Sunday, August 26, 2007

I can only remember 3 new things a year.

I hope I can say this without sounding like an idiot, but, the majority that I know it, learned from the furious department.
(Sorry. I was playing the Babel Fish game where you translate something over and over into different languages then back to English to see if you get something funny. Or in this case, not remotely funny.)

What that means is, most of what I know I learned from Mad magazine. (Yeah, it sounds worse this way.) But this is what I'm doing today: translated English appears in quotes and original English in parentheses. "Division with it" (Deal with it).

After I read that Beloit college thingy where they list idiotic facts about college students so the faculty can understand their "mindset," I started to wonder about my mindset, and I remembered that one of my most important cultural references when I was young was Mad magazine.

It's funny that Mad (MAD) was considered a kid's magazine, but it dealt with (when I read it, don't know about now) politics and culture. If it really had been for kids, each issue would just have the banner: Now with MORE boogers and farts, and the issues would have flown off the shelves. (Funny, but Babel Fish has no words in French, German or Spanish for boogers. Isn't English the best!)

My dad used to come back from the "market of chips" (flea market) with a bag full of ancient Mads. And I would read parodies of 1960's advertising and television shows and Eisenhower and Nixon and hippy jokes and movies I wasn't old enough to see like "An orange of the mechanism" (A Clockwork Orange).
And so I had some understanding of stuff that was important to people 25 years older than me.
And I think most kids are the same way.

For example, your parents grew up with Dark Shadows and you grew up with Buffy:

Martha: (walking in on her step-daughter, Chloe, watching Buffy, the Vampire Slayer)
I remember how that Barnabas used to terrify me when I was a girl.

Chloe: F**k off, Fartha.

My bonding with my father mirrored that tender scene.

But I still have a lot of that useless information I got from Mad taking up valuable real estate in my brain.
Is it better to replace my memories of "The Demonstration Of The Gongo" (The Gong Show) with new ones from America's Got Talent? Should I trade The Beatles for Fall Out Boy?

No. So I know nothing about AGT or FOB. I really don't have room for it all.

I have to fall back on one of those immutable truths: reality is agreement.

We can both look at the same wooden chair, but we can have different thoughts about it:
That chair is for sitting.
That chair is for dancing.
Those legs can be made into four stakes for killing vampires.

In the appropriate situation, all three are true.
But I don't have room in my brain to remember all three. So I remember the most important:

  • "the legs of the chair can be made in four piles as regards vampiros massacre,"
  • "as for the foot of the chair to vampiros holocaust something which relates can make with 4 these sticks,"
  • (chair legs can be made into four stakes for killing vampires).

And that explains why if you come to my house, you have to sit on the floor.