I am a student. As a result I have a high turnover in the old noggin. The human brain is not intended to contain the amount of information grad school requires and still function normally. There are basically two options. The first is to forgo the ‘normal functionality’. Most of these poor souls delete social skills, human decency, memories of their educational experience, and exist solely to contain the knowledge it provided. In other words they become professors. For the rest of us, the second method will have to do. A large part of our brain, enough to hold four or five classes worth of information, is set aside for that purpose. At the end of the semester we move out the old stuff to make room for the new stuff. Childhood memories remain intact, our concern for our fellow man remains. The only downside is, we… really don’t learn anything. Only the stuff we really use a lot sticks around, working its way over into the mental workbench. (At least for those of us who have a mental workbench. Some people got rid of the mental workbench. They never used it and they needed the space for the mental CD Jukebox they got at the mental Sharper Image. But I digress…) Most of that stuff gets moved the heck out. I couldn’t tell you three sentences of half of the classes I have taken. However, I can tell you what the smaller mast behind the main mast of a ship is called. (I won a sandwich for knowing that.) Why? Why do we forget the important stuff and remember the useless stuff? I think I figured it out.
The big things are complex, substantial, chunky. They are hard to miss, and they take up a lot of space. So when we need room we stuff them in a box and cart them away. The trivia is just that. Trivial. Tiny. Insignificant. It is the index card or scribbled on napkin that flutters to the ground and you don’t take the time to clear out. Most of all, it is the only thing little enough to lodge in the nooks and crannies of your mind. Now that may not seem like a lot on the surface, but think about this. Have you ever a picture of the brain. IT’S ALL NOOKS AND CRANNIES! It is a big, organic Thomas’ English Muffin. The brain is designed to soak up all the smooth, buttery minutia that it can. Teeny tiny nuggets of tasty distractions floating like orange rinds in a marmalade of… Okay, the breakfast imagery is running a little thin. You get the idea. Pointless things have a way of sticking around in your brain. Which is good, because who wants a head full of pointy things?
By the way, Missen Mast. Thanks Popeye.