Conversation about ‘Stranger Things’ Takes Odd Trip Down Memory Lane

Popular Netflix series has people talking — and free associating

Darren Richardson
4 min readJul 15, 2022
Screen promo for the Netflix show “Stranger Things”
If you are watching “Stranger Things,” you have plenty of company. (Original photo by author, © 2022)

Stranger Things, the popular Netflix series, has held the top spot in the streaming service’s all-important Top 10 rankings for at least a few days now, when a friend of mine began her voyage into the simultaneously nostalgic and mysterious world of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s.

But this is not a story about the details of Stranger Things so much as it is a study in how conversations that start on one topic can end up in, ahem, the strangest places.

It all went down something like this:

  1. During a phone call, a friend tells me she’s been watching Stranger Things and recently started Season Two.
  2. I tell her another friend of mine started watching the show a little while back and is also on Season Two.
  3. We talk about what a great job the actors are doing, and she specifically mentions “that guy who was in Lord of the Rings.
  4. I tell her I agree with her assessment of Sean Astin’s acting skills. He was that guy who was in Lord of the Rings.
  5. Picking up on the Lord of the Rings portion of the conversation, she mentions that she had friends who used to have some kind of aquarium creature they had named “Gollum.” She doesn’t recall exactly what it was but is pretty sure it was not a fish, at least not your typical aquarium fish. She said it hung out near the bottom of the aquarium.
  6. I suggest that maybe Gollum was an algae eater, which triggers her memory, and she says the name “Kuhli loach” has popped into her mind.
  7. I tell her I remember the name “Kuhli loach” from when my older brother had an aquarium back in the late 20th century.
  8. We take a brief detour into the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings. She says she didn’t read his stuff when she was younger, and I tell her I didn’t either.
  9. She also says she never read much of C.S. Lewis’s stuff, and I tell her I haven’t either.
  10. One of us (I can’t remember who) steers the…



Darren Richardson

Headline writer & copy editor for 15-plus years in newspapers (1990–2006) ; digital professional since 2008. Twitter: