One thing I regularly struggle with is including references that many readers may not get. As I jot these thoughts down, I reflect on growing up watching TVLand. While most kids my age couldn’t fathom watching old black and white sitcoms, they were basically all I wanted to watch, well besides Saved By the Bell and Fresh Prince of Bell-Air. I remember sitting in class and chatting with someone about the funny line Mary told Mr. Grant the night before (in actuality a few decades before) and getting a blank stare. Although that would be preferable to the uncomfortable moment when a boy in the cafeteria once remarked that he didnt on wow why everyone watched Fresh Prince because it was “just black people.” None of us had the wherewithal to tell him we didn’t care what color the people were. Of coure, this was just the same as when a good friend in elementary school mentioned in some group project that his dad threw him up against the wall. The three of us in the group looked at him with jaws on the floor and were so disturbed by s casual mention of it that I recall it nearly two decades later.
So now I turn this attention to my writing. I think it’s best to keep in mind one’s (potential) audience. So whenever I type out a real world shout out, I sit back and ask if this is a generally known subject. Just because I think it’s witty doesn’t mean a sixteen year old in another state will even get it. And there’s nothing worse than having to explain a joke.
Trust me, I’ve had to explain punchlines all my life to people who hate spunk.