Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

In the Sarah Mac Band, on top of playing instruments, each of us have an additional strange cognitive ability that I would call a “brain talent.” Sometimes I wonder if playing and practicing music makes us exercise parts of our brain that we rarely use otherwise and enables us to retain certain knowledge better than other people.

Theory: Musicians are smarter because they are flashing all kinds of electricity into neuron synapses that are left unused in the general population at large (those who do not play musical instruments at least).

After all, it is common knowledge that humans only use about 10% of their brain. Good argument for keeping music class in schools, right?

This idea piqued my curiosity, and got me off track in my blog writing. I thought, ‘How cool to have some wonderful facts to support this and show that everyone should at least try music! Not only would the world be such a nice, more pleasant place to live, but we’d all be expanding our minds and then maybe because of music, we could reverse global warming and stop wars, and…” This list of wonderful consequences of full cognitive realization through music spiraled bigger and bigger. I had pretty much planned out how we were going to work together to save the world. And then through my research (I’m linking here to one of the articles I found),  I discovered that the idea that humans only use 10% of their brains is a myth perpetuated mainly by pop psychology and the entertainment industry…. Probably because we want you to think that musicians are smarter and keep music programs in the schools.

Scully and Mulder taught me though that you shouldn’t always believe the facts that the (cigarette smoking) Man feeds you. The truth is out there. Charlie, Claire and I are evidence… but may not be for long after the creepy psychologists who work for the government or Interpol or some big nameless corporation that secretly runs the world read this blog and come to find us. I mean, with what I’m about to reveal, who wouldn’t want to kill us and autopsy our brains? [Note to creepy corporate killers:  Seriously, you should buy a bunch of cds first so that our families aren’t left in the lurch after their money makers are gone. We’ll even cut you a deal if you buy in bulk… it could be like your company Christmas gift to all of your employees worldwide.]

This is the point where you stop me if you’re heard this before…. Mainly because I’m sure that we’ve blogged about it. Not just me, but Claire, too. We all have these weird Rain Man-isms, which I am convinced is proof of the theory that I mentioned at the beginning of today’s blog post.

Charlie, your hero and mine, can recall the lyrics to any song from a certain period in his past. I’ve yet to isolate the actual period in years, but I know that it goes back to early childhood as he can sing tons of strange little nursery rhyme songs (like all 12 verses) and then spans to somewhere around college. Once he got to college, although he was playing music, I think that he might have been a partier, so that counteracted the expansion of his brain as we know that alcohol kills brain cells. Does anyone know, “The worms go in, the worms go out, the worms play pinochle on your snout”? Ask Charlie, if you don’t. He’ll sing it all without even thinking about it. Sometimes if you’re clever, you can just casually work the first line of an old (especially a children’s) song into conversation and then he just starts singing it. It’s a cool party trick.

Claire has an even cooler talent. If you say something, she can almost immediately tell you the number of letters in the word or even phrase. She doesn’t count them in her heard, she just knows. Or maybe she counts them so superfast that she’s not actually aware that she’s doing it. Either way, it’s a cool party trick, too.

Mine is a little less cool. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure that it’s any special part of my brain that’s been awakened and primed. I think that it might just be because I’m an aural-auditory learner. So, if I hear people talking about something, it’s easy for me to remember it and pack it away with the other like facts. Then, if someone randomly says, “Guyana,” my inner Raymond (Rain Man) responds, “Jonestown, Jim Jones, People’s Temple Agricultural Project, Saturday, November 18, 1978, 918 dead, Leo Ryan, largest pre-9/11 non-natural disaster loss of American civilians in a single event.”

That’s actually a little weird. Maybe a more palatable one… This one actually comes up pretty often is when Claire and Charlie are talking about sports and one of them says, “John Stockton.” Inner Raymond responds, “Gonzaga University, Utah Jazz, Dream Team I, 1992, Barcelona, broken foot, air cast, Catholic, NBA record for most career assists.” I think that the John Stockton one is actually more impressive because everyone of a certain age knows something about Jonestown because it was weird and shocking. Not everyone knows stuff about sports. Especially me.

Since I don’t know a whole lot about sports, it was totally one of my Raymond moments when at the first Bob Night (an evening of Bob Dylan cover songs), Claire and Charlie noticed that I was laughing along with all of the rest of the audience every time the MC said something referencing the fact that Bob Knight was not in attendance.

Side Note: That’s a play on words if you’re an aural-auditory learner like me, “Night” and “Knight” are homophones, meaning that they are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings.

Claire leaned over and said, as she often says to me, “You have no idea what they’re talking about.” Inner Raymond noted the challenge and busted out with, “Bob Knight, basketball, Hoosiers, threw a chair, says bad words.” Claire immediately responded with, “50.”

And then we went onstage and played this song.

We’re playing another Bob Night (the evening of Bob Dylan cover songs, not the basketball coach) next weekend, February 4th at the American Legion Hall in Tallahassee. Go ahead and put it on your calendar. The details are soon to come. But right now, I have to go and hustle some money out of some poor unsuspecting Trivial Pursuiters.


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