It was pouring rain and my dad and I were waiting for mom to come out of the grocery. I must have been about 10. He was shaking with laughter.
“Who is on first”
“WHY ARE YOU ASKIN’ ME?”
“Who is on first, Lou.”
“WHAT’S ON SECOND.”
“That’s what I said”
“WHO GETS THE MONEY?”
“Every dollar of it.”
“TELL ME DA PITCHER’S NAME.”
“WHY YA GONNA TELL ME TOMORROW?”
“Tomorrow is the pitcher.”
My Dad: *hahahahHAHhAHhahahaAHHHH*
“I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!”
My Dad: *wheezes* *wipes tears from his cheeks*
“That’s our shortstop.”
My Dad: “Katie, I don’t give a damn is OUR SHORTSTOP.”
Now I wheeze with laughter when I hear the sketch.
Even though Abbott and Costello’s famous routine “Who’s on First” first debuted on radio in 1938 it’s still a classic, often injected into movies and television shows, riffed on and re-combined.
There are plenty of references to it in pop culture.
It might be the best comedic sketch ever written.
“Who’s on First” still resonates 84 years after its first radio performance because we have all been in the shoes of the hopelessly confused Costello, and we’ve also been in the shoes of the exasperated Abbott.
There are all kinds of comedy but my favorite is the kind that allows me to laugh at the ridiculous situation that is *gestures vaguely* life right now.
“Who’s on First” resonates for the same reason I can’t stop laughing when I watch Corporate Natalie’s, Loewhaley’s, and Alina Bock’s reels on Instagram.
My Therapist Said
is one of my favorite little books of poetry by Hal Sirowitz.
It includes this one:
Lending Out Books
You’re always giving, my therapist said.
You have to learn how to take. Whenever
you meet a woman, the first thing you do
is lend her your books. You think she’ll
have to see you again in order to return them.
But what happens is, she doesn’t have the time
to read them, & she’s afraid if she sees you again
you’ll expect her to talk about them, & will
want to lend her even more. So she
cancels the date. You end up losing
a lot of books. You should borrow hers.
I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard it on the radio.
Mirror Mirror On My Phone
Like it or not, we all tend to electively engage more with people and people at businesses, and therefore businesses, in which we see ourselves.
Even better if we can laugh.
In The Greater Good, a magazine from UC Berkeley, social psychologist and researcher Sara Algoe says a recent study with co-author Laura Kurtz indicated that “For people who are laughing together, shared laughter signals that they see the world in the same way, and it momentarily boosts their sense of connection.”
Here are a few studies that talk about consumer behavior in relation to connection.
TL:DR: Research shows that we engage with people with whom we feel connected.
These days, we do a lot of that connecting via our phones (and sometimes desktops) in the digital space.
Which means: our digital spaces have to be welcoming, informational, and provide ways to connect.
I’m hoping to NOT “Who’s on First” you with this little primer.
The “First Place/Space” is HOME.
The “Second Place/Space” is WORK.
The “Third Place/Space” is STARBUCKS (or something like it).
A place to gather and hang out outside of home. Churches, sports fields, Moose Lodges, clubs – those are all 3rd places. They’re highly important to our well-being and they’re in danger of disappearing.) Garden Centers can be Third Places. I talk about how to become one here.
One of the reasons Third Places are disappearing is that we’re all spending more time in SPACE! (The digital space.)
The digital space is “The Fourth Place.” I call it the Fourth Space because it’s, like, all around us.
Who’s on Fourth?
EVERYONE IS ON FOURTH.
I wonder what Costello would think about the Fourth Space?
He died in 1959.
The iPhone wouldn’t come along until half a century later.
We’re all on Fourth and the problem is, most of us feel about it very similarly to Costello about Abbott’s baseball team.
See: the shortstop’s name.
That’s probably extreme. We do actually give a damn about the Fourth Space because we have to.
But, unless tech is your favorite thing, you probably feel more like Costello (“I ASKED WHO. IS. ON. FIRST?”) then Abbott.
And yet, you have to somehow connect with your customers on Fourth.
1. If you don’t know how to handle the tech part, get help. There are people that can help you learn how to make reels or find you meme generators or set up your Linktr.ee or your LinkInBio or edit videos or start an email list. See below for some links.
2. Figure out how you can best vibe with your customers.
Meme them up.
This looks different for everyone. Remember, you only need to vibe with your customers or potential customers, partners, staff, etc. So what if someone doesn’t get the joke? They’re not for you.
Here are some examples.
Brawley Garden Center in Mooresville, NC had an announcement on their Instagram last week. “Hey friends, the BGC will be closing at 2:30pm today for the 3rd annual Brawley Games.”
And then they posted Instagram stories showing the box folding competitions, bag hauling, etc. etc. all afternoon. It was so fun. I wish I lived closer.
Little Prince of Oregon staff nerds out about plants. Growers – they’re just like us!
Botany plant shop in South Bend, Indiana made a contribution to the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and shared about it on their Instagram feed.
Potted Charm created a carousel of instructions to teach people how to water their pots in extreme heat.
Garden Crossings commiserated with customers AND kept them informed about the extreme heat in their area. Their instagram posts detail how they’re putting their staff first by staying closed.
Plant Addicts regularly posts puns and dad jokes.
Those examples are all pretty different.
The customer base of each of those businesses is different and values different things.
Those businesses are all successful because they’ve found ways to connect with their customers on Fourth and beyond.
I call that a home run. Or a successful moonshot.
Fantastic Instagram account to follow for social media tips and instructions.
Free (with all access pass registration) hands-on workshop to whip your digital space into shape.
Completely annotated books of garden-related quotes, poetry, and sayings. Perfect for social media inspiration.
A FANTASTICALLY informative blog post about how to care for native plants.
Want to go to space with me? I’m speaking at these fantastic events this summer/fall!
What’s your favorite meme, video, or vibe? Send it to me. I wanna laugh with you.
Not sure how to vibe? Maybe I can help. Email me. (I’ll answer you Monday. I’ll be asleep on Friday. It’s been a WEEK.)