What, what, what
May 16, 2020 10:36 PM   Subscribe

I need you to explain what might be a joke?

I'm in a TJ Maxx looking at weird discounted home furnishings. It's five years ago. I see a framed print:

-- of a merman with a blue tail
-- with a beard
-- no particular facial expression
-- and sunglasses
-- and a camera around his neck, like 35mm film camera?
-- holding a Starbucks-style hot cup
-- white background, no context
-- caption on image: LIKE A FISH

What? I mean, what? It's been bothering me for a while and if there's a meaning I'd like to know. Is it a joke about Millenials? That's the best I can do. What even?
posted by blnkfrnk to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: ... All I can think of is the old feminist slogan "woman need a man like a fish need a bicycle"? But I have no idea how that makes sense.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:39 PM on May 16, 2020

Best answer: Drink like a fish? Like a fish out of water? Like a fish needs a bicycle? If this was a hipster merman the joke might’ve been an attempt at him just needing a fixed gear bike...
posted by nathaole at 10:41 PM on May 16, 2020

Best answer: Maybe he drinks like a fish?
posted by bluedaisy at 10:41 PM on May 16, 2020

Best answer: The number of "Of course I drink like a fish, I'm a mermaid" glasses out there is pretty high, based on a quick google search. It really seems like it would be a take on that. If it's a coffee cup, is it definitely Starbucks? If so, their logo has a mermaid on it. In any case, maybe the joke is that "drinking like a fish" is really drinking coffee. With some other goofy stuff thrown in.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:57 PM on May 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The sunglasses + “like a fish” make me wonder if it’s a particularly impenetrable play on “like a boss” memes. Someone making that joke in 2015 tracks for me.
posted by ceramicspaniel at 10:59 PM on May 16, 2020 [32 favorites]

Best answer: I’m with ceramicspaniel, it’s a riff on "LIKE A BOSS".
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:08 PM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Don't overthink this, a lot of the stuff in TJ Maxx is heavily discounted precisely because it is some weird unfunny mistranslated failure of a design idea, that no other shop would bother to stock.
posted by Lanark at 3:16 AM on May 17, 2020 [31 favorites]

Best answer: The joke " Of Course I drink like a fish, I'm a mermaid" - seems to be something that has been considered amusing enough to have been turned into a giant warehouse full of designs. I am speculating that this might have been an attempt to give the joke some kind of cross-gender appeal- performed by a designed who did not understand English very well.

(There is, of course whole backstory about Starbuck's logo and melusines - but I suspect that is not where the designers, or TJ Max if they have ever employed a lawyer, intended to go.)
posted by rongorongo at 5:35 AM on May 17, 2020

Best answer: My first thought was definitely a riff on "like a boss".
posted by theRussian at 6:07 AM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: well now I want it
posted by jjray at 6:21 AM on May 17, 2020 [11 favorites]

Best answer: a man like a fish need[s] a bicycle

This seems to be the 'joke' to me - he's a man that's like a fish, and he's a hipster, so ergo he needs a bycycle. Arrff. Still not particularly funny, but I am now starting to want one too, purely on a 'WTF is that?' basis.
posted by Chairboy at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Know Your Meme:
"Like A Boss" is a catchphrase often used in image macros or GIFs that feature a person completing an action with authority and finesse. Similar to "Haters Gonna Hate", the characters in the macros have an air of superiority and do not care how others perceive them.
Huge spike in popularity in 2015 (Google trends graph at the Know Your Meme link). Probably the designer combined that with the "15 Minutes Late with Starbucks" meme from 2012.
posted by tzikeh at 10:26 AM on May 17, 2020

Best answer: The camera is throwing me as it has nothing to do with Like a Boss (just rewatched the original video.) I’m inclined to think it’s garbled nonsense per @Lanark for this reason.
posted by kapers at 10:57 AM on May 17, 2020

Response by poster: I'm kind of regretting passing that up, to be honest. Thank you for attempting to shed some light on that.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:53 PM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

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