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Why I don’t speak foreign languages

I like to think I’m a smart person.

I don’t consider myself a genius or anything, but I believe I’m reasonably intelligent. I’m interested in the arts, the sciences, math, English, and history to some degree. I’m not a stupid person. But I don’t speak foreign languages. I don’t fully understand the Higgs Boson and I definitely don’t get quantum bits.

I really want to understand this stuff. I spend my downtime watching science and math videos on YouTube. I actually followed a link from a video  and tried to understand sonoluminescence.   I also want to speak foreign languages. High school Spanish taught me enough to order at Taco Bell. So, no on that one. College I decided to take Italian. I spent six weeks in Italy. I can say “Sono stato morso da un boscaiolo sul gomito.”  “I’ve been bitten by a lumberjack on the elbow.”  It’s a very useful phrase. Truly.

Nowadays I’m trying to learn Arabic using the Living Language CDs but I’ve yet to make it past lesson eight. It’s not because I’m stupid. It’s because I have stupid shit stuck in my head. I accidentally memorized useless information at some point in my life, and now precious grey matter is retaining this crap instead of learning what might be useful information if I were to become a scientist in Egypt or something. Because that might happen. You never know.

So this is a running documentation of why I don’t know foreign languages. I’ll log my experiences as they occur to me.

April 1, 2014: Driving home and I’m flipping radio stations. I’m tired of hearing the same three songs. I land on the classic rock station. Lo and behold! Vintage Def Leppard. Rock of Ages. I received the Pyromania album for Christmas in 1988 because I was totally obsessed with Def Leppard. To this day I still know all the words to “Rock of Ages.” Yep. I sang along and knew every damn word. Including when to do the evil little laugh at the end. It’s been more than 25 years since I was given that album. I stopped listening to Def Leppard in at least 1990. Why do I still know these lyrics? Better still, why do I still know these dates?

April 2, 2014: I’m not in the mood to listen to “Happy” for the billionth time today, so I set the radio to scan. Turns out I know all the lyrics to Van Halen’s Jump. Yep. Those lyrics have been festering in my grey matter for 30 years.

April 13, 2014: I’m lying in bed trying to fake being asleep because I don’t want to get up and feed the cats just yet. Guess me grabbing my phone to post is a bit of a giveaway that I’m not asleep. Justin, you’ll just have to wait.

Anyhow… Know how you get a song stuck in your head? I constantly have music running thru my brain. I have a little viral DJ that nested somewhere between my auditory cortex and my hippocampus. I always hear music. What is interesting is that it is usually the whole song. Not just a chorus or refrain. Start to finish. Then press repeat.

This morning my brain DJ is spinning “Say You’ll Be There” from the Spice Girls. To be fair, I did hear the song three days ago in dance class. Still. Full song. Repeat.

One comment on “Why I don’t speak foreign languages

  1. So I guess I shouldn’t start a little earwormfromhell of “Mah Nah Mah Nop….”

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