Have you heard of the Mandela effect? You have? Great! Oh, but you want me to explain it anyway. Well, if you insist…
The idea is that there are subsets of people who believe we are living in multiple universes and that somehow because certain people remember events differently than others that these are somehow defects in the universe.
This is why some people strongly believe that Nelson Mandela died in prison back during his time when he was imprisoned, and others know that he died in 2013. The same can be said for people who remember book titles like The Berenstain Bears as the (completely accurate, I remember it this way too) The Berenstein Bears. This one is supposedly in the thousands. Whether this was just a regional thing, or a case of parents not knowing how to pronounce that word to their children, the name stuck. Or maybe…there was a glitch in our universe.
Ok, ok. You aren’t convinced. Well this brings me to really what is my only point in today’s writing adventure.
S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders is where the next Mandela effect takes place. Those who have read the novel countless times like me (Hey, I teach Middle School, don’t judge) remember Johnny’s final line to Ponyboy right before he dies (30-Year-Old Spoiler Warning) as “Stay Golden.” How great was that line? It was the central theme of the novel about not giving in to the evils of the world but to try and stay young at heart for as long as your time on this world is bright.
The only problem is that it isn’t the line at all. The line he actually says in the novel is “Stay Gold.” Why did so many of us suddenly feel the urge to change the noun into an adjective? It certainly is easier to say, and makes far more sense in a conversational tone. No one typically speaks in metaphors when having a conversation with someone.
“Hey Bill, looks like all that training paid off. I won the race,” said Fred.
“Stay Cheetah Fred. Stay Cheetah.”
Ever since I started teaching this novel to eighth graders I’ve constantly worked that line into my classroom routine. At the end of each assignment I’ll ask the students, “Are you guys good? Are you great? Are you golden?” Imagine my shock and horror that first year when we finally get to the famous line only to discover that I’d been quoting it wrong the whole year.
It wasn’t deal breaking. They still loved the novel. And I still misquote the line to this day. Because the part of me that always remembers those words will always hear gold as an adjective. Or you know…maybe the rest of the world is living in a different universe and I myself know the one true reality.
Stay Golden Everybody!
Unless S.E. Hinton reads this. She can stay gold.