Stimulus: Response. Share with me.
Remember when, for a few years in the 1980's, music videos actually would, with some regularity, tell you a story?
No, I never had MTV.
But I saw a few videos back then, which were the years of my teens. I remember enjoying most the ones that at no point showed the musician singing, or did so only in the far background. Oh, the "Money For Nothing" video with Dire Straits shown on one of the background televisions was okay, I suppose. (though that video didn't tell a story-- it just set a mood.)
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I am a big one for associating senses with occasions.
Strangely, I recall the lead-in riff from that "Money For Nothing" song best as playing in the background while my best friend Scott and I threw clay birds for each other in the August, getting our shotgunning eye ready for dove season.
The sight of an unearthly-orange cheese doodle receding to a tiny dot as it fell away from me as my girlfriend and I leaned over the rail of the Rio Grande gorge bridge west of Taos in 1992 is one image/memory my wife brought up to me the other day. (I married that girl.)
The smell of the rain up the valley hitting the desert creosote on a hot summer day brings back Alamogordo, NM, 1988.
The sulforous smell of a flare that I pop for traffic direction briefly pops flashes into my head the memories of:
--sitting on the front lawn with my dad and a large brown bag of firecrackers on an Independence Day in the mid-to-late '70s.
--another Boy Scout pounding my back in congratulations as I ejected the case from the little Stevens single-shot .22 at Boy Scout camp, some time in the early eighties. Our patrol had just won the marksmanship award in the only event that I could compete in, with my broken ankle.
--fear of getting caught, playing with a book of matches that I had sneaked out of my baby-sitter's house after school, in the fall of 1977.
The after-image on my retina left by my car strobe suddenly reminds me of my paternal grandmother "Big Mama" touching off a flash cube on top of the Instamatic 110 camera after much cajoling for me and my cousins to "scrunch together" in front of the Christmas tree.
The smell of broken evergreen needles always reminds me of a dozen different childhood Christmases.
The sound of compacting snow usually brings to mind the smell of snow. Please don't ask me to describe it.
The smell of popcorn and freshly-turned animal manure and hay (note to city folk-- Not necessarily a bad smell, unless you're near the carnivores) will inject very powerful circus images in my head.
The smell of clean hair and a whiff of some perfumes, along with perhaps the whiff of school (chalk dust and pencil shavings with floor wax) will sometimes bring back those angst-filled memories of teen interactions with girls. [To quote Rich Lucibella when referring to his love-making and his shooting: "Long periods of shameful failure, interspersed with occasional flashes of brilliance."]
The touch of unplucked feathers brings back memories of going through Dad's game bag when he came back form duck hunting in the early-to-mid '70s.
The sound of locusts always makes me feel hot.
The taste of boiling-hot, percolator-brewed coffee in a metal cup pops numerous camping and hunting memories into my head. (Of course there would be a coffee memory.)
Closed-knit, nappy green carpet evokes immediate memories that low brick rent house that we lived in when I was a young boy. Look down, see dark olive carpet. Look up, see bulls eye central air registers.
When I hear a small engine with a hole in the exhaust system, I'm taken back to numerous jalopies that I drove in my teens and early twenties.
When I feel scratchy crocheted mittens and scarves, I immediately flash back to being overheated from running, with frostbitten fingers and toes, taking my aluminum saucer up the hill to slide down yet again on a snow day, in the sleet and snow as a kid.
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You know, I initially started this blog as a reference to a decent little video that I had run across, putting a pretty cool science fiction twist to a modern song by way of simple (today, I mean. Back in 1987, this would have completely blown the minds of professional videographic artists) computer graphics. The concept of stopping the waste of your "life" and going on to find joy is powerfully presented there.
But instead, I've taken you down a short walk down memory lane, regarding the way different stimuli can evoke powerful memories. Please: share with me (in comments) some of the more powerful ones that you've noticed in your life.