Sometimes looking at the patterns people use when writing or talking can give you a lot more clarity about what they really believe than looking at just the words.
For example, I end up getting one of those "So you’re a nerd with disposable income?" catalogs every quarter or so. They’re the ones with gifts and gadgets of whatever movie franchises are popular at the time – Batman themed wearables, LotR styled swords, Harry Potter replica wands.
Somehow, I ended up with the ammosexual version. Featuring survivalist equipment, realistic looking BB guns, way more sword canes and halberds than I would have thought probable, and even trigger converter kits, I first had a bit of a chuckle while flipping through the pages. The headline for each item was often the most hyperbolic part. Some real examples:
- “Carry The Armor Of God Everyday” (for a fancy Christian-themed challenge coin)
- “Real Men Used Range Finders!”
- “Mini In Size, Big In Punch!”
- “They’ll Be Asking For Forgiveness!”
- “Devastating Power In A Menacing Package”
- “Deliver That Crushing Blow Against Attackers” 
- “The Same Style Knife Your Granddaddy Carried!” 
- “Vietnam Jungle Boots… Tested In The Mekong” 
- “Defend Yourself Like A Modern Gladiator!”
The rest of the catalog, though, was the same layouts as the fantasy and sci-fi themed ones I usually get, and that’s when it hit me. All of these catalogs are actually peddling the same thing – wanting to have the trappings of someone’s personal wish-fulfillment fantasy. Mine tend to involve magic or laser swords; this other one with the fantasy of "machismo".
And, for three items at least – the Covenant sword from Halo, a dagger from Dune, and a LotR sword – those fantasies overlapped completely.
And I chuckled again – but this time because I understood a little bit better. Maybe it’s still not the catalog for me, but I get it a little bit more.
I bring this up today because it’s April 20th and I’m seeing all types of "Happy 420" posts on social media.
Almost exactly like how I will see people wish each other "Happy Cinco de Mayo" in a few weeks, with pictures of margaritas all over.
Or the slate of beer-related "Happy St. Patrick’s Day" memes a few weeks ago.
Or posts about coffee… well, pretty much every day.
We can point at the specific differences in the words, sure.
But the patterns are all the same.
Featured Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash
 For a faux wood plastic "shillelagh" with a special "For adult use only" warning
 With a bowie knife with "authentic bone" handle. So clearly targeting people whose grandparents were alive in… the 1890s?
 Which is kinda funny, because the "jungle boot" design is good, but has been improved on a lot since over the last 50 years…