"Did you know he's 6'5"...supposedly the tallest actor to star in a leading role...and was born in 1922?" "He tries to use a different accent in each of his films." "Oh...she died at age 26, of renal failure, in 1937...the same year the Golden Gate Bridge was opened for traffic...in fact nearly a week apart." What do these things have in common? They are all things that I blurt out for no apparent reason whilst I'm watching a film, talking on the phone, or otherwise engaged in some form of conversation in which I somehow conveniently manage to work them into...yes, I am essentially the bar know-it-all, the Cliff Clavin if you will...of nearly useless information gathered from years of watching films and years of reading the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)...years of watching The History Channel, and years of other things I must have done because it's in there...in my head...for some reason. Sometimes I don't know how it got in there to start with...believe it or not...it baffles even me.
I think it has something to do with being the youngest child of the family. I have a couple much older siblings...who were teenagers by the time I came along. My mother always said that I actually did 'The Twist' before I could stand up unaided...pulling myself up in my crib while watching my brother's and sister's friends 'cut a rug'...literally...I was also told of the many rugs that 'Twisting' wore holes into. So...this unconscious listening to late 50's/early 60's records in my very early youth must have somehow gotten in and stayed there. Sometimes, very late at night, coming back from a trip to Atlanta, I'll put the radio on "auto-scan" and the oldie station will come in and I'll listen. Not "oldies" as in Zeppelin, kids...this is "oldies" as in what oldies actually were when I listened to Zeppelin...yes, I'm afraid to say it's "them oldies". But I know every word practically. How can I know every single word? I never listened to these when I grew up. I grew up, because I also had a sister five years older than me (by this time my brother and sister were out of the picture, i.e., out of the house) listening to secret messages of "Paul is dead" on Beatles records. Yes, I strung my fair share of beads. This was the 60's...I also know the words to all of Donovan's songs, too. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing...I just know they're in there...somewhere...stored in there with Freddy Cannon's "Palisades Park"...and "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. The fact I also knew this without the aid of "Googling" is even more disturbing to me the more I think of it.
Being the youngest child of the family...you have to grow up faster to gain acceptance I think...and to do this, you have to be able to relate to those around you who are older...therefore you are subjected to things much earlier in life than had you been the first born. So, the youngest child's tiny little infant brain has to make hardwire connections that it normally wouldn't do...and I think that helps in the long run with memorization of things you never realized you had memorized from such an early age. This also helps you remember things without much effort...or perhaps you just have to listen much more intently being the younger child as no one is going to repeat it...to "the baby". Oh, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it...at least it sounds plausible as to how all these songs ended up my in head and stayed there.
Unfortunately, for me, my siblings were not rocket scientists and literary scholars...as, frankly, I'd much rather be able to rattle off complex mathematical equations, Quantum physics principles and quote Keats and Thoreau...more thoroughly than I can remember the fact that Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926 and died in 1962...as the last two numbers are transposed. That's about as mathematical as I get...altho I do know that Marilyn Monroe badly wanted to be in a production of Dostoyevsky's 'The Brothers Karamazov'...sadly, that's about as literary as I get as well...but she also reportedly had sex with Albert Einstein...so I've now nicely linked math, science AND literature in one fell swoop. Let's see your average physicist do THAT!
So, I will have to remain content with the realization that my entire family never wants to play Trivial Pursuit with me...that 'Jeopardy!' comes on some weird time here...if at all...and that one day, probably in the not too distant future, I will have memorized the IMDb in its entirety.
By the way, in case you were wondering, regarding my opening paragraph...in order...I'm referring to Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman and Jean Harlow. Cliff Clavin was, of course, John Ratzenberger's character he played in Cheers...which, upon not doing well trying out for the "Norm" role, supposedly turned on his way out and asked "You guys do have a bar know-it-all, don't you?" They didn't...and he ended up getting a key role he himself created. Not at all bad for an irritating trivia buff.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".