12 May 2008

Back in '77...When everything was so tall ...I used to watch that tv show...That I now can't recall...


I miss the days before Google where you actually had to use your brain to remember stuff. For some reason I can never remember the name of the cat in the Banana Splits, and it bugs the shit out of me cos I know I could Google it but that somehow seems like cheating. Try as I might to remember it I just can't. Not even singing the song helps: "Fleagle, Something, Drooper and Snork...La la-lah la-la-la-lah, la la-la, la-la-la-laaaaaaah!" Gggrrr! I loved the Banana Splits show when I was a kid. Danger Island was always my favourite: "Uh oh, Chaaangooo!" All those cheesy fight scenes, skimpy boat shorts and scary pirates…awesome! Plus, who doesn't love a scrappy retarded protagonist with a speech impediment? You just don't see that kind of depth in TV characters anymore. I bought a Banana Splits compliation DVD a few years ago but, like most cherished childhood memories, it didn't hold up well over time.


Oh, and I can also never remember the name of the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse for that matter: Famine, Death, Pestilence...and Annoying? Pustulent? Barry? Yes, I could easily put myself out of my misery and Google it, which I know most of you are doing right now so you can email me and be all like, "Eeewww look at me I can rely on the brain power of others to remember trivial crap and concentrate on destroying the unused parts of my own brain with sweet sweet liquour." But I refuse to take the easy way out. If you don't use your brain then eventually evolution will step in and take it off you. Look what happened to the appendix, people!


Memory is fascinating. They say that once something gets into your brain it's there forever so theoretically you should be able to remember everything you ever learned or thought or experienced. But the brain can be a stubborn and mysterious bastard so it's not always easy to recall stuff from your dim dark past, particularly when you haven't thought about it in a really long time and have been a regular binge drinker since you were weaned off the sippy cup. There's a school of thought (awesome pun not intended) that suggests if you can't remember something, the more you think about it the harder it will be to remember, so you should forget all about and it will eventually come to you. The problem is, when you're desperately trying to remember something the hardest thing to do is not think about it. But I invented a clever technique which helps me do precisely that called The Memory Guy: The Memory Guy is a little old dude in a stripey blue and white apron, half-moon glasses on a little chain around his neck, a bushy grey moe and a green-tinted visor. He works in a dusty little office down by the docks and sits in a creaky old leather chair behind a big desk with a bell like they used to have at hotel receptions. I imagine myself going up to the front desk and write what I want to remember on a slip of paper and hand it to the Memory Guy. He then takes it out the back through a door into an unbelievably fucking ginormous warehouse piled to the rafters with teetering stacks of paper upon which are written all my thoughts and experiences. He closes the door and starts searching through everything to find what I asked for. I can then forget about what I was trying to remember and go on about my business safe in the knowledge that my top man is on the case. I simply wait for the sound of the bell to signal he's returned with the info and go back to the office to sign for the package. Sometimes he comes back really quickly (What's the second verse of the Love Boat theme? "Looooove...life's sweetest reward...let it flow...it flows back to youuuuu!" Thanks, Memory Guy!), and sometimes he takes ages and ages and ages (still waiting to hear back about the name of my pre-school teacher with the hairy armpits who went away to Africa to "help the starving black people"...her words, not mine). More often than not Memory Guy shows up at, like, 3am which is a little inconvenient, but I can't complain because he always comes up with the goods and doesn't charge much, so swings and roundabouts, yeah?


There's another school of thought that says memory is finite, and when you reach the limit the only way you can learn something new is to forget something you already know. This places quite a premium on the acquisition of new memories so how do you know whether the new memory is better than the old one? And there's no way to pick what you're going to forget. What if, instead of forgetting about the time I had a "See How Long You Can Go Without Peeing" competition with my friend Lachlan (technically I won cos he cheated and went during the confusing period between end of lunch and start of class but I still ended up peeing my pants in maths class), what if I instead forget the name of the first girl I ever kissed? (Susan Neal, Susan Neal, Susan Neal, I asked her to go with me to the Year 4 social and when she said Yes I kissed her on the cheek and ran away in a delicious turgid fugue of arousal and embarrassment. Thanks, Memory Guy!) So I invented another useful technique to assess the relative worth of new knowledge before I acquire it. It's called the Caveman Test and basically what you do is you imagine yourself as a caveman and ask whether this new piece of information will assist you in gathering food, procreating, or escaping from predators (not the "If it bleeds, we can kill it" kind of predator, the "eat you for breakfast and crap out your bones" kind). If it satifies one or more of those criteria then you can go ahead and commit it to memory. If not, then you have to make a decision about whether being the go-to guy for pub quizzes is sufficient compensation for living out your life waiting to end up the meat cart in a sabre-tooth tiger buffet.

2 comments:

paul said...

dut dut dut dut dut dut. dut dut dut dut dut dut. im a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus. thats in my brain forever.

Chris... said...

You're ghostin' us, mutha fuka! I don't care who you are back in the world...you give our position away one more time, I'll bleed ya...leave ya here...