Monday, November 30, 2009

What do you Remember?

I remember a new Kodak camera for Christmas. Not me, my parents, got the new instant Kodak. It had those huge cartridges that you would put in them and most of all it had a onetime use bulb flash. I used to love looking at the used bulbs that has some crazy white substance around them like some barnacle clinging to the blackened glass. But I most remember being BLINDED by the bulb to the point where the second picture was of all of us cringing with the anticipated solar flare that was about to erupt in our corneas. "Don't blink" mom would say. Right.

But memories are kind of like that flash bulb in our minds. Depending on your age you remember when the flash bulb seared these things into your memory. You remember where you were and what you were doing when Kennedy was killed, when Reagan was shot, when the Challenger blew up and 9/11. Those events are like extreme flash bulbs searing them into your permanent memory.

On a lesser scare, a lesser wattage maybe, we also remember things that surprise us. We remember things that flash past the normal, mundane, and ordinary of life and surprise us with delight, disgust, or simple poetic humor. We remember the funny TV commercials, the daring billboards, and the extreme crimes. The thing about them that makes them funny, daring, or extreme is the light bulb that imprints it in our minds.

Other events are connected with songs to the point where EVERY TIME you hear that song you remember where you were and what you were doing when that flash bulb was lit. Songs will give pleasant memories (a love song playing during your first kiss or dance) or they will give unpleasant memories (organ music brings up stuff uncomfortable church services). I have a song that, every time I hear it, causes a nausea in me that I cannot explain or remember.

You remember those flash points embedded in the silver-nitrate of your brain. If you want to make something memorable? Surprise me, delight me, or even disgust me and I, you, we will remember it. It works in advertising, in speeches and sermons, in writing, and most of all in your daily lives. As we approach the holidays and family times I hope you pull out your Kodak and blind all your relatives with a surprise and delight that will never fade.

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