I Have A Junk Drawer In My Head

junkdrawerbeforeThis time of year a little ditty always pops into my head, “Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the birdy is” and invariably that will make me remember “Birdy Birdy in the sky, why did you do that in my eye? I’m no baby, I won’t cry, I’m sure glad that cows can’t fly.” This makes me wonder, why is all this in my head? Why do I remember childhood rhymes with total recall even after all these years.

I wonder if we can quantify how much storage we have in our minds, gigabytes? terabytes? exabytes: or some quantity not yet defined by man (or woman). Is it possible to run out of storage? Is there a way to figure out how to determine how much we have used, and how much we have left? And if we could do that, would we find out as we get older that the ratio between used and available gets smaller?

I wonder what method we use to recall the data in our heads. It cannot be alphabetical because if it were, we would never remember the name of that black and white stripped horsey looking thing we saw at the zoo. It cannot be by date or we would not be so challenged to remember what we had for lunch yesterday but can easily recall the name of the movie you saw on your first date at age 16. Sometimes our recall is lost in seconds. Have you ever walked from one room to the next with purpose and intent, only to discover upon your arrival you have no idea what you are doing there? Here is another one I can recall at a moment’s notice. “I am sending this notice to inform you that taxes have taken away all the things that I really needed, my workshop, my reindeer, my sleigh. I will be making my rounds on a donkey, who is old and crippled and slow. So if you don’t see me on Christmas, I will be out on my ass in the snow.”

This brings me to the part about the junk drawer in my head. Here is my theory. I believe we have a junk drawer in our head where we throw all the most recently accumulated memories. As you know, when ever anything is put into a junk drawer it automatically finds its way to the farest, most hidden recess of the drawer. At some point your mind indexes the information and files it according to what ever filing system we use but until that time it stays in the junk drawer. This explains why I know so many words to so may songs but I cannot remember the name of the person I was introduced to at the meeting yesterday. (Thank goodness for business cards) As I like to say, I can never remember a name, but I always forget a face.

That is all I have to say about this. I might go take a nap and clean out my junk drawer. “Here I sit, broken hearted. . . .

Never mind, I won’t go there.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

Tom Lind

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