So, this happened: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/storm-chips-covered-bridge-flurry-of-flavours-1.3322602
Which means I spent the day receiving message after gleeful message from people about it, followed by angry tweets from people who think I am depriving Frankie MacDonald of royalties on the Storm Chips name, followed by colleagues dropping off a bag of Storm Chips, followed by other colleagues seriously asking to take my photo holding the bag (request DENIED). #Stormchips trended briefly in Halifax, a minor blizzard broke out in the comments on the CBC story linked above and then the “story” receded again, like a snowbank in spring (she said hopefully, about both the story and the snowbanks.)
So, let’s take a moment to talk about what #stormchips is and isn’t, to me at least. First and most importantly, it’s not my intellectual property. It’s a hashtag. A thing I tapped out on my smart phone while standing in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for a bag of ripple chips and some onion dip. And then proceeded to append to the live-tweeting I did that night of the eating of said ripple chips and onion dip. It’s not a thing I’ve monetized or care to. I receive no royalties from uses of the hashtag, nor do I care to. I cannot believe we are even having this conversation, as I have infamously said before. I do not believe, nor have I ever claimed, that I invented the idea of eating chips during a storm. I think I tapped into the zeitgeist and originated a funny little hashtag that people came to love—for some still-mysterious-to-me reason. I do not have an agent, I will not be seeking endorsement opportunities, I am in no way involved with these chips or any other branded Storm Chips thing—nor will I ever, ever be. I don’t think I am the arbiter of when you should eat chips, and when you shouldn’t. I don’t think I am responsible for the ten pounds you gained last winter eating chips. I don’t think I need to be included in every online conversation about everything anyone consumes during rough weather, though I do try to make sure we have a ready supply of #stormscotch round these parts, because what’s a storm without whisky?
(Full disclosure: My mother originated the phrase “what’s a storm without doughnuts” during an interview I conducted with her some other winter, when a bad storm was headed our way but had already made its way across Ontario. I have bastardized it here for my own purposes, as I think I can make it through the storm without doughnuts, but would be seriously sad to go without the whisky.)
If Frankie MacDonald feels he has a claim on the words Storm Chips, he should most definitely take that up with the good folks at Covered Bridge. Their chips were a surprise to me. I benefit in no way from them, and in fact totally torpedoed several weeks of very healthy eating once that damn bag arrived at my desk courtesy of the newsroom today. If you have derived some pleasure from #stormchips and feel strongly that I SHOULD be getting royalties from use of the term (a feeling I don’t share, as you should know if you read this far), you might consider making a donation to Feed Nova Scotia. Or, purchase any book by any Canadian writer, and drop me a line in the comments to let me know you did so. I’d love to hear what book you chose and why.
Here’s hoping for a curiously storm-free winter!