Explaining the cultural references

It’s Monday. Again.

The first five days after the weekend are always the hardest.

What a weekend it was.

Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by eating too much and Black Friday by spending too much.

We didn’t go shopping on Black Friday.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

Let me back up.

Last Sunday our beloved son’s beloved Jeep gave up the ghost. For seven years it took him on adventures to the beach, to the Gulf, and of course, to college. But last Sunday morning it drifted into a parking space in time for him to make his shift at work.

An engine. Forty-five hundred dollars.

We thought not.

Actually we thought long and hard about it.

After a whirlwind trip over the river and through the woods we came back and on Friday, against our better judgment, went shopping. Yesterday he drove his new, actually gently-used car back to Atlanta.

We had a good family visit and a good Thanksgiving. It’s always hectic.

Whilst we were there, this same son was reading my blog from last week when I talked about not surrendering.

He looked at me and said “I thought you knew about history, the Germans didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor.”

He didn’t get the reference. He’s never seen Animal House.

He makes films.

Either I or his film school have failed.

But it didn’t stop there.

On Thanksgiving Day I posted my status as “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Of course the reference was the WKRP Thanksgiving special and most folks got that.

But more than one responder, several in fact, remind me that wild turkeys do indeed fly.

That’s not my normal frame of reference for Wild Turkey, but I am aware of the vertical capacity of non-domestic turkeys.

That wasn’t the point.

Both examples made me think of cultural references or phrases that are used all the time that many people, myself included don’t get.

Whist we were shopping for the car my son made a reference from Ferris Bueller. The sales manager got it.  I didn’t.

My wife and I have a standard grocery reference when cupboards are bare. We refer to that as an “As God is my witness” shopping trip.

No, not WKRP, and we’re not inclined to shop for turnips.

I could go on with references but I think you get the point.

As a writer I have to be careful with that. I need to make sure that I don’t get so carried away with the smart-assery that I make references that are not going to be understood. Of course the downside is having to explain everything.

Clarity. It’s what each writer is hoping to achieve without giving up personality.

I’m sure there’s a cultural reference I could insert here, but it escapes me.

I’ll get back to you, tomorrow.

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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