Su Lum: Slumming
June 5, 2012
I’ll be going along, minding my own business, when suddenly I’ll think, “There was a crooked man.” I know it’s an old nursery rhyme and that it involves a stile. I remember that a stile is like a little bridge that goes over fences.
Start over. “There was a crooked man” – then something that rhymes with “stile,” oh yes, “who walked a crooked mile, and found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile”! Now I’m cooking. Actually I’m folding laundry, but my brain is cooking, pulling this rhyme out of the bowels of my brain, down there among the dusty bins of Latin I (“hic, haec, hock”) and the score of “Für Elise.”
“He bought a crooked dog. … ” No, that’s not right. “He bought a crooked cat, who caught a crooked mouse, and they all lived together in a little crooked house.” Yes! Whew. I don’t have to make an incident out of it by turning to Google, but thank God for Google, which can burp up old doggerel or song lyrics with just a few hints in the subject line.
If you’re part of the degeneration generation, Google can be a lifesaver. Most of us can recall “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, a peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked,” but who can remember the next lines? Type in “Peter Piper,” and you’ll get the whole thing.
For inquiring minds, the last part is, “If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?” Kind of a letdown, but not nearly so much as it would have been if you’d taken the time to go to the library and, with luck, look it up as we had to do in the olden days.
Time is flying by so fast now that you can’t waste half a day on Peter Piper, but if you don’t get the answer, it will gnaw at you. Out, out, damned Peter Piper, but he won’t go away. Peter Piper will pop up in your dreams, day and night, until he is put to rest.
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Completely and inexplicably out of the blue, I found myself humming a tune that I finally identified as “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.” Where the hell did that come from? And then I couldn’t get it out of my head until I Googled the lyrics, at which point it disappeared, swept from the mental static as if by a magic broom.
Who would have thought technology would have such a side benefit?
I watch a movie, and I know I’ve seen that actress or actor in something very recently, but I can’t for the life of me remember what or where. Google the movie, click on the cast, click on the actor, and bam, it shows every other movie that person has been in.
I’ll be first in line to buy the app that will let me identify names and faces. I know that lady who said hello to me at Carl’s, but who was she? Or I might be positive that she was an advertiser from the past who preferred the Souvenir typeface and had a dog named Romeo, but what is her name?
I’ve learned the hard way that the more you try to fake recognition, the deeper the hole you might find yourself in. The senior world is waiting, Google.
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