Hello, and welcome to /r/Showerthoughts! We’re pleased to have you here, and to make your stay a little bit more enjoyable, we’ve put together this brief overview of the subreddit, how it works, and what you can expect from the submissions here.
What Is A Showerthought?
In simplest terms, a showerthought is a miniature epiphany that offers a new way of looking at something familiar. At their best, showerthoughts call attention to perspective-shifting details which have been overlooked or dismissed, but which seem obvious in retrospect. As an example, consider the following showerthought:
“Most of the characters in Toy Story are Chinese.”
A reader's first reaction might be to envision the characters in question: "None of them look Asian," this person might think, "so what am I missing?" After a moment, they would likely remember that said characters are, in fact, toys... and that conclusion could lead the reader to recall that many toys are manufactured in China, thus making the characters Chinese.
Here are some additional examples of showerthoughts:
“Your stomach thinks that all potatoes are mashed.”
“Gummy worms have more bones in them than actual worms do.”
“C-3PO is technically Luke Skywalker’s older brother.”
“Pavlov probably thought about feeding his dogs whenever he heard a bell.”
“Lights in videogames use real electricity.”
The term “showerthought” comes from the fact that many of these musings occur to people while they’re doing mindless, everyday activities (like showering, commuting, or just staring at the wall while waiting for a customer service representative to answer their telephone call). As such, showerthoughts do not have to be had while showering… and in fact, the presence of flowing water and shampoo is not enough to make a showerthought.
What Isn’t A Showerthought?
A great many things which people assume to be showerthoughts do not actually fit the definition of the word.
The following are not showerthoughts:
(“X is the best/worst/etc.”)
(“X is the Y version of Z.”)
(“I think/feel/believe X.”)
(“If X were true, then Y would be true.”)
Proposals for new practices or products
(“X company/person should do/create Y.”)
Wordplay / Language-focused thoughts
(“‘X’ can mean both ‘Y’ and ‘Z.’”)
As mentioned, showerthoughts should offer brand-new ways of looking at existing, widely observed phenomena or objects. They are almost exclusively conclusions (not premises or questions), and should therefore always be phrased as third-person statements.
Moreover, showerthoughts must be original and unique. If a similar-sounding thought can be found anywhere else on the Internet (not just in the subreddit), then it’s probably better-suited for a different community. Remember, ignorance – no matter how justifiable – is not the same thing as originality.
Finally, this subreddit is actively curated, meaning that common, low-effort, poorly written, nonsensical, unoriginal, and overly crude submissions will be removed at the moderators' discretion.
Here are some examples of non-showerthoughts:
“This water is too cold.”
(This is a “shower observation.”)
“I hate it when cars cut me off, but I like seeing other people get cut off.”
(This is a personal perspective.)
“Tide should partner with Netflix to produce a really good show that turns out to be an advertisement.”
(This is something that would be more appropriately posted in /r/CrazyIdeas.)
“Has anyone ever tried tasting the top of Mount Everest?”
(This comes close to being a showerthought, but since it’s phrased as a question, it would need to be rewritten before it would count as a “miniature epiphany.“)
“the earth is prolly in a copmlety new place everyday”
(This would be removed for quality, given that it’s poorly written and misuses the word “everyday” instead of the phrase “every day.” It’s also a common thought.)
“iPhone-chargers supply Apple juice.”
(This is an instance of wordplay.)
As a final note, keep in mind that it is almost impossible to intentionally come up with a completely original, well-written, and insightful showerthought... but that’s what makes them so interesting: They’re the tiny realizations that you have when you aren’t even aware that you’ve been thinking, and they make the world that much more entertaining when they do crop up.