The One Question That Will Make You Question Everything You Think Is Normal

Or, How A-Decade-Old YouTube Video Can Teach Us All A Tough But Valuable Lesson

Emily Steele


Fellow Millennials (*maybe* some Gen Z-ers now that he’s making a comeback) will remember the circa 2010 “Marcel the Shell” YouTube video — that was popular before YouTube was YouTube — that features a tiny conch-like seashell with a glued-on googley eye and tiny plastic shoes shuffling around the floors of a house telling viewers about his irresistibly adorable, miniature life.

Despite it’s strangeness, it’s very cute and very quotable, and once you start to watch it, you sort of can’t stop because it’s just clever enough to make you wonder what else the creative team could come up with.

Somewhere in between showing viewers his “pet” piece of lint and lentil “bean bag”, Marcel interrupts his home tour and says, “Some people tell me my head is too big for my body, and I say, ‘compared to what?’

(Jump to 2:42 for this scene.)

The other day, as I was thinking about all of the evaluative descriptors we use on a daily basis to take in our world, I thought about this on-the-nose interrogative response from Marcel the Shell.

***For my friends who spaced out during grammar lessons when I spaced *way* in and started salivating over sentence diagrams and parts of speech, I’m just talking about adjectives here — words that describe.***

You know how when you’re driving around and subconsciously narrating the world around you: “Oh that’s a big house,” “Yikes, that car is messed up,” “That’s a cute shop,” or — most frequently — “God, gas is expensive.”

Photo by Samuel Foster on Unsplash

Or you’re zoning out while someone’s talking and thinking, “I’ve got so much to do later,” “Her hair looks kind of odd,” “D@mn it’s cold in here.”

All of the bolded words here are adjectives (okay actually “so” is technically an



Emily Steele

lifter of heavy things: thoughts, words, weights, burdensome beliefs