If you’re a regular reader of the Tough Pigs forum, you probably already know what SIRE is. We’ve been using the acronym for years now, but I just realized we’ve never bothered to explain it here on the site. In this day and age, SIRE happens to millions of people every day, and it’s my dream that someday everyone on the entire internet will know what it means and how to use it.

In this golden era of online video, with everything ever made getting posted on YouTube, it’s a common occurrence for an adult-type person to see something he or she hasn’t seen or thought about since childhood, like a Saturday morning cartoon theme song, or a toothpaste commercial, or a scene from an old Nickelodeon show. Or maybe a song from The Muppet Show, or an animated segment from Sesame Street, or a PSA starring Kermit. It hasn’t crossed your mind since you were seven years old, but then you see it again, and boom! A file cabinet in your brain bursts open, and immediately you recollect very specific details that you didn’t know you knew. You know how the chorus to the song goes, you know how the cartoon ends, you know Kermit’s punchline. This feeling is often accompanied by an exclamation of “OH MY GOSH, I REMEMBER THAT!


Shouldn’t there be a name for this… this thing that happens? I mean a name other than “Oh-my-gosh-I-remember-that,” which isn’t very graceful. A while back on our forum, Tough Pig Scott suggested the need for a simple, catchy label for this phenomenon, so I coughed up an acronym: SIRE. It stands for “Sudden Instant Recall Effect,” which I believe accurately describes this commonly occurring moment of “a-ha!”

We use SIRE a lot on the forum. It probably occurs most often when viewing old Sesame Street clips, like the oodles of great bits on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel and the Sesame Video Player website. Kermit and Cookie Monster’s Mystery Box? Whoa, I remember that! Total SIRE! Alphabet Chat? Oh yeah, you know that’s some SIRE.


SIRE is a flexible term — You can say “I just contracted an acute case of SIRE!” or “Boy, that video just fed me a bowlful of SIRE!” or even “I just got SIREd right in the face!” It doesn’t even have to refer exclusively to video. On the forum, we’ve had instances of SIRE caused by posters, toys, and even bed sheets. It’s even possible to get SIRE while reading a book… I’m sure somebody, somewhere has gotten a taste of SIRE from revisiting the likes of Grover, Messenger of Love or Don’t Forget the Oatmeal.

If you’re going to use it, though, be aware that it’s only for those “I-didn’t-know-I-knew-that” moments. SIRE is not applicable to watching a video of Cookie Monster singing “C Is for Cookie” or Kermit riding a bicycle in The Muppet Movie, because those are moments you never forgot about. Just keep that in mind, because it is imperative to the continued existence of the universe that you use this silly, completely nerd-based term correctly.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is SIRE. It’s a pretty useful acronym, and already many Tough Pigs regulars have gotten their friends and loved ones to add it to their own personal lexicons. So I encourage everyone reading this to use it whenever the occasion presents itself. If every Muppet fan uses it, I truly believe it can really take the internet — nay, the world! — by storm.


And if you’ve recently experienced Sudden Instant Recall Effect, drop by the Tough Pigs forum and let us know about it!

by Ryan Roe —

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