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Legends
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Contemporary Legend

“Ok so there is this husband and wife, they decided to take a vacation and they uhh brought the wife’s mother along and they uhhh went on a camping trip on a small Volkswagon. Anyway they found the camping site and overnight, unfortunately during the night the mother in law died. So, when they woke up in the morning she was already stiff with rigamortis, so they couldn’t fit her in the Volkswagon, so they put her on top of the car and as they drove home they stopped of to get something to eat and they came back out and the car was stolen … that’s the end of the story.”

When I asked Marty what he thought the meaning, or reason for the urban legend was he said that there was no meaning. He simply thought that the story was for entertainment and that it was simply meant to be retold in a joking manner for conversations in setting like parties.

I believe that there is a reason why this urban legend is popular though. I would think that it is going to be more popular with families that are active in the outdoors. This would explain why Marty would know this urban legend. He is very active in the outdoors, and in fact has traveled to places like Ethiopia, Nepal, Tibet, and the Congo. Marty is also very active in local outdoor settings, and enjoys hiking and camping. He heard this story from a friend that he has gone camping with.

I also thought that this urban legend might be popular among newly weds. I would think that these people would be more likely to have urban legends that deal with their pestering mother’s in law. The fact is that it may even be like the dead baby jokes. There is a group that married people will belong to that have to deal with a mother in law. Most of the time people are aware of how awful a mother in law is. In popular culture a mother in law is generally thought of as being pestering and annoying. Someone that everyone kind of wants to get rid of. I believe that this urban legend is a release for some people that are stuck in this situation, and that this urban legend offers a humorous way to deal with the mother in law problem.

Also, in popular culture the western world tends to find humor in the death of people. In this case the humor is found in the fact that the newly married couple is stuck with a small Volkswagon that is packed with three people and their camping gear, and that when the mother in law passes away, that the only option to get her back to town is to strap her to the top of the car. The other humorous part of this urban legend would be the fact that when the couple goes to get something to eat, that someone steals their tiny Volkswagon, even with the mother in law strapped to the roof of the car.

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