Seinfeld was on from the time I was 6 until I was 13. Not too sure if that makes me sound young or old anymore but whatever. It was recently brought to my attention that people as close to me in age as five years younger have not necessarily seen Seinfeld. This troubles me for a lot of reasons and made me start thinking about the show and how it has affected my life.
It can be as simple as seeing someone dance like a crazy person, or when I’m on the subway and I think, “I might have enough time to run off the train at this station and throw this away” to the fact that I briefly collected TV Guides just because George’s dad collected them. It also taught me about a method of birth control I had never heard of before and made me intrigued by the idea of someone being “sponge-worthy.” This is the show that made us, freshman year of college, brand new to New York, travel what seemed like the greatest distance anyone had ever traveled to the Upper West Side just to take a picture of Tom’s restaurant.
It’s the kind of show that I’ve never sat down to watch seasons in a row (except when they were originally on) but I always know the episode when it’s on. It will always put me in a good mood and I probably find myself agreeing with their insanity more often than I’d care to admit.
So here are five ways Seinfeld ruined my life:
1. It Has Completely Ruined Poppy Seeds For Me
This is a really real thing. I mean, I was never obsessed with poppy seeds or anything but I ate them. Now, I see poppy seeds on something and I sort of cringe. (I mean, if we’re talking about an ‘everything’ bagel that’s another story, duh.) In “The Shower Head” Elaine is supposed to go on a work trip to Africa and gets told she can’t go on the trip because her drug test came back showing signs of opium!
Now here’s some backstory about my brain and me.
I get panicked whenever I have to go through any kind of security measure. I mean, when I got back from Iceland they asked if I had been near any farm animals and I put down YES. Because I had ridden horses ONE DAY. The TSA person looked at me like I was insane when I explained to her the circumstances under which I had been near farm animals and was so irritated that I had wasted her time. But I was NERVOUS! I almost broke out into hives when I had to drive through the California Argicultural checkpoint despite the fact that I knew there was no produce in the car.
And it’s not ALL about Elaine – she didn’t make me BE neurotic – but she had a LOT to do with it is what I’m saying. Because knowing my luck, something like that would happen to me.
2. Always Imagine Various Ways I Could Nap At Work
If there’s one person who knows how to get out of work, it’s George Constanza. And he is the master of napping at work. He sets up a nap station under his desk and has Jerry’s contractors install other accoutrements to make his nap more enjoyable.
Now, I’ve obviously never napped at work because I’m a hard worker and that’s insane. But I’ve definitely had thoughts of “maybe I should set up a bed under my desk right now, I’m pretty tired.”
But the best part is that a co-worker of mine once did this.
I am not kidding.
Our boss was out of town with a bunch of people from our department and we weren’t taping so everything was pretty slow. But one of the girls disappeared for a couple hours and we all just kind of ignored it and didn’t think about it. She worked in a cubicle grouping near me but in the far corner and someone else had walked by and saw her sleeping under her desk. She ended up getting in trouble for it, naturally, but I just can’t help feeling like, “yeah, you did it! You George Constanza’d that desk, good job!”
3. Obsessed With the Big Salad
Since I didn’t move to New York City until 2002 this is sort of a chicken and egg situation for me.
Was I seeing Big Salads everywhere because of Seinfeld or were Big Salads a thing that Seinfeld just pointed out to those of us who didn’t live in the city?
All I know is I loved going to diners in college (still do, in fact) and one of the greatest pleasures in life comes from a “big salad.”
GEORGE: Sure, all right, what do you want?
ELAINE: Um, um, I don’t know…A big salad?
GEORGE: What big salad? I’m going to the coffee shop.
ELAINE: They have big salads.
GEORGE: I’ve never seen a big salad.
ELAINE: They have a big salad.
GEORGE: Is that what I ask for? The BIG salad?
ELAINE: It’s okay, you don’t…
GEORGE: No, no, hey I’ll get it. What’s in the BIG salad?
JERRY: Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.
I mean, even now, I can’t verbalize what the big salad is, but like, I get it, Elaine. And also, George is probably right that you shouldn’t take credit for the big salad if you didn’t purchase it.
Am I losing my mind?
4. Always Think About Elaine When I Run Out of Toilet Paper in a Public Restroom
I didn’t realize how focused on Elaine I’ve always been until I started this list. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the panic associated with public restrooms.
This panic can be as simple as “why is the floor all wet?” to “OMG WHAT DIED IN HERE?” but all in all the worst is the panic of Not Realizing There is No Toilet Paper Until the End.
I mean, how terrible would it be to be rejected in that situation? It’s awful enough to have to request toilet paper from a stranger and then to just be turned down? Terrible.
And I totally understand Elaine’s confusion and subsequent overreaction over this.
What a traumatic experience!
5. Can’t Get Jerry Seinfeld Out of My Head While Naked
Okay that sounds crazy but stay with me.
Let’s all remember that fateful episode where Jerry is dating a girl who does weird things while she happens to not be wearing any clothes. (I particularly always think about the bike repair part of this episode).
So, when I getting into the shower, if I’m already undressed and then have to do ANYTHING – brush my teeth, pick something up, read a text, ANYTHING – I think of this episode and Jerry’s definition of good naked versus bad naked.
But yeah, probably don’t fix a bike while naked. Just for safety.
[Insert Kenneth's Seinfeld transition noises from 30 Rock]