reid champagne glasses


February 22, 2021

© Lovisa Photo 2020

   The other night we were watching the Stanley Tucci series Searching For Italy. In this one, he was looking for Florence. When Tucci started talking about the bread there, I casually mentioned to Carol that Florentines bake their bread without salt, the result of a medieval-era trade war with Pisa, which traded salt. A minute or so later, Carol heard Tucci explaining the same thing. I looked over at Carol, who now had an expression on her face as if the Mars rover Perseverance had just bumped into her foot.

   I read a lot, mostly nonfiction. About 99.999 percent of it goes in one eye and out the other. My retention rate is so minuscule that I’ll have to look up a term that was explained a couple of pages before, and suddenly realize that everything in between seems new, like I hadn’t read it yet. That’s because my mind is like snow on the plains (…it drifts).

   I read a lot, mostly nonfiction. About 99.999 percent of it goes in one eye and out the other.

   But just like those drifts on the plains, that .001 percent of things I read and retain have accumulated over a lifetime into a vast store of useless and pointless “knowledge,” the kind of knowledge that if I actually went to parties, I’d be the most annoying person in the room.

   Also, none of that .001 of retained knowledge has resulted in making money, discovering something previously unknown or helped in any way toward mankind’s progress. All that accumulated knowledge just sits there in my head like a closet filled with useless junk that sometimes just spills out into the room owned by a hoarder.

   Take that bit about the bread in Florence not having salt. I was blissfully unaware of that fact the whole time both Carolyn and then Carol and I stayed in Florence. It’s a total of well over a week, and every day, I devoured the bread they served us, as I do in any Italian restaurant. I never noticed it didn’t have salt in it. (The good news is, knowing how I retain things, I will probably have forgotten all about salt and the bread by the time we go to Florence again, and I’ll enjoy the bread as I always have, oblivious to how bland and tasteless it is.)

   The sad fact, though, is that I have a good portion of that ominous .001 retained knowledge flat out wrong. The only saving grace is that what I remember wrongly is so obscure and pointless that Carol never has the chance to call me out on it. She actually is convinced I’m smart. But if a lot of what you remember is wrong, it actually makes you…

   My daughter (in addition to the other nickname she has for me) calls me “Johnny Two Times” for all the things I’ve told her (thinking it for the first time) that I’d already told her before.

   My ongoing fear is that I’ll write something here in the blog that I’ve written before. It occurs to me that some of you may know that has already happened. Just be aware that, if so, I’ve probably got as much as half of it wrong.

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