Monday, September 08, 2008

Come On, Tony, We're Not THAT Bad

Having faced Tony's slings and arrows, I felt it only proper that I take a minute to explain this whole "wicked mental dance" that Markoni and I engage in in Tony's presence, apparently to his great dismay and chagrin.

All kidding aside, this is a phenomenon that I have been accused of engaging in more than once in my lifetime. And I'll be honest, it's totally true.

Several years back one of my good friends from childhood managed to hook himself a new girlfriend. This poor soul was condemned to spend an evening with "the guys" for the first time shortly thereafter. Apparently we engaged in conversation of much the same type, because by the end of the evening she had flat out demanded that we "stop speaking in code", as it was very upsetting to feel like an outsider.

In that case, we told her to toughen up and learn the language. ;)

What Tony is describing is a very real phenomenon, and one that I am totally guilty of perpetuating. Namely, I speak referentially. My mind is a giant hyperlinked database, full to the brim with dialog, commentary, trivia and extemperaneous knowledge from my years of geekdom. My knowledge of several subjects is encyclopedic and my memory for dialog and situations is both instantaneous and frightening.

I've known Tony for over a decade now, and until recently this coded dialect was never a point of concern for him. The reason is obvious enough: If only one person is "in" on the jokes they're saying, then nobody else notices. But once Markoni entered the picture, I found another person who shares that collective memory of minutiae.

With Markoni, my references are limited to media that I am certain we've both immersed ourself in. (i.e. No Simpsons references, a bummer for me, as I have most of the first eight seasons memorized.)

What Tony sees as a secret language is really nothing more than the ability of two people to have an almost instant recollection of dialog, commentary and scenes. I am fully convinced that this ability is a naturally born trait. I have yet to meet a person who just "learned" the language.

The one point of contention I have with Tony's entry is the statement that "Never an original thought or opinion is expressed as they vie for verbal and mental supremacy with each other." It is THROUGH recitation of verse, dialog and ideas that our opinions come to the forefront. Sometimes we can use the words of others to strengthen our statement, sometimes to pepper, and sometimes to just flat out say what we want in better terms.

A lack of understanding of the language does not, in fact, mean that our communication is shallow or superficial.

Much as you might expect two astrophysicists in a room together to drone on and on about Higgs Boson and string theory, so too must you expect a pair of dyed in the wool geeks to speak their respective language.

Besides, T, you can always ask what a reference meant. ;)


Bonez said...

Slings and arrow?!? Sheesh, I tell one true story and suddenly I am slinging and arrowing instead of presenting an entertaining slice of life piece. And you're right. When it was just you babbling ad nausea about whatever it was you were being all Rain Man over I could handle it and it was ... well... sorta cute in a twisted kind of way. I didn't worry about understanding you because no one did. However, those happy days of blissful ignorance were sucked away by Markoni sashaying onto the scene and discovering in you a kindred soul of minutiae (I've always wanted to use that word) memory. I still hold to my point of "never an original thought" because that really is the object of the game (from my point of view and observation). Try to use as few of your own words and thoughts as possible and jabber only the dialog or scene references from the movies. Besides, I have asked what the references meant. And what did I get for my efforts to show respect and appreciation for the two of you? Exactly what I should have expected... recitation of entire Wikipedia and/or IMDB pages down to the Nth degree. That along with the six degrees of Kevin Bacon for every actor/actress, key grip, best boy, make-up artist and set janitor among other minutiae. Excuse me for asking. Don't tell me... that is a line from one of your movies, too.

Mrs. Hall said...

Wow. I guess when nerds fight they sound exactly like chicks.

just sayin'


Mrs. Hall

Bonez said...

I ain't no Nerd, Mrs. Hall. An' I ain't a fightin' E, neither. However, I do pride myself in being a fairly cosmopolitan type-o-guy and am thus very familiar with my feminine side. Possibly more so than I should be since I have, in the past, been referred to as a flaming metrosexual by some of my less sensitive male colleagues.

E said...

Set janitor? Sort of like how Harrison Ford was initially a carpenter on Star Wars? Interesting.

And Mrs. Hall....cheep, cheep, cheep.

Mrs. Hall said...

Ok guys, it was just a joke. A little joke.

However, I dare say nothing we express is original. Everything we know, feel and think comes from the same deck of cards. Some of us just play them differently. Or have concrete connections behind our choice of play.

But, it is the beauty of expression I find interesting. If it starts out with wanting to tell your story, or say what is inside you, that is when it gets good.

I wonder about the secret language of E and Markoni. What purpose does it serve? What is the benefit to the speaker? Is it protective to talk this way, shutting others out? Or is there joy in being part of a secret club?

Just an aside, the epic poems of Beowulf and Homer's odyssey are layered with such a secret language. Every line references other works of literature. So this inventing of a new language is not uncommon in the literature world.

Either way, I am definitely in touch with my masculine side. I can't help but bring a gentle ribbing to the group.

Take care

Mrs. Hall

E said...

:) It was all meant in good fun. I was overly wordy and serious just for the heck of it.

Is there any benefit to the code? Not really, apart from allowing for an altered perception of situations.

It's fun in that allows for an immediate reinterpretation of events by placing them in a different context.

If nothing else, it's just a means to elicit laughter, which is the greatest goal one achieve.

And it's certainly not true that no original thoughts exist. They're there, they just manifest themselves through other things. :)

Markoni said...

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra!