Another article I read during my Costa Rica travels was “Got an Original Idea? Not Likely” in the June/July issue of Scientific American Mind. (I should subscribe to this magazine since I tend to buy one every time I fly.) In the article, Wray Herbert quotes Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Street, in a confrontation with her assistant, who hates the fashion industry:
“You see that droopy sweater you’re wearing?” she asks. “That blue was on a dress Cameron Diaz wore on the cover of Runway—shredded chiffon by James Holt. The same blue quickly appeared in eight other designers’ collections and eventually made its way to the secondary designers, the department store labels, and then to some lovely Gap Outlet, where you no doubt found it. That color is worth millions of dollars and many jobs.”
The author uses this example to point out that no matter how original we think our thinking is, it’s really influenced by others. I repeat the quote because I love the way Meryl Streep put that better-than-thou little girl in her place.
I site the article because I had an experience during the trip that made this article jump out on the plane ride home. A group of us went for the zip line tour of the jungle and the photographer wanted a group picture before we started. Once we got everyone lined up, I hear one of the woman in the bunch shout out, “Everybody say ‘Watermelon!'” I turned to her and said, “How did you know that was my word!”
She pointed out that it couldn’t be my word because she’d been using it for years. I topped her by pointing out that I’ve been using it for decades. We came to a settlement without involving lawyers. She gets rights in North Carolina, but I have them everywhere else, however, she can have all foreign language equivalents. She used “meloncia” for the rest of the trip. My Spanish isn’t good enough to know if that was correct or not.
I know that the use of watermelon has spread to some of my family and close friends, but who would have thought it had reached North Carolina. I wonder where I got it from?