In the fascinating and baffling cyberspace of the internet, one of the most interesting (and surprising?) trends is the longevity of funny forklift memes. So, let’s dive into, as our friend the internet might say, “Ermahgerd, firclift mehms!”
While most people associate memes exclusively with internet culture, the idea of a meme predates the widespread adoption of the net by several years. The term meme was conceived in 1976 by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his work, “The Selfish Gene.” Dawkins’s theory is that memes are constructs that spread through the population in a cultural way, such as a melody, a catchphrase, a fashion trend or slang.
Quoting from the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Within a culture, memes can take a variety of forms, such as an idea, a skill, a behavior, a phrase, or a particular fashion. Memes carry information, are replicated, and are transmitted from one person to another, and they have the ability to evolve, mutating at random and undergoing natural selection. The replication and transmission of a meme occurs when one person copies a unit of cultural information comprising a meme from another person.”
However, what most people think of as a meme—an internet meme—differs from Dawkins’s original conception. An internet meme is a cultural item that spreads online and through social media. While Dawkins’s memes spread and evolve naturally, an internet meme is deliberately reproduced and altered. They also tend to be funnier (or, at least, funnier to someone) than Dawkins’s notion of memes as a “cultural parallel to biological genes,” which doesn’t seem that funny at all.
The forklift meme explained
Forklift memes began in 2016 with the creation of a Facebook group dedicated to forklifts and forklift jokes. We don’t know who created the Facebook page, but one of its most popular features is memes. These memes often depict humorous workplace situations, common forklift mishaps or the agility and capability of forklift operators.
One possible explanation for why these memes became and continue to be popular is that forklift operators face unique workplace challenges, such as maneuvering through narrow spaces, carefully lifting heavy loads and navigating crowded warehouse floors. Forklift memes give those in the know a way to blow off steam. Another possible explanation is that these memes help those outside of the profession to gain some (often highly embellished) insight into the world of forklift operators by shedding light on the risks and quirks of the job.
While all forklift memes try to be entertaining and funny, the subject matter ranges from benign to bawdy. (Since this is a family-friendly website, we’re sticking with the benign.)
Types of forklift memes
The forklift certified meme explained
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires anyone who operates a lift to be forklift certified meaning they are trained on the specific machine they use on their job site. Because there are many different types of forklifts, there is no universal forklift certification. Instead, forklift certification is both machine-specific and site-specific. The employer is responsible for certifying that each forklift operator is trained on the exact machine they use at their daily workplace.
A forklift certification meme plays on the notion that once someone becomes forklift certified, they become somewhat superhuman. These memes often indicate that being certified to operate a forklift implies that someone is now hyperbolically experienced.
Forklift driver meme
Forklift operator memes differ from the forklift certified meme by featuring an image of a forklift in an awkward or impossible position. Some forklift operator memes play on forklifts getting stuck or tangled in unusual situations and the ingenuity and problem-solving abilities of operators, while others boast of the all-around awesomeness of being a forklift driver.
Forklift safety awareness meme
Forklift safety awareness memes serve as a (sometimes not-so-) gentle reminder of proper safety protocols. By infusing humor into safety messages, these memes help remind forklift operators to remain vigilant, follow safety guidelines and prioritize their and others’ well-being while operating forklifts. They also help to reinforce the repercussions when drivers act without enough care and caution. By using humor to convey serious messages, these forklift memes help highlight safe forklift practices.
Celebrity and pop culture forklift memes
Forklift memes frequently venture into the realm of celebrity and pop culture references. These memes feature images of pop culture figures or iconic movie scenes modified to include or reference forklifts. Some examples include:
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (So many SpongeBob SquarePants memes.)
It’s important to remember that forklift memes are created to be humorous and often rely on exaggeration or absurdity for comedic effect. While these memes may not accurately represent the seriousness of forklift certification in a real-world occupational setting, they allow the internet to revel (and chuckle) at the awesomeness of the average forklift operator.
At Texas Motive Solutions, we love a good laugh, but we also know that workplace safety and keeping your fleet up and running is no joke. That’s why we offer our complimentary forklift fleet performance analysis. For all your forklift repair and maintenance needs, give us a call at (888) 316-2459, or you can fill out this form to learn about our services and discover everything we can do for you.
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