The milk carton theory

OK gang, I mentioned yesterday that I’d explain the milk carton theory (named after its founder, George Carton) so my comments would make sense.  Go grab a cold one, sit down, and get your #2 pencils out and ready.   I have to give you a bit of background so the theory itself will make sense.  

My sister claims that I never forget anything.  I have to admit there is a LOT of  junk floating around in my grey matter; mostly of absolutely no use whatsoever.  I have no idea why I have the phone number from our house in California (we left there in 1968, I was 8 years old)  in my head and at the ready, but I do.  Same with the engine run parameters for airplanes I haven’t touched in over 20 years.  Need an A-10 Warthog battery part number?  It’s right here in my melon.  You get the picture.   I’ve often remarked that sooner or later, my head’s just gonna explode.  Someone’s gonna say something to me, it’s gonna go in there, things will reach critical mass, and BLAMMO….  no more me.

So anyway, the theory goes a little like this.  (Cue the dramatic music, Maestro, please)  Your memory is something like a milk carton with the top cut off.  You get this empty container when you’re born.  Some people get the super economy size carton, others get the little grade school cafeteria ones.  Everything you learn, no matter how big or small, is like a little bitty ball bearing.  Really tiny.  It gets tossed in the milk carton.  As you go through life, little balls get tossed in there all the time.  Eventually, the thing fills up.  The nice thing about that container is you can fill it over the top of the sides.  The balls will pile up in the middle until they start rolling off the edges and out of the carton. 

This means when your carton’s full and won’t take any more balls, they fall off the edge and you forget stuff.

You have to remember to shake the carton every now & then as you journey through life.  Gotta get the old balls out of the bottom; get them out of the carton ’cause you don’t need them anymore and get the new ones down there where they’ll stay for a while and be useful.  (Important Safety Tip #16 – Try to keep the one that reminds you to shake the carton.) I don’t think mine ever got shaken.  And I think it’s getting pretty full.  Which explains why I can remember the date of the signing of the Treay of Ghent ( Dec 24, 1814) and Beethoven’s birthdate (Dec 17, 1770)  but not why the hell I walked the fifteen feet from the airplane to my toolbox 30 seconds ago.


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