Friday, May 25, 2007

earworm memories

recently. a friend of mine who i have known for a few years posted in her blog a link to youtube and she posted the video for the song "hey man, nice shot" by the group filter. the song is about a guy, bud dwyer, a state official in pennsylvania who was accused of taking kickbacks and a bribe. he had a sham trial and was convicted. he called a news conference, protested his innocence and then pulled out a .357 magnum from a manila envelope and pulled the trigger, on live tv. if you want to see the footage, you can find it. i just did. it didn't take too long nor was it too hard, but i'm not going to post any links to it here.

this happened in 1987, i was 13. i was home from school that day because of a snowstorm, until the other day i would of sworn it was in the summer. i remembered being home when it happened, so i figured it was summer time. i didn't see the original broadcast. it had happened just before the noon news. that's how i know i was home that day, i turned on the noontime news to the footage. it had been edited to the point of the gun coming out of the envelope, the actual trigger-pulling was edited out, and the aftermath was shown. it was one of those experiences that really shook me. its one of those blazed in the mind type things.

when the song "hey man, nice shot" came out, i think i was in college, i got into it. i thought it was a great song. i like it to this day. matter of fact, since she posted the video i've been humming the song and singing the chorus. it has become an "ear-worm" as they say. but i still feel really kind of weird about the whole thing. somewhere, in the deep dark recesses of my mind, that dark place that even kdawg doesn't go to, that memory of a 13 year old boy is stirred and that same sensation of dread and fear lurks, just in the background kind of like a malvent searchlight.

i'm not writing this because i'm mad or upset. i'm writing this because i'm a bit surprised at the power of tonal memory. how that song takes me to memories that are still very real. there are a couple other songs that do that to me, too: "zombie," by the cranberries and "looser," by beck. both of those songs take me back to very vivid good memories from college.

i have heard it said that it is good to attach memories to scent. i use colors. when i was studying hebrew i would right out little flash cards in different color ink. if i remember correctly *chuckle* the verbs were green, the nouns red, and the other stuff black. when i read the text i would visualize the colors of the words and that helped me figure out which part of speech it was and the meaning.

the brain is a funny organ. memory is something that i'm fascinated by. particularly how memory changes over time. for example the bud dwyer thing: i was convinced it was summer time, but it wasn't. i had fixed the memory by assuming it was summer because i was home from school when i shouldn't of been: middle of the week= summer. and its equally fasciinating to me that one song can turn on a memory just like that.

what a fascinating machine we are.


thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I'm fascinated by memory, too.

I didn't pull up the Dwyer video. I have no desire to, though I'm fascinated by the story (and, obviously, the song).

loofrin said...

You know what's funny, the other day when I was working out that song came on over the soundsystem. I was listening to my iPod, but I could hear the song anyway, it was a rather weird experience.