Eight True Dull Things

Tagged by Joncormier, blast him.

1. Apparently I have a mildly epileptic-type brain: I’ve been getting the Big/Small thing since I was quite young, something I can only describe as The Beat since I was about twelve, a very weird thing peculiar to myself that’s sort of like the feeling you get when you hold one of those old high-school metal rulers (with the cork backing) in your hand and squeeze lightly, except the sensation isn’t localized in my hand…or anywhere else…and I don’t know when the hell that started up…and one summer when I was fifteen I had something like a half-dozen long-duration heavy-duty deja vu experiences per day, every day, for about a month or so. It got real old, real fast.

2. I’m always exasperated by the annual research summary that for some reason makes it into the papers, about synaesthesia. Now, I have synaesthesia, though a mild form…and I can tell you, it’s a blessing…and therefore these researchers really bug me, because somehow they always get it tremendously wrong. Why oh why do they get it so wrong? They describe it as (basically) magic, and claim that it’s a very special thing, that only happens to very special people. And I disagree with them like you wouldn’t believe. In fact I have my own theory about it which I think renders theirs pretty much Ptolemaic…

3. I have a very acute sense of smell. This is not a blessing, except in very specific circumstances. However as I get older, I think it’s getting more blunted. At last, some olfactory peace and quiet!

4. I can (or at least, could) inch along in calculus, I can keep up with a great deal of theoretical physics, even the wacky stuff, the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram has no secrets from me…but simple questions of mechanics defeat me utterly. The lunar cycle confuses me, the reason why X-rays are more energetic than radio waves totally escaped me for several years, I couldn’t accept that things should be so arranged in the universe that the phonograph should even be able to reproduce sound at all, and I was in my thirties before I had an adequate grasp of how a pulley works. Of course, I knew that it worked…I suppose I even knew why…but how was always the big problem for me. I suspect this may be partly neurological.

5. I have a lot of dreams with extremely comprehensible plotlines, that often make good sense after I’ve woken up. Jeez, this brain stuff is beginning to be a theme, let’s change it up.

6. Generally speaking, I don’t care for vegetables that begin with the letter “A”. Take that, neuroscience!

7. I know the one word in the English language that contains four different consecutive consonantal sounds in a single syllable, and not including an “S – Blank – Blank” construction (str, schr, spl, etc.). They say there isn’t one, but there is. I checked. More of a psychiatry thing going on there, I guess…

8. I’m a lousy, lousy, absolutely rotten salesman. Cadging drinks I can do, but sales: no way. This may have something to do with the fact that many people think I’m kinda full of it. And who knows, they might be right! Or, y’know…they might be jerks.

To be tagged: Jim Roeg, Spot 1980, Shane…really, damn it? Eight? Eight’s too many, I’m not doing that. Keeper. BULLY. His’ll be funny, anyway.


14 responses to “Eight True Dull Things

  1. ‘Construct’. ‘Temptress’. There are actually quite a few. Whoever says there’s only one either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is working off of a different definition.

  2. Sorry, Matthew, that should’ve read “five”, not four. And I believe they all have to be different consonantal sounds.

    I was a little sleepy when I wrote that.

    Also, although we’re saying “consonantal”, we’re also saying “sounds” — “ng” is one sound, as is “th”.

  3. I found a couple. (I won’t say I figured them out.) But only one is uncontroversial; is it the one you had in mind?

    – Hertzsprung-Russell. Was this what reminded you of this curiosity?
    – corkscrew. Depending on whether we regard the ‘k’ and ‘c’ as different from each other.
    – filmstrip.

  4. No, the H-R diagram is never far from my thoughts anyway…but, funny surprise! However, names don’t count.

    And, I’m sorry, you keep reminding me of the details of this that I’ve forgotten — I know at this point it sounds like I’m just making it up, but no “s-blank-r” combinations are allowed. No “schr-“, no “str-“. Whoops. Now the coffee is flowing, I can recall these things.

  5. It totally sounds like you’re making it up. Who would invent such a cumbersome category?

    Anyway, if it’s a hopelessly obscure word, you might as well spill it, but otherwise I’m not giving up. What about ‘s_l’? Is that also forbidden?

  6. Well, wait: what about ‘dirndls’? That’s one I saw on some list but didn’t happen to mention the first time. Not English enough? No plurals allowed?

  7. My mother sprang this on me one day at dinner.

    It’s a common word, and though I’ve no doubt some would argue it, I believe it can be defended — well, I’ve defended it! You can easily say the five consonantal sounds in casual speech, and if that doesn’t prove it, nothing can.

    You’ll know it when you see it.

    Pluralization is fine.

    And, oh no! I have no idea what “dirndls” are! However I think there must either be a hidden vowel sound between the d and the l, or between the l and the s. In the latter especially, it seems like it’s a matter of the anatomy of linguistics.

  8. Okay, well, let me ask you this. Are there, in the spelling of the word, unsounded vowels between any of these consonant sounds? Like a silent ‘e’ or something?

  9. Eventually, I sent an email to Matthew about this — it is NOT five consonantal sounds, it is FOUR, and they’re within a single syllable. What I’ve said up top has been changed back to what it was, to reflect this realization of mine. My brain was scrambled when I said it was five.

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