This afternoon I made a call for work and got confused when the other party suddenly said "IT'S BACON!" in the middle of our conversation. Not knowing what was going on, I paused and said... "uhhh... okayyy..." The guy then said "Sorry, it's an inside joke." I assumed it had something to do with those stupid "Beggin' Strips" commercials, but couldn't figure out what I said to get that response. All afternoon my mind was kind of distracted by the notion of "inside jokes"... mostly because I no longer have any.
All the inside jokes I had evaporated when one of my best friends died.
Howard and I had dozens, and they've been running through my head all evening. Here are a few of my favorites...
Howard and I used to go to Star Trek conventions because we were geeks who led boring lives. Once we had checked into our hotel rooms the night before the convention, we decided to find a restaurant for dinner. After washing up I went to Howard's room and knocked on the door. When he opened it he was laughing so hard he was crying. I kept asking him what was up, but he was laughing too hard to tell me. Eventually he picked up the phone book Yellow Pages and handed it to me. Under the "RESTAURANTS" category, one of the first places listed was "Black Angus," but somebody had scratched out the "g" so it read "Black Anus." Needless to say, this was a never-ending "in-joke" between us from that point on. Anytime we met up to eat, Black Anus was always on our list of possible restaurants. And heaven help you if we happened to actually drive by one. The longer it went on, the funnier it got. Years later we went to a technical conference and decided to actually eat at a Black Angus because we thought it would be the funniest thing ever. Turns out it wasn't as funny as we thought it would be, and the whole "Black Anus" joke died a quiet death.
Back in the good ol' days of computing, Apple had a voice recognition technology called "PlainTalk" which was about as bad as you would expect 1990's voice recognition technology to be. But it was new and exciting so I installed it on my old Mac Quadra and wrote a bunch of AppleScripts for the "Speakable Items" folder that could perform simple tasks. At the time, Beavis and Butt-Head had just become The Next Big Thing, and Howard was obsessed with the show...
So, naturally, when Howard dropped by my place to check out my PlainTalk installation, the first thing he said to my Mac was "Fire! Fire!" And what did my Mac do? It spoke back and said "Hot!" To this day, I have no idea how or why it did what it did. We could never repeat the response. But from then on, ANY time we heard the word "fire" we would shout out "hot!" Things went terribly wrong when a co-worker was telling us how her mother just lost her house in a fire. Both of us instinctively started to say "hot!" but managed to stop ourselves. But we didn't manage to stop ourselves from laughing. Awkward...
A mutual friend of ours was married to an absolute jerk that neither one of us could stand. For years we wondered why in the hell she was married to the dumbass. One day we were talking to another friend of hers and the subject came up. It was then that the bomb dropped... apparently this guy we hated had a huge penis. For some reason, we found this hysterically funny. Since his name was Fred Hershberger*, we would say "Fred Hershberger" instead of "penis" from then on. My last words to Howard on his wedding day were "Try not to wear out your Fred Hershberger on your honeymoon."
Needless to say, I miss those inside jokes. Though I suppose it's not really the jokes I miss, but the person I shared them with.
Heh. Black Anus.
*Obviously his name was not Fred Hershberger. I just made that up to protect the identity of the well-endowed.