Trivial Knowledge

Every Friday, Workplace conducts a trivia contest. A MENSA-type question is circulated on our e-mail group and the first to e-mail back the Office Manager with the correct answer gets to keep the "Really Smart Person Award" bobble head trophy at her desk. The bobble-head has resided at my cubicle on 2 occasions. Bobble-bobble. I only win the word-oriented contests. Never the story problems or geographic questions, even though I'm pretty sure my social studies notebooks from 4th grade are peppered with "Great Job!" stickers at my neatly cursived definitions of plateau and peninsula and gerrymandering or whatever it is you learn in 4th grade social studies. I used to know all that stuff. I probably still know it all, but, as my Latin teacher once told me, "You have all of these conjugations in your brain, Kendra. You just have them stored in certain rooms and you're just not knocking at the right doors." He was kind of a self-obsessed proffy type, but he was right-on in a lot of ways, I realize now. I earned a 97 in Latin that semester, and I'm only telling you that because I remember one Latin expression in full, to this day. "Ecce, Puella." Look, girl. It is very useful, and I employ it in a multitude of professional and familiar situations, as you can imagine.

Look, girl.

I believe that I possess a lot of trivial knowledge, like the section my family parked in when we went to Disney World in 1987 (Minnie 54), the number of ounces in a small cone at Dairy Queen (6 oz.), and the names of substitute teachers I had all through grade school (Mrs. Hook, Mrs. Vavrock, Mr. Gotro). None of this information serves me any use. It will not win me the Really Smart Person Award. It will not help anyone in any way, other than to make him or her laugh at the preposterousness of someone remembering such trivial information.

Most of the conversations or bits of information that I can recall will cause me due embarrassment. Sometimes the things that I remember become a burden to me. The remark you made about the Amish in 1992? The kind of shorts you rocked in 1985? It's all fair game in my mind. I sometimes wish I didn't hoard so much trivial knowledge of fact and fiction in my head. I could use the extra space to store information about where I left my glasses, what my blood type is, what age my sister is presently. But we generally do not get to choose what and how our brains store information.

We can only choose to give ourselves a good Ecce, Puella. A good Look, Girl. Get over yourself. Forgive and forget. And even if you can't forget entirely, perhaps you can just lodge that painful conversation you recorded right next to Clever Uses for Scrunchies, which you won't even have to access, not even on Friday when the MENSA question rolls around.