Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Randomness of Memory...

It's true confession time: my name is Larry Hoffer and I'm a bit of a savant. For some reason my brain has an excess of room for completely random trivia that has very little value in the outside world, but when it comes time to remember where I left my wallet about 10 minutes ago, or where I was headed when I left my desk, no dice.

For example, I can tell you—no lie—who was nominated for and won every Oscar for best picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director. And while this helps me run the Academy Award categories when watching Jeopardy, I rarely get asked in a job interview or by my boss how many times Johnny Depp has been nominated (3) or what won Best Picture in 1973 (The Sting).

Scarily enough, this isn't the only glut of trivia residing in my brain. I discovered via Facebook I can still name nearly everyone in every one of my elementary school classes or all of my bunkmates from the 10 summers I spent at camp. Song lyrics (lots of 'em), movie quotes, even nearly every semi-finalist from the first five or six seasons of the original Star Search. And I don't practice. Well, I will admit to reciting the Oscar nominees and winners when I'm trying to fall asleep or even when driving by myself late at night, it keeps me alert.

Who knows why? I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for the random things you retain while losing the crucial things, but I've probably forgotten it. Once you get over the sheer hilarity of this confession, I'd love it if you'd share the random stuff your mind has retained over the years. Prove to me I'm not alone in my savant-hood, please?

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