Young people these days (myself included) tend to think that memes were invented with the Internet, springing into being at the moment of its digital conception.
But one 82-year-old’s stash of old-school memes, cultivated and spread in the days before the Web was a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye, is challenging that notion.
The memes, collected over a fifty-year working career, are as funny as the lolcats of yesteryear or the bizarre surrealist word memes of today. Some of them are clear ancestors of today’s memes, slightly-differently adapted for a different time. Some of them are completely different. But what all of them have in common is that they’re really, really funny.
… I mean, I’m not really sure about the math on this one. But the sentiment? The sentiment is flawless.
This is truly one for the ages, as useful today as the day that it was made.
I mean, it’s a mildly funny meme on its own, but the gratuitous caps, lack of centering and fancy, embossed border elevate it to icon status.
I mean, I see plenty of memes in this exact style today, but honestly, I’m just glad that there have been memes making fun of the engineering department for forty-odd years. Anyways, here’s to forty-odd years of making fun of engineers to come!
There have been cat memes as long as there have been human beings on this Earth. In the Paleolithic era, you painted them on the side of your cave wall and hoped that you got thoroughfare traffic. Today, you can post them to the Internet with the click of a button, and send them anywhere in the world. But in the 1970’s, the most popular form of cat memes were the “hang in there, baby” cats that you saw on office posters.
This is truly incredible. The pacing. The comedic timing. The dry, medical language and official office letterhead. The fact that all of this leads up to a punchline saying that the hapless person in question is a loser with a bad attitude. These are the kinds of jokes that I hope we bring back in 2018. H.J. Daly, whoever you are, I salute you.
The most delightful part of this old meme is the “From Jody” lovingly penciled in the top right corner, proof that, even before we were able to send memes via the convenience of email, we were still lovingly sending awful jokes to each other. So rest assured, when you’re sending sad dog images to friends, that you’re part of a long and storied tradition!
I mean, I don’t want to think of myself as the person who brings back “trollface” memes in the Year Of Our Lord, but doesn’t this look like a lost trollface from the dark years of 2008-2012? Like it should be saying “U mad, bro?” and featuring in crappily-rendered comics about weed and magnets? Um, maybe that’s just me.
The best thing about this image is that our sense of humor has not progressed since then, and today, we have the exact same joke on “Minion meme” Facebook pages with poorly rendered jpeg images of those damnable yellow chodes. The second part of this image is how miserable the bird looks.
I don’t even know what to do with the powerful and chaotic energies radiating from this meme. What makes this so viscerally powerful: is it the bolded letters? The suggestion that this man is clipping through the chair? The complete lack of any recognizable punchline or humor when you expect it to be funny? Whatever it is, it’s vivid and mildly frightening.
Now, this is exactly the kind of educational meme I think the kids these days should be making! It teaches grammar and parts of speech, proper communication, political awareness, and a simple, unfettered joy in the flexibility of the English language. Now, that’s the kind of wholesome content we should be consuming at the beginning of 2018.
“It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. “ – Me, on realizing that we have been making the same boyfriend vs. cat joke for the last fifty years and will probably continue to make it for the next fifty years as well.
Much like the secret of fire or a closely-hoarded family recipe, this exact meme has been passed down through the generations and, as such, is easily-recognizable by anyone raised in a relatively-chill Christian church. If you visited churches across North America, I guarantee that you would be able to find this exact meme tacked up on a minister or priest’s wall in at least half of them.
As someone who has worked in the customer service industry, not only does this image still resonate today, I think that it needs to be mandatory at every workplace, with some updates: “No, we aren’t Starbucks. No, we don’t do Starbucks sizes. Yes, if I foam your almond milk that much, it will burn.”
The best part of this meme is the fact that it manages to achieve the poor resolution and awful quality of a genuine deep-fried 2018 meme! All the way back in 1983! Truly, a meme ahead of its time. (But seriously, I don’t know how you were supposed to send in a legible tax return on this piece of paper).
I think this is a great way of doing things at work when you cannot either swear or contain your frustration. I mean, muttering, “807, 820, 805” whenever you’re in a weekly meeting isn’t quite as satisfying as the real thing, but it’s more satisfying than getting fired for giving your manager a genuine 817 at top volume in the middle of the office.
Nothing I can say about this “certificate” will make it any funnier than it already is (which is: hysterical), so I’m just going to go print out a few copies for select family and friends. This may be an old meme but, listen: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
At my little sister’s first-ever job (food prep in a camp kitchen), her boss filled one of these out for every one of his employees before they even showed up to the job. In case you’re wondering, she was rated, “F***ing brain damage. Her coffee cup has a higher IQ” and “Can rely on her to be the first out the door.” She loved that job.
Pictured below: Me, after downing an entire Big-Gulp-sized glass of coffee, which has cooled just enough to be genuinely unpleasant, and someone in the room tells me that I’ll never be able to sleep after drinking that much coffee as if I don’t know that already on a deep, shameful level.
It’s funny when young people carry on like we were the first generation to have invented dirty jokes, as though our great-grandfathers weren’t probably sending our great-grandmothers carrier pigeons with “That’s what she said,” jokes attached delicately to their ankles. Well, my great-grandfather probably wasn’t, because he was a humorless bastard. But you get my point.
Listen, I don’t know anything about this meme, or the office that it was hung in, or the person who hung it, or whoever unearthed it from the depths of that office and brought it to the light of day in 2018. But I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was hung on a printer.
And here, we have the ancient ancestor of the faux-inspirational Instagram post, adapted for a time before it could forage off likes on the green pastures of the Internet and needed to survive in the far-harsher climate of “people’s file drawers.” While the superficial features may differentiate it from its descendant, several features are the same: the tortured analogy, the awkward phrasing, the unnecessary caps.
Anyway, as a Virgo, I would like to point out all the typos in this piece, and also that the typing job is really crappy. Seriously, can’t you at least refill the ink before you type things up so you don’t have all those white gaps in the lettering? Some of us are cold, unemotional nit-pickers here!
That’s it. This is peak f***ing comedy. Everyone else can go home now, I’m tattooing “Please be patient, I only work because I am too old for a paper route, too young for social security, and too tired for an affair” all over my body.