Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Total recall. Not.

There is some information that I’m weirdly wired to remember forever.  Obscure information that will probably never serve me well, such as medications to treat several types of ventricular tachycardia like amioderone, propafenone, etc. (I am not a doctor nor have I ever played one on TV); how and why Henirich Heine coined the term Lisztmania long before the Beatles came along; and how the magical author/illustrator Tasha Tudor believed that Corgis were enchanted (“You need only to see them in the moonlight to believe this.”).  Apparently, if the information is medical, musical or mystical it sticks.

In one incredibly bizarre file in my brain, are the strange-but-true food facts.  Like how Richard Nixon ate his cottage cheese with ketchup (which as a child I totally agreed with); that halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert made with beans and sugar (which as an adult I don’t totally understand); and how there came a time in American history where families began to shed many of their cultural family foods (oxtail Soup, aspic, succotash, headcheese) for pre-made advertised food from brands like Franco-American, Campbell, Armour and Pillsbury which helped to create a nation of fussy eaters (not me, friend.  I will smile and gladly try your grandmother’s Toad in the Hole fresh out of the oven and a side of her homemade Picallili, too).

It’s sort of sad, I suppose, that my head full of useless facts does nothing more than make me a pretty entertaining cocktail party or fundraiser dinner guest.  Yup, I can pretty much guarn-darn-tee you, you will never be bored in my company.  I will dig around in the cobwebbed recesses of my mental attic until I find something to pull out of there that will captivate you until your dance card requires you to move on.

Just don’t try to have me lug anything out of the archives that might have to do with dates, statistics or census facts. My memory for weird, yet fascinating information (seriously, it is a bit Ripley’s Believe it or Not, between my ears) does not translate to numbers.  I am cursed with the inability to recall anything with digits.  No phone numbers, great dates in history, my children’s birth weights or what room number John Cusack stayed in, in the one horror movie I found entertaining.  Nope.  Numerical information goes in and, not unlike an integer Roach Motel, those babies never check out.

But, even words aren’t completely safe in my memory banks.  Over the years, as a sometimes musician/actor I’ve had to memorize lines, blocking, choreography, lyrics, melodies &/or harmonies – but I’m sorry to say that the minute the last performance or recording is over… I’ve forgotten it all on the drive home.  Never to be recalled again.  I even co-wrote a musical in my early 20’s and while I can tell you the names of my collaborators and a few lines from the songs I composed, I cannot tell you the title of the show to save my life (or collect royalty checks, if there are any – not that the figures would make any difference to me).

Oh, how I wish I had the memory abilities of a cellphone or computer.  I am a bit computer-like only in that I have access to fast, temporary forms of data and that I have ROM/Read Only Memory, which means I can look at my analog datebook and say, “Oh, yeah!  I have XY & Z to attend to” or “There’s that thing I did the day before yesterday!  I remember NOW.”

Unlike a computer, I apparently have no reliable device or large storage capacity to store permanent memories and our RAM/Random Access Memory capabilities are totally different, as I can only randomly access some memories, or not at all.  When I ask, the cute lil’ computer wizard behind the information counter at my local electronics store informs me that modern CPUs run at speeds of about two gigahertz and can consume massive amounts of data.  Mr. Geek God chuckles when I tell him my brain is less megahertz and more mega-hurts when it comes to memorizing anything.

The other night, I listened to a really sweet song on the radio called You Want to Make a Memory and while my heart turned to goo and sap at the romance of it all, my brain had some trouble with it. Because, I’m at a point in my life where I really wanted to yell back, “Yes, Jon.  Mr. Bon Jovi, I’d really like to make some memories.  I even have some pretty specific scenarios in mind.  But, if you have any tricks up your sleeve on retaining the information and any numeric recall of those instances, I’m all ears.”

They say losing your memory is a sign of old age.  I guess wanting to increase the storage capacity and data access of the memory you already have is a sure sign of middle-age.  Well, maybe that and having your radio’s memory set to Classic Rock.  No matter.  I still rock.  Because when Computer Boy Wonder asks for my number, I blush and tell him I can’t.  He thinks I’m being coy.  Well we all know… I’m not.

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