I always expect there to come a day when I’ll look around my apartment–maybe by then a house–and all the shit I’ve accumulated since I’ve been old enough to start accumulating shit will have been responsibly disposed of. So, for example, I will have thrown out my old campaign signs and stuffed moose and local band 7 inches. I assume Future Ramsin, who pays his bills on time and in fact sets aside a specific day of the month to do so, will make a big boy decision to throw away the cardboard and construction paper coffin with “R.I.P. G.O.P.” written on it from my 2006 election return watch party.
I can’t wait for that day, because until then I will continue to waste hours of precious, rapidly expiring life doing things like trying to find my Billy Ripken error card, seeing if I can finally beat the “on the satellite” level of Goldeneye for N64, and comparing the “student survey” results of my 7th and 8th grade yearbooks.
Hey, so I came across a section of my 7th grade yearbook that included the results of “survey” taken each grade level. It asked questions like, “Favorite song”, “favorite band”, “favorite actor”, “favorite teacher catchphrase” and “favorite movie.” Here’s a couple facts it revealed: in 1994, 7th graders’ favorite musical act was Mariah Carey, and girl 7th graders were more reliable survey respondents than 7th grade boys.
But a pang of guilt I felt after rolling my eyes in playful shame at the choice of The Bodyguard as “our” favorite movie stayed with me long enough to get me thinking: “Who’re you, Troy Dyer? What would a ‘good’ answer to that question be?”
Pop culture is the most reliable social currency, for all debts public and private. And like money, it’s a signifier of your place in the social order. Your favorite comedy is There’s Something About Mary or The Hangover or Wet Hot American Summer? Each of these answers sends a signal: “I’m this general sort of person.” When you answer that question, are you supposed to pick a movie that demonstrates what kind of movie you like? Your favorite movie to watch? Or the movie you never turn off, if it’s on?