In The Great Gatsby, a book assigned by many a high school English teacher, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s narrator Nick Carraway begins:
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
The advice that follows came in handy the summer Nick met up with the likes of Jay Gatsby and Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Nick closes his tale by musing about Gatsby and ends with an image:
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Yes, I am guilty. I freely admit that I watch Survivor. I enjoy watching that show but can’t necessarily explain why.
Sure, there are a few seasons I’ve missed, or missed enough episodes that the rest of it didn’t matter. But I’ve seen most of the big ones, the ones that people remember.
I watched the first episode of the new season the other night, and now they’ve added a twist that promises to bring an extra je ne sais quoi into the mix (je sais that it won’t be conducive to more admirable human relations).
Why did they have to bring back Rob and Russell (that even sounds funny, doesn’t it?)? There are plenty of other potentially nasty people in this world – why the need for repeats?
Ah, well. I’ll still watch. But at least I’ve never watched an episode of Desperate Housewives or Sex and the City.
I rest my case.
Not long ago, I happened to see actress Marilu Henner on the Early Show, where she described her ability to remember everything that happened on a particular date, from what day of the week it fell on to mundane details such as what she was wearing, what meals she had, etc. This rare phenomenon is called “superior autobiographical memory.”
As memory goes, that skill doesn’t sound very useful to me, but Henner thinks people could learn to improve their own memories using some of the same recall techniques. She was also on 60 Minutes and has an upcoming book called “An Unforgettable Life – Yours: Lessons Learned from an Autobiographical Memory.”
Where does the synchronicity come in?
Here’s what happened to me on the same day I saw that show:
That evening I watched Solo Sunny, a German movie from 1980 that I chose for no other (conscious) reason than the DVD cover caught my attention. Although it’s not a major part of the story, the main character unexpectedly describes having similar memories. (See my other blog, Films to Consider, for a review of Solo Sunny.)
Hey, I don’t remember the date or even the day of the week, but Google does!
Here’s an article about the Early Show interview with Henner.
Recently I used the word geez in an email to politely indicate that something really bugged me. To me, geez represents a combination of gee and whiz, although I can’t recall ever using those two words together, except maybe in a sarcastic manner.
Immediately afterward, I came across several instances where people used the word jeez the same way.
I don’t usually write that word at all, so of course, I looked it up. According to the Merriam Webster and American Heritage dictionaries, Geez (note the uppercase G) refers to an ancient Ethiopian language that is now only used in church liturgy.
As for my “gee whiz” substitution, jeez (thought to be a shortened way to say Jesus) appears to be the more common and accepted spelling of the word. When I feel the need to refer to the heavens for an interjection, I go directly to the top, a word which also begins with a “G.”
Therefore, I will continue to use the word geez, think of it as gee/whiz, write it with a “g” when needed, pretend that I’m using the ancient version if confronted, and wait for the rest of the world to catch on.