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Friday, October 2, 2009

Random Access Memory

Every time I hear Blind Mellon’s "No Rain" I am immediately taken back to my first year of college at Coastal Carolina University. It happens to me all the time. I’m driving along, skipping through radio stations and something like Blind Mellon or Hootie and the Blowfish comes up on some retro lunch hour dentist office station. Immediately, there I am, a Freshman at CCU, unpacking laundry from a Pizza Hut branded University of Pittsburgh drawstring duffel bag that I inherited from my brother. That, in turn, reminds me how I used to hate walking from the dorms down to the laundry room, which was about a half mile away. I once tried to ride my mountain bike there while carrying all my laundry and ended up wrecking in the middle of the road from being unbalanced. Then, that memory starts a domino rally of other memories like riding my bike all over campus to classes or to the Student Union to play Mortal Kombat in the small game room on campus. That throws me into a memory of being in the game room at the Student Union at the University of Pittsburgh, playing Soul Caliber. That fast forwards me into that following summer when I was working at Idlewild Park and watching people drop hundreds of quarters into the Mortal Kombat II machine while I stood there scratching at this huge gash on my leg that I got while sweeping the tracks over the trestle bridge that spans the Loyalhanna river. I missed a step from one tie to the next and fell into the open space. There is still an inch long indentation on my shin where I banged against the tie as I went through. Sweeping those tracks makes me think of Billy Joel’s "River of Dreams" song which was out about that time in my life. "River of Dreams" makes me think of the movie Dreamscape with Dennis Quaid and David Patrick Kelly. David Patrick Kelly makes me think of Jackie Earle Haley because of them using their full names which makes me think of that Nightmare on Elm Street remake that is coming out next year bringing me right back to the present day.

You ever have that happen? Somehow a sound or smell will immediately trigger a memory so vividly you feel like you are right back in that moment? Then, you shuttle around your life through a series of disconnected and unrelated images that somehow all gets tied together in one bigger string like a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon puzzler. Maybe I’m just crazy. Maybe I just had too much Lo Mein for lunch. Still, the ability for me to recall all of those mundane activities in my life is ironic in that I can’t remember what I was watching on television yesterday that featured an actress that I like. I’m recalling minute amounts of time over the last 24 years of my life in the matter of a couple of seconds but can’t remember something that happened in the last 24 hours. Is that a sign of Alzheimer’s or me just being a real dork? Don’t answer that.

Oh, and that reference to Kevin Bacon just made me think of his movie Stir of Echoes which featured a cover of The Rolling Stones "Paint It Black" which made me think of Matt Dillon because he hosted this show on Nickelodeon called "Wild Rides" which was about Roller Coasters and featured a bit with a scary looking custodian riding a coaster set to... "Paint it Black." It aired once New Year’s Eve in 1983 which makes me think of a friend who used to hang out with me on New Year’s Eve while our parents went out. That makes me think of the one time I went to a friend’s house for New Year’s Eve with my girlfriend from high school and guess what CD my friend had playing in the background…. "River of Dreams".

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