My recent experience with the Badder-Meinhof Phenomenon
|Did you know that the Baader-Meinhof Group was responsible for 34 deaths during the German Autumn? Of course you did, but I bet you didn’t know that they also caused my digitally hermetic friend to text me today.
Everyone has had that serendipitous period after buying a new car where they start seeing the same model on every road and highway. Or maybe while daydreaming during class you remember a funny line from an old Simpsons episode and a friend with equally fine taste references that same line later that night during your weekly Boggle game. We have come to call this the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, which played out for me today when I received a communication miraculum.
My best friend of 19 years messaged me for the first time in months. To be fair, I also haven't messaged him in months. The 1,700 mile gap that now separates us is seemingly too great a challenge for SMS technology.
The unlikeliness of this event was so profound to me, not only due to the infrequent history of our past communications, but more due to the fact that just earlier today I uttered the phrase, “I hardly ever talk to my best friend.” And yet there he was, reaching out to me on the same day, mere hours after mentioning him.
A strong sense of intrigue overwhelmed me as I unlocked my phone to see his message. What could have compelled him today of all days? I was greeted by a chicken sporting a man-child ponytail with the caption “Hey, welcome to Gamestop”. On its own, this image had no chance of eliciting more than a derisive smirk from me, it just wasn’t my cup of comedy.
After a few moments of staring at the picture, I realized the elusive nature of his message. The caption was quite incidental, it was the image of this ponytail sporting chicken that was meant to evoke a response. It was amazingly uncanny, this chicken was clearly Roger, a young man that my best friend and I had worked with about 6 years ago. Roger (The Moleman, but that’s a story for another time) was the bane of our early work history, yet you couldn’t help feeling a tiny amount of pity for the guy.
After realizing this, I immediately reported my discovery and was in turn greeted by relief and gratitude that I had cracked the code that only a long time friend could. We talked for at least an hour after that and I remembered how important it was to keep in touch with those that are close to you.
That was until he started asking those insipid personal questions like, How’s your family doing? Did you get that promotion yet? Are you seeing anyone? Understandably, I quickly ghosted him.