"A Little Nerd Told Me": In Which I Fail Spectacularly

A few months ago, I coined a meme which, I was convinced, could be huge. It wasn't.

It came about most organically: on Twitter, that font of modern epigrams. Someone tweeted something about a magic wand. I responded, "A little nerd told me that Ollivander's closed." Only when I saw it in writing did I realize that the phrase was amazing, and I immediately resolved to make it a part of the lexicon. It seemed to me at least as good as "You Lie!" or ""Imma let you finish" or "tights are not pants." (Okay, maybe not that good.) But I wasn't sure how to go about this. I Tweeted "This is a new meme." I made it my Gchat status, hoping it would beguile all with its inscrutable open-endedness. And I waited. Nothing happened.

For about half a day, I tried to work it in whenever possible. It had so many uses! Referencing geeky arcana, anything wonky, the Mets' hot-stove. "A little nerd told me that the new Janáček is really absorbing," I would drop casually. Or, "A little nerd told me that New Moon tickets are still available for opening night" or "A little nerd told me that Stephen Hawking is determinedly apolitical." Everyone upon whom I aggressively pressed it agreed, politely, that it was indeed mildly amusing.

However, its limitations soon became apparent. Using it in any kind of "RT" situation was blatantly insulting. One friend gamely told me he'd help disseminate the phrase, and the next day left a message on my boyfriend's phone. "A little nerd told me...that you're taking the GMAT today!" he said gaily. I had told him that.

I was becoming frustrated. I was sure those PR-savvy media wunderkinds who are always getting press for doing nothing could have already worked the phrase into a sitcom, started a website, become a VH1 commenter, and probably and mysteriously, become rich. All I wanted was to get the phrase out there; I craved no glory. And yet, I knew the failure was all mine.

And so I tweeted, "Stop trying to make "a little nerd told me" happen." Its era had passed.