I had one of those geek out moments with a client this week. I mentioned that I typically drink a cup of Earl Grey tea each morning. To which he responded: "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." After we stopped laughing, we had to explain Captain Picard's obsession with Earl Grey tea to some confused coworkers.
Afterwards, I had to come to the realization that a TV show that aired in 1987 effects my behavior today.
I was in middle school when the fictional Star Trek captain first ordered his beverage of choice from the replicator. At the time, we had hot tea in the house, but it was Mint or Lemon-flavored. I mostly would drink it when I was sick. But there was no Earl Grey that I remember.
Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for a long time and still runs in syndication today. I'm not sure when I started to drink Earl Grey, but it was sometime during or just after college. I'm sure I decided to buy some tea and when faced with too many options, I simply went with the option I "knew."
It makes me wonder just how many other choices I've made are directly or indirectly traced back to television and media. I know I have a slight Nike bias because I grew up in Chicago during the Michael Jordan years. But other than Earl Grey and an affinity for Nike, I can't think of any other long lasting influence that a show or movie has made on me. I'm sure there are many more but I can't piece them together right now.
That said, I really like my Earl Grey tea. And I'll happily have a cup every morning. But I'll probably never think of it the same way again.