Stories that travel in this direction, then that.
Hudson is the long-time principal of Linwood Holton Elementary School in Richmond, Va., where each of our three kids spent many genuinely formative days.
As relayed to me at the dinner table by our then-third grader (who originally heard the tale from a close friend, also a third-grader)—yes, in the grand scheme of mediated communication, this reliability quotient is only slightly above (but nonetheless above) the reliability quotient of current White House press conferences—Principal Hudson strode assertively into the school cafeteria.
Known as much for his endless energy pushing kids toward whole-life success as for his authority-figure pose as for his impeccable fashion sense, which, more often than not, includes an eye-popping bow-tie, Principal Hudson alerted the lunching students that indeed he had an urgent announcement.
As far as answers go, he said, "Deez Nuts" would no longer be tolerated as a form of response to a teacher's serious questions regarding mathematics and social studies.
According to my son's close friend, the cafeteria erupted.
This fastidious administrator-of-a-man, typically keen to remind young boys-to-men to tuck in their shirts while inside the school building, had himself become un-tucked.
He had uttered a meme in order to stop a meme.
And no one saw it coming—especially not a bunch of 9-year-olds eating dessert first and trying desperately to open the string cheese.
I'm 99 percent certain the trees at Lake Anna State Park never saw it coming either.
Maybe they had smirked at the unbridled creation of Smokey Bear, that lovable protector of the forest.
Perhaps they had learned to concede the double-sided meaning of "tree hugger."
Maybe they applauded the social-commentary role of trees—or, at least, creatures resembling trees—in Tolkien's opus to all things inhabiting our world of wonder.
But, dear God, has it really come to this?
Deez Nuts, carved on a tree, alongside Jack's confessed love for Chloe and Kaitlin's hopes of forever with Eli.
Stopping a meme is like standing on the train tracks and holding up one hand as a locomotive comes barreling around the corner.
Meanwhile, in your other hand, your smartphone is capturing the moment and turning it into a cultural artifact.
Nothing you can say will be able to stop yourself.