Like most people, my brain has its unique little quirks. One rather annoying one is this inability to drop certain associations or subjective opinions (particularly ones created by media or some perceived authority at the time), or else some random commonality that connected them in my mind but doesn’t really hold any value.
For example, in the 80s, I saw Lea Thompson in Red Dawn, and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In my mind they looked somewhat similar, and then there’s the similar sound of Leigh and Lea. Since then they are forever connected in my head, I can’t see or think of one without thinking of the other. Here’s another example: as a kid I read a blurb in some magazine about Bob Seger’s new album where he was described as the hardest working man in music. At that age I had not yet heard that expression, and while I now know that it’s just a common phrase thrown around willy-nilly by marketing people, back then my brain took it as some kind of researched fact. Obviously I know better now, but I can’t hear a bob Seger song without hearing that blurb in my head.
As you can imagine, it gets tiring having to repeatedly remind myself to disconnect unrelated associations and readdress all the unwelcome “laws” and “facts” created by these impressions time and time again. They hardly ever get replaced by new info, but rather new info is added and compiled with the first. So while do I know the truth, or at least my own opinions about certain topics, I still have to hear the first opinion I subscribed to about it in my head when the topic comes to mind, and then apply the new information immediately after.
It’s tedious in my head.
But every once and a while this flawed synaptic brain fritz does something not entirely tedious.
Not long after Carrie Fisher’s death, I caught a video of her on Ellen where she was asked about her love of coca-cola. And she described how much she enjoys the cold sharp crispness of a fresh coke and how once it gets a little warm she can’t even finish it. As a long time lover of coke (and Fisher if I’m being honest), I could relate. I’m not as bad as her, I don’t open 16 cans a day and not finish them, but I have noted the pleasure of the cold sharp crispness of a freshly opened can and so her quirky anecdote resonated with me.
Now, every time I open a can of coke I think of Carrie Fisher, and it’s not unwelcome.
My mother texted me today,
I though her phone got hacked.
My mother is in her 60s, retired, and wasn’t really into comic books, or a big geek-culture fan. But she was an avid reader of classic science fiction, Bradbury, Asminov, Verne, etc.
And she loves movies.
I think my first inkling that I had a “cool mom” was in the early 80s when one evening she couldn’t get anyone to watch me while she went to her literature class at Stonybrook University and I had to come along. After class, while talking to the professor, he asked me if I’d ever read Tolkien. I hadn’t at that age, but my Mom had, “We have it at home, you’ll love it,” she said. She was right.
As kids, Mom took us to the movies for birthday parties and when Dad brought home our first VCR, we were able to watch certain movies over and over again. We wore out the tape on Top Gun, though she’d only watch until the shirtless volleyball scene was over and then moved on to housework, errands, or other responsibilities. I guess she didn’t want to keep watching Goose die.
Sure, Dad schooled us on the value of the Godfather, as any good Italian would; Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. But Mom saw the love story in King Kong, the fun in North by Northwest, and the beauty in The Princess Bride. Dad took us to Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, Mom introduced us Arsenic and Old Lace and Murder on the Orient Express.
So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I tried to call her after that text, and she texted me back,
While I was more confident that it was, in fact, my mother, I briefly wondered if she was now texting in a theater. However, I knew full well that once the movie got going, she’d be too engrossed and therefore must have done her texting during the previews. Later she texted me,
(as if her geek son needed such advice). She continued,
And I believe her. There’s no volleyball scene.