I was reading this middle-grade novel from the library, When Life Gives You O.J., kind of absent-mindedly, skimming and keeping track of the tropes: best friend at camp leads to shifting friendships, mm hm, Jewish family moved out of New York into an all-gentile neighborhood, yup, annoying little brother, sure, bonding with harder-to-like grandparent after the easier-one-to-like one died… and then I turned a page and a line made me laugh out loud:
I said, “Bubbles would have liked it here.”
Ace sort of snorted in response, but it sounded like he was agreeing with me. He looked down the hill at where my mom was now sitting on the cooler.
“IN ORDER TO BEGIN TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT, WE MUST FIRST REDEEM THE PAST, AND THAT CAN ONLY BE DONE BY SUFFERING,” he said, adding “CHEKHOV.”
“Okay,” I said, more confused than ever. I was pretty sure he meant his favorite playwright, not the guy from Star Trek. But with Ace, you could never be too sure.
I wished I’d read the whole book more respectfully and intently, because look, it made me laugh! But now it’s back in trope-land.
I think I had this same experience with Diary of a Wimpy Kid. One or two things that just slay me, in the midst of everyday stock. (And they’re things that I can’t exactly explain why they’re so funny.) I don’t know what to do with it.