Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Musical Memories

I’ve spent the evening adding some old favorites to the computer play-list. It reminds me of times and places to hear music again. I found a cd booklet full of music I haven’t seen in some time (e.g. since we moved).

It makes me think of John and his almost photographic recall (not photographic, but the same thing for hearing) of music, artist, album, year, etc. There is a small slice of music that I thought I knew pretty well, but again and again, John can pull from his hat factoids that I couldn’t guess on a multiple answer quiz. He can be stumped, but not often.

He and I agreed that the kind of stuff we know isn’t the kind of thing that you can put on a job application, or use to further yourself in any way, but you could make a pretty good contestant on Jeopardy, or win a bar bet.

I would never want to go Mano e Mano on music or sports trivia with John, but I might be able to hold my own on the civil war, the Mongols, and some beer history. It’s strange how you acquire this kind of information. I don’t think that anyone rolls out of bed in the morning and says, ”The sun will not set until I have learned to quote Voltaire from memory, sixteen new words in Chinese, and the entire lyrics to ‘DreamWeaver’ and ‘Mr. Roboto’, or may God strike me dead!” I just don’t think people start their day with those kinds of goals. At least not until they have had some coffee.

I never actively sought to learn the lyrics of half the stuff I know. I didn’t mean to be able to quote line after line, from this or that movie. I never wanted to learn jingles for products on the radio and TV., but dog-gone it, I can hum my fair share.

It reminds me of some passage of Sherlock Holmes, where he tells Watson that it doesn’t make one bit of difference to him whether or not the Earth revolves around the sun or not. He has no room in his brain for such trivial nonsense. He compares his brain to an attic. When it’s full, there just isn’t room for anything else, and then what do you do?

I’ve tried to let the trivial pass through, and only keep what I truly thought important, but the trivial filters in just the same. But some of it is fun. Not the annoying car dealership ad that seems to run on the tip of your tongue for days, but things like naming an obscure tune, or knowing that the Mongols cured their meat by putting it between the horse and saddle, using the salt of the horse sweat.

Yea, it’s fun.

But I couldn’t win a bar bet.


1 comment:

  1. It is a VERY short list of things that I am an expert on, but I can pull off layman on lots of things.

    What are you an expert at?



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