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‘The floor is’ lava, and it’s also a meme

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Here’s a good meme to start your day with: it’s the “the floor is [fill in the blank]” meme, which is a spinoff of the very imaginative childhood game every person on Earth individually came up with, the “the floor is lava game.”

According to Know Your Meme, “the floor is” originated with this April 2016 tweet:

The photos in this tweet are the most commonly used, with some Photoshop variations. But the meme didn’t really take off until the addition of other images last week. This is the first one I saw, and it seems to have spread the farthest:

Here are some more good ones.

Do you get the joke yet? The floor can be anything. If you like the thing that’s on the floor, you dive toward it, or in the case of this kind of gross example, you whack the floor with your pelvis. If you don’t like the thing, or you think the thing is impossible, you stay as far away from the floor as possible! The joke is limited only by the number of nouns in the universe, and by how long it takes us to get bored with it.

According to our pals over at the MemeEconomy subreddit, there’s still time to enjoy this meme before it’s ruined by the mainstream media. (I’m sorry!) In their words: “‘The floor is’ memes on the rise! BUY! BUY! BUY!” So if you’ve got a good idea for “the floor is,” maybe do it now before the moment passes.

Anyway, you get it. But before you run off to scale a wall and go viral, I’d like you to hear me out as I apologize to former One Direction member Liam Payne — not for referring to the video for his debut solo song “Strip That Down” as “four Old Navy commercials from 2007 smashed together,” but for making fun of an Instagram video that he captioned “the floor is lava” last week.

The video still doesn’t make any sense, but at least now I know he was trying to participate in a viral internet trend, likely at the behest of whoever’s in charge of his weird career these days. He’s a dad now, and I can’t really expect him to execute memes perfectly.

To clarify: “The floor is” meme is different than the #TheFloorIsLavaChallenge, which started on YouTube and isn’t that funny to me. YouTubers who encourage their young viewers to do elaborate pranks that require athleticism and rule-breaking worry me a lot. And, as a new father, I think Liam would feel the same.