Sunday, March 15, 2009

Secret Language

Back in high school, my brother and his friends were into the movie Dune. I mean, really, really, really into the movie. Obsessively so. To this day, I guarantee that Tom could recite the entire film, in order, without faltering.

I recall sitting in church, counting the minutes to freedom, and Tom would turn to me and whisper, "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when my fear is gone I will turn and face fear's path, and only I will remain."

I probably didn't even blink. There was a period of time where neither Tom nor I were capable of original thought, preferring to speak in a flurry of film references, song lyrics, and dialogue from TV shows. We were kinda like a pop-culture Nell, with our own secret langauge.

A sample:

Tom: Hey Nancy, "Now I know what you're thinking. 'What could be stranger than a big fatass floatin' cupcake?" Heh. How about one that spits tobacco?'" (Reference: The Chris Elliot classic, Cabin Boy.)

Me: My love for you is like a truck, BERZERKER! Would you like some making fuck, BERZERKER! (Reference: Clerks.)

Again, note that the actual words are meaningless. I was not coming on to my brother; likewise, Tom was not a cupcake. The purpose of this exchange, which was never put into words was, "Aren't we clever that we like the same things? Isn't it great that we have the same sense of humor? There are a lot of people out there that try to make us feel less important, but we can defeat them through our inside jokes and random references. I'm so glad you're my brother/sister."

Tom and I still fall back into this pattern sometimes, because it is easy and because it prevents us from having to Talk Seriously. You don't always want to talk about money or life choices or love or fear with your sibling. Sometimes, you just want to use a shorthand. I may call Tom today, and the conversation might go a little something like this:

Me: "That's Nonsense, I Invented Electricity. Ben Franklin Is The Devil!" (Reference: Waterboy. Meaning: Hey Tom, I'm feeling a little down and feel like escaping from my life for a little bit.)

Tom: O-Kay. How's this, "They're only monkey-boys. We can crush them here on earth, Lord Whorfin." (Meaning: Hey, sis, I'm feeling the same way. It seems like we're on a hamster wheel sometimes, doesn't it?)

Me: Nice, a Buckaroo Banzai reference. You know, "They don't advertise for killers in the newspaper. That was my profession. Ex-cop. Ex-blade runner. Ex-killer." (Meaning: I know that you know that I hate the movie Blade Runner. I'm quoting it to let you know that I'm glad to talk to you.)

Tom: Nice. "I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They're not much bigger than two meters." (Meaning: I'm glad to talk to you too.)

Me: You lost me there. Hey, I've got to go. (I love you.)

Tom: Star Wars, Nance. Come on...and I'll talk to you soon. (I love you, too.)

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