should be lifted and you can safely go back to your daily routine, Facebook and all, laughing at the silly people who are still addicted to memes…like me.

Have a Happy and Safe Labor Day Weekend!


As for me, I’ve got BIG plans at the beach, barbecuing with friends, throwing frisbee, body surfing and general tomfoolery.

You’d love to be me this weekend.


ML Swift

Photo credits: Nene USFWS Pacific via photopin cc; Jamie Lee Curtis courtesy of Dannon; all others generated through; picture of author is privately owned.


36 thoughts on “Memes: What the Hell are They?

    1. Alex, believe it or not, you’re a meme victim without knowing it. A meme is any idea that is passed around, then posted by others to share and participate in. Your IWSG badge is actually a meme, as is the PBC badge, all blogfest badges, gifs, and the like. They even come in video form, as in this one about feeding Ryan Gosling his cereal (and he JUST WON’T EAT IT):

    1. I was wondering when someone would play the “meme-ory” card (or some variation of “rememeber.”) Glad it was you. A pun like that can’t be misused and wasted by a punewbie. Thanks for stopping, Char. I just realized your shortened name is Char. Oooo…fiery personality! And red head to boot.

  1. Hey dude,

    Can you believe it? Still no clone or cloning machine has come my way. I’m in a real dilemma now. Do I continue to spend several hours a day commenting back in full to each person on my site. And then spend several hours commenting on sites that commented on my site plus a whole load more than didn’t comment on my site. Actually, I’m taking so much time interacting that my posts are getting further apart. I think it’s a mixed blessing. Anyway, that sort of ties in with one of your previous posts.

    My good friend, sorry for the delay in getting here. I hope you understand that I haven’t got time to comment on your very long posting before this posting. Right, ramble over. Still don’t know what a meme is and my spell check refuses to recognise it. Sweet memes are made of this. Who am I to disagree.

    Now then, Michael, in my ongoing acts of altruism, I now, as I always do, share your posting on all those social ‘notworking’ sites, yep, even Farcebook.

    Enjoy your “Labour” Day weekend. Keep smiling, even through gritted teeth.

    Your starstruck fan,

    Gary 🙂

    1. I know you’ve been quite the busy beaver…I’ve seen you promoting articles on Farcebook like you’re getting paid or something (there’s a shilling on the way). Slow down, you move too fast. Got to make the morning last. Otherwise, you won’t be feeling groovy.

      😉 Just concentrate on the really good blogs, like this one. Ha! Seriously, fit in what you can. I’m so hit and miss in my visiting, but I’ve finally realized the writing comes first.

      So I get up and read emails and blogs and visit for a couple of hours, then write. I write on a new story, or if it’s around posting time, I write a new blog post. I procrastinate with Facebook and Twitter (barely Twitter). Read a few more blogs, comment, and go on. If I miss one, I’ll catch the next.

      Otherwise, I’ll go more crazy than I already am, and this degree of crazy works pretty good for me. I’m used to it.

      Read the other if you’re able. It’s pretty deep for you. 😉 Actually, it’s just a gut-spill. Nothing major.

      Thanks for coming by, my friend.

    1. Woo! Thanks, darlin’.

      And your views on Life (by Chocolate) always leave me with a smile, if not a total gut-busting.

      Glad you liked, Robyn. Thanks for coming by. 😀

  2. VERY funny. I’ve definitely had enough of those damn cats, that’s for sure. My son told me it was a word I was NOT to use because it was for teenagers. I then told him to tell me what it meant and he couldn’t…but he did explain some terms re: Miley Cyrus with which I was not familiar…
    Tina @ Life is Good

    1. Tina,

      I’m glad you enjoyed. I thought it was a little chuckleworthy. Whenever I use “teen” words, I can say them in (what I think to be) the same way as a teen, but they just don’t sound the same coming from 40something lips.

      You must be talking about “twerking,” which is something new that’s really old. It just has a new name (must be a mix of twitching and jerking). We used to call it shaking your bootie. The generation before us was shake your tailfeather.

      But of course, to today’s generation, it’s something TOTALLY new. They just made it more raunchy.

      Thanks for coming by!

    1. Fools go where angels fear to trod. I went. Hey…wait a minute…that makes me a fool! Let me rethink that statement.

      Glad you liked it, Melissa. And be careful…that Bifidus Regularis works from both sides.


  3. Ahh, memes….what would the internet be without them? Sad, I tell ya. It would be a very sad, sad little internet… and p0rn. Labor day? Huh. I don’t always celebrate Labor Day, but when I do, I make sure the kids do all the work. (;

    Thanks for the lols 😀

  4. HA. Love the total 180 degree turnaround in tone from last week’s post. Way to keep us on our toes 😉

    Also, since I’m a relative newcomer to your blog, I didn’t know how damn funny you could be. I had an inkling, but not really. So that’s an awesome thing to learn on a Monday.

    The only thing missing, here, is a mention of the crazy, I mean, good folks over at

    No wait, don’t click on that. It’ll only encourage the meme disease!

  5. Mike, this reminds me of the first time we talked about memes and what the heck they were. Do you remember that? Look how far you’ve come– you’re waxing satirical about them now. This was fun!

    1. I almost retitled this, “Julie: Where the Heck is She?” LOL. Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

      You know, I did indeed think about our wonderings and conversation so long ago. I thought someone typo’d “memo.” But I pretty much figured out what they were from seeing so many of them, yet still wasn’t content and needed that definition to make everything official.

      So…try Mimema today! 😉 Thanks for the comment and visit. Or visit and comment, since it came in that order.

    1. You don’t have to throw them away, Lyn…just a two-week sabbatical from them. Unless, that is, you WANT to remain a meme junkie (and after writing this post, I’ve become one…they’re FUN!).


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