Thanks For No Memory
by Mad Dog
Our brains are saturated. The Information Age begat the
Overload Years, and now it’s hard to know what to hold onto and what
to send to the Recycle Bin.
||We’re not getting
dumber, we’re getting fuller. And I don’t mean our stomachs, I mean
our brains. Think about it. Once upon a time all we needed to know was
“Animal big. Me get smooshed,” “Berries pretty. Ogg no breathe,”
and “Feet hurt. Wish me have wheel.” But life isn’t that simple
anymore. Nowadays we have a lot more on our minds, from what we have to
do at work to how we’re going to find the time to do it when we’re
not at work, from what order to push the buttons on the microwave so the
chicken defrosts instead of turning to rubber to remembering which of
the 247 channels that scroll by on the Preview Guide we actually get,
because lord knows whenever a show catches our eye all we wind up seeing
is a message telling us the phone number to call to subscribe. I guess
that’s why the Preview Guide has such high ratings, higher even than
the final episode of Dancing with the American Survivor Runway Idol
It’s easy to confuse ignorance with
a full brain. A recent poll taken in England (motto: “We had the Euro
named after us, what’s been named after you?”) found that 3 out of 4
Brits think Mt. Everest is either in the Alps or in England. And that a
Sherpa is the new SUV by Ford. Okay, kidding about the Sherpa, but
that’s only because Ford didn’t think of it. While it would be easy
to blame the Brits’ lack of knowledge on an education system that’s
as good as their teeth or sausage rolls clogging their carotid arteries,
that wouldn’t be fair. The British have a lot on their minds these
days. Tony Blair is gone and they’re stuck with a prime minister
who’s duller than a powdered wig, Helen Mirren turned out to be a
better queen than the Queen, and now it looks like the much hoped for
Led Zeppelin-Spice Girls reunion tour isn’t going to happen because
Victoria wouldn’t stop telling Jimmy Page to bend the notes like
Beckham. With all that going on, who cares about Mt. Whatever-It-Is?
After all, she’s the president’s press secretary, she
has to be full of, uh, information. Lots of it. Not to mention having to
constantly figure out ways to explain what the president really meant
while at the same time trying not to forget the Santeria curse that’s
supposed to make Helen Thomas invisible.
|| Yes, our
brains are saturated. The Information Age begat the Overload Years, and
now it’s hard to know what to hold onto and what to send to the
Recycle Bin. We can remember what night and time our favorite TV shows
are on but think “54-40 or Fight” is the ad slogan for an anti-aging
cream. We can type www.facebook.com in our sleep — and often do —
but for the life of us we can’t remember how to find the calculator on
our cell phone when we need it. Heck, ET had it easier when he tried to
phone home than we do with the average cell phone today. I don’t know
about you, but if my home phone number wasn’t in Speed Dial I
wouldn’t be able to call home.
Recently, White House press secretary
Dana Perino was on the Not My Job segment of the National Public
Radio program, Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. She admitted that she
had been at a loss when asked at a press conference if Russian President
Putin thought our missile defense program was like the Cuban Missile
Crisis because she didn’t know a Cuban Missile Crisis from a Cuban
sandwich. When she got home she asked her British husband, who filled
her in, though it would be interesting to find out if he knows where Mt.
Ignorant? Uneducated? Doubtful. She
probably heard about the Cuban Missile Crisis at one time or another in
her life but that was before her head was jam packed. After all, she’s
the president’s press secretary, she has to be full of, uh,
information. Lots of it. Not to mention having to constantly figure out
ways to explain what the president really meant while at the same time
trying not to forget the Santeria curse that’s supposed to make Helen
all these helpers means I don’t need to remember any of that
information. And I don’t. Which has made me stupider than I would be
without the helpers. Honestly, I get afraid that if I put one more piece
of information in my head something important like my social security
number will fall out my ear.
often hear that we only use 10% of our brain, which could help explain
why our brains get so full so easily. Of course that means the other 90%
is filler, empty neurons designed to keep our brain from sloshing around
in our skull when we dance. But this is an urban legend. We do, in fact,
use our whole brain, which is good since the idea that 90% of our brain
is cellular bubble wrap that we can’t put on the floor and roll a
chair over is depressing.
But the brain is trapped inside our
skull, meaning it can’t get any bigger, so there’s only a finite
amount of information it can contain. This explains why we need help
remembering the simplest things. Luckily I have all my contacts synced
up to my cell phone or I wouldn’t be able to call anyone. I have
bookmarks in my browser so I can remember the sites I want to go to, a
program that automatically remembers and fills in my passwords — which
are all the same, but still — and I single-handedly keep 3M in
business with all my Post-It notes.
Having all these helpers means I
don’t need to remember any of that information. And I don’t. Which
has made me stupider than I would be without the helpers. Honestly, I
get afraid that if I put one more piece of information in my head
something important like my social security number will fall out my ear.
There was something else I was going to say just now but it slipped out
when I made a mental note to remember to buy gingko to help my memory. I
sure hope I put it in a To-Do list somewhere.
©2007 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Read them while you can still remember to do it.