I am not the sharpest knife in the old drawer but I consider myself a pretty smart guy. That said there is always room to learn new things. Well, is that really true? As I have gotten older I notice it is harder to learn things. I guess it’s the “old dog, new tricks” saying come true. It would be a blessing to be as smart or more to the point willing to learn as it was years ago. Time and age have dulled my mind a bit. I pretty much stopped learning important things and now I seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of useless crap. It makes me pretty good at Jeopardy and trivia games but it’s useless in real life. So with that in mind, I present my list of “5 Things I Would Sacrifice For More Knowledge”.
1) Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right B, A, A, B, Start…or the infamous Konami code: It’s not like I know a shit-ton of video game codes but the few I know, such as the Konami code or “Justin Bailey” for Metroid would be easily sacrificed. I think if I got rid of them I could memorize math formulas, maybe the Pythagorean theorem (ok, I know that one) or some bullshit like that. I probably use the video game codes more frequently than math however it would have saved me some time retaking Algebra in college.
I’ve had this gigantic mental block when it comes to mathematics from the time long division was introduced. Eventually with some tutoring I was able to grasp the concept. However when Pre-Algebra came into my life it was all downhill from there. As soon as numbers and letters were in the same question it was like cats and dogs happily playing together. I had no clue what to do, who put their Math in my English, who put their English in my Math? Being so terrible at Algebra and Geometry kept me out of the top 15% in High School and I eventually had to plead diminished capacity to get by in College. I can’t remember what the hell to do with fractions but I know how to get 30 Lives in Contra.
2) Actor’s Filmographies / Movie Quotes: I can tell quote you almost all of Kevin Spacey’s lines in “The Usual Suspects” but I don’t think I could quote a single line of poetry. This has a little to do with my lack of interest in poetry. I despise poetry. In High School I got into an argument about the meaning of a tree in a Robert Frost poem. My teacher said it absolutely positively represented life. In my mind it represented death, so I wrote my paper surrounding that theory. I failed miserably. I said it was open to interpretation and that the grade was unfair. He said the meaning was absolute. I countered with the assertion that Robert Frost never said that. He said it was common knowledge, I disagreed. It became heated and I was thrown out of class. So poetry sucks, why don’t the authors just say what they mean instead of couching it in shadowy language and symbolism? When I say poetry sucks I mean just that. Let’s try it their way, “The flowery tree dripped it’s loathsome sap on the mossy underbrush”. That means, “Go Yankees!!!”.
Anyway, I feel unrefined at times. I can’t quote poetry or expound on lofty subjects like philosophy or religion. I have a good understanding of those subjects but I don’t remember what Jung, Hobbes or Hume thought. I can’t remember what Descartes’ theory was. I was raised Catholic but can’t name the 12 Apostles. Hey it’s not a total loss, I do know that Zooey Deschanel was in “Yes, Man”.
As I’ve gotten older my interests in theology have grown but more out of spite than genuine curiosity. I’ve become one of those cranky guys who gets so sick of being hit with scripture than I counter with science. It’s like a never ending game of Pokemon. They come with a Jesus jab, I hit ’em with a evolution hook. My knowledge is more like a defense mechanism at this point. Honestly I do enjoy History and I know I can obviously learn new things but my memory of specifics dates, geographies and names is horrendous.
I can’t say that my movie-related memory is all bad. Every weeknight I watch Jeopardy with my wife (like we’re an 80 year old couple) and I can honestly say I might be able to win on the actual show. Every so often I’ll pull so random answer out of the back of my brain and my wife will ask how I knew the answer. My reply is usually “Oh, I know that from ‘Braveheart'” or something along those lines. At a certain point I stopped learning from classes and started learning from Hollywood.
3) Sports Stats: I can tell you who played 2nd base for the Yankees in the mid-80’s. Steve Sax, ever heard of him? You shouldn’t, he stunk. Why do I remember him? Because I am an idiot. Instead of knowing important things or remembering what I was supposed to get from the store without writing it down, I know this shit. It’s not just the Yankees, any team I have an interest in I tend to commit the rosters to memory. This has also begun happening with MMA fighters. Once I see a fighter I can recite their styles and important fights. It makes me knowledgeable but also kind of annoying when it comes to watching fights. I don’t know the line between a quick opinion summary and an announcer-like monologue. Too bad I don’t know actual Statistics, might have come in handy.
4) Comic Book Stories: This does come in handy after you’ve just watched a comic book movie and someone asks if it was “like the comic”. However in my experience I have noticed people just want a “yes or no” answer. If they really want to know more they will ask specific questions. The last thing they are looking for is a complete biography of a character including it’s differences from the print, animated and film versions. I guess this has to do with the dulling of my social skills as well.
5) Memories of no value: Do you remember when you bought the Lost Boyz first album? No, well I do. It was at lunch in my senior year of high school. Nothing more interesting than that, no alien abduction on the way. I just went there with my friends and picked up the album and went to Chemistry. See why I would gladly sacrifice that memory? It doesn’t contribute to anything, it just takes up a couple MB of memory in my head. So what would I replace this with? How about the memory of what the hell I was supposed to do today? Hmm, was I supposed to clean something, pick up something from the store, shit I can’t remember.
I can remember who I saw “Lake Placid” with and where. That’s helpful right? I have a plastic bag with well over a hundred movie stubs in it. I would bet I could pull out every ticket in that bag and say who went with me and what theatre we went to. It is more impressive (lame) when you consider the bag dates back to 1999 and I have lived in Miami, Las Vegas and California since then.
All of these things I would gladly sacrifice to have a greater amount of relevant knowledge. It might have even helped me remember that today was my deadline for writing a column. I could have remembered to write something better than this. Oh well, I forgot. Anyone need to know how the “Ghost Rider” movie differs from the comic book?