"You're asking me? You're better at that stuff than me."
I looked at the photo again. "Maybe it's one of those girls from 'Girls,'" I said.
Tom shrugged. Neither of us had ever seen the show, though I was aware of its premise and content.
So it goes with pop culture at our house. We're pretty much out of it. What we know about television, fashion, apps and current music is miniscule. I don't feel particularly threatened by my ignorance - I doubt my well-being will ever hinge on knowing character names from, say, "Game of Thrones" - but our relationship with The Latest has got me thinking. And so, since I think in metaphor, I've come up with several of them to describe how people know what they know about things that may or may not be worth knowing.
FROM THE SEA. Some people are sharks, chasing down and gobbling up all the new phenomena. Like sharks, they keep moving to stay alive in a world of bestsellers, celebrities and trends. Meanwhile, there are the anemones, anchored to the coral with polyps waving through the water to gather bits and pieces of the popular culture. The shark knows who Jay-Z is and can quote him; the anemone is aware only that there's someone called Jay-Z who does hip-hop. Or maybe it's rap.
ON THE MOLECULAR LEVEL. You can let new things into your brain by osmosis, letting them seep through the membrane of your routine, or you can organize a bit and become an amoeba, surrounding them and then absorbing them.
IN THE GARDEN. A weed is merely a plant growing where you don't want it. Some people weed out the Louboutin shoes, Katniss and whoever's now heading up "The Tonight Show." Others nurture them.
MUSIC. Your playlist indicates your life, whether it's classical, country, Margaritaville or eclectic. Pop culture is the ad jingle or TV theme song that won't leave your head. Are you going to add it to your playlist or reject it?
Hmm. Maybe that last metaphor is a weak one. I know I certainly can't explain why "The Ballad of the S.S. Minnow" keeps living in my brain's playlist.