John & Nick

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LimeHabanaOur very own John Carroll recently sat down with Gerald Mayers to discuss the word that’s been gaining the attention of the entire world wide web: HABANA. Is it “the new LOL,” as its proponents would suggest? Or is HABANA just another failed attempt to unseat the king? Here’s what Mr. Mayers had to say:

Let’s start at the beginning. Where did HABANA come from?

Oh, wow, well, I remember just shooting the shit with some pals of mine over brunch. My buddy Roman was telling a great story about his dumb — and I should note, former — tennis instructor. And I was sort of laughing at his story, but also keeping an eye out for the waitress. So she comes over, finally, as Roman’s hitting a huge punchline. And then my mouth tried to exist in too many places at once. Words and sounds married themselves on my tongue. HABANA was born.

Does HABANA stand for anything, then? I always thought it did because of the all-caps.

No, that’s a pretty common mistake. And some people try to create an acronym for it. But we decided early on it would be best for HABANA’s brand if it were capitalized front to back because it gives HABANA real life, as well as credibility.

Were you disappointed to see Merriam-Webster overlook HABANA this year? Many people were shocked it wasn’t selected as a new word for their dictionary.

Disappointed? No. I’m actually thrilled.

Why? Bad news is good news?

No, no. Many people would consider it an honor, but to me, HABANA is more than a word. It’s a way of life. To call it a word is to reduce it. My caddy had a good way of putting it just the other day, in fact: HABANA isn’t a thing, it’s the thing itself. I’m having that carved into wood and hung in my office.

What would you do if a different dictionary tried to pick-up the word for publication this year?

We’ve had discussions about that. All I can say is that my legal advisors and I have drafted the appropriate documents in anticipation of such an announcement.

Are you threatening to sue any dictionary that tries to designate HABANA as a word?

No, John, come now. No one’s threatening anyone here. That wouldn’t be very HABANA, now would it?

Can you announce here on that you will not sue anyone who tries to put HABANA in a dictionary?

I simply can’t do that.

Why not? You seem to be contradicting your earlier comment.

I simply can’t give publications carte blanche to do what they want with HABANA. No one owns HABANA. This movement we’re all a part of is bigger than me, bigger than a dictionary, bigger than the Internet.

You say no one owns HABANA, but our records acquired just this week show that you have copyrighted the phrase and are currently producing t-shirts. Care to comment on that?

I don’t know what records you’re referring to.

These records. Right here. Your approved copyright on HABANA.

I’ve never seen these before. I’d need — listen, I’d need time to review them carefully before commenting.

OK, what about the t-shirts?

What about them?

How can you say no one owns HABANA and then go on to profit from t-shirts bearing the word HABANA?

I thought I made it clear that HABANA is not a word. HABANA is a choice. HABANA is nothing else other than HABANA.

Fine. How can you claim to not own HABANA when you’ll soon be profiting from sales of a shirt with HABANA printed on the front?

I’m not profiting. I don’t know where you got that idea from. Do your records have my bank account information on there? Does it say “shirt proceeds go into Gerald’s trust fund”?

No. It does not say that. But if you’re printing the shirts, it doesn’t seem like a leap to assume you’ll be keeping the money from their sale.

Actually, it’s a huge leap. Because all proceeds from sales of the HABANA shirts go directly back to HABANA. Who is profiting from HABANA? HABANA is profiting from HABANA.

How does a meme collect profits, sir? I’ve never heard of something like that before.

Meme? Did you just call HABANA a meme? Jesus Christ, John. I mean, call it a word if you’re going to call it a meme. Did you come here to disrespect me?

I’m sorry. I’m just trying to find some answers for our audience.

Fine. Next question?

Let’s talk about The HABANA Foundation. Your staunchest critics say that it’s just a front to prop up infamous friends of yours, like James Deegler or Shady Sadie. What do you have—

I’m sorry, but this is an area clearly designated off-limits in the agreement we signed before this interview. I don’t want to do this, but I have a respect for boundaries that you clearly don’t. Turn that off. We’re off the record now. Turn it off now, goddammit, or I’ll HABANA your ass so bad you’ll be shitting HABANA for years you selfish— [tape cuts out abruptly]

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Because your future is nothing to joke about.

Emoji Support Group

EmojiSupportGroup Facilitator: Who wants to share first tonight?

FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY: I’d like to. I’ve got something on my mind.

Facilitator: Great. Thank you.

FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY: I’m sorry if this has been discussed at a past meeting, but are our users required to employ emoji consistent with their emotional state?

Facilitator: It would be nice, wouldn’t it? But no, there are no rules about conveying precise or even approximate emotions. The users are free to do as they please.

FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY: That’s comforting in a weird way, because Tiffany Carmen of Oakland never cries, and yet she’s trotting me out 10 or 20 times per day. It makes me feel abused.

Facilitator: It’s important to recognize these feelings. Sharing them: doubly so. Thank you for that. Who’s next?

EXPRESSIONLESS FACE: No one understands me.

Facilitator: What do you mean by that, Mr. Face?

EXPRESSIONLESS FACE: Well, what do I look like to you?

Facilitator: You’re an expressionless face.

EXPRESSIONLESS FACE: Yes, but you know that because of my name tag. Everyone else thinks I’m the fat emoji. People just assume. And I have no recourse. I just have to sit there and take it.

Facilitator: I think a lot of us in this room know what it’s like to be bullied.

FACE SCREAMING IN FEAR: You’re telling me.

Facilitator: Please. Elaborate on that.

FACE SCREAMING IN FEAR: Where do I even begin? If your pal Joshua got a cat, that’s not terrifying. If there’s a run in Linda’s stocking, that’s not terrifying. If you found a $5 bill on the subway, that’s not terrifying. They don’t know the depths of the darkness I’ve seen, and yet they use me anyway.

PILE OF POO: Can I butt in?

Faciliator: You may speak, Mr. Poo, but please refrain from the comedy and talk to us honestly and directly, OK?

PILE OF POO: Hi, my name is Pile of Poo and Kara Dermott of Wichita has been abusing me since she got her new iPhone for Christmas. She has no self control. She’ll put me in texts to her parents. Texts to her friends. Sexts. She even used me in a break-up text last week.

Facilitator: And how does that make you feel?

PILE OF POO: Well, it makes me feel like a giant pile of—

Facilitator: That’s it, I’m taking back the talking stick. You’re strictly observing for the rest of the meeting. Who’s next?

YELLOW HEART: You know, I’m hearing a lot of complaints tonight about simply being used. What a problem to have! None of you know what it feels like to just sit in that emoji drawer. I get tapped maybe once a month, and it’s by accident. I don’t understand why I exist. My life has no purpose. No one would even notice if I was gone.

AUBERGINE: Don’t talk like that, Yellow Heart. Every emoji has a purpose in this world. We just have to find it. No one used me for the longest time. And then, suddenly, people were wild about Eggplant.

FACE WITH STUCK-OUT TONGUE: C’mon, everyone uses you like you’re a cock.

AUBERGINE: Huh? What are you talking about?

FACE WITH STUCK-OUT TONGUE: Don’t play dumb, Auberdick.

Facilitator: Please, fellas, this is a safe space. No accusatory talk.

AUBERGINE: I’m a woman. Why can’t anyone see that?

Facilitator: OK, I think emotions are running a bit high. Let’s take five. Help yourself to a donut, smoke a cigarette, go to the bathroom. Just go cool off, OK?


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