Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stuck thoughts

I wonder if anyone else has what I call "stuck thoughts," in which certain situations bring the same thought to mind every single time. For example, if I'm watching Jeopardy, and a Daily Double comes up, I always think, "Daily Double, the 9th of 7" (actually, the numbers may change, but they're always impossible, given the way the game works). I know this comes from when I was a kid, and Art Fleming used to always say when the first Daily Double of Double Jeopardy came up, "Daily Double, the first of two." I, for whatever odd reason, found it amusing to say other numbers.

But here we are, years later, and that thought is still stuck.

Another example: There's a weatherman in Chicago named Jerry Taft. Jerry used to, many years ago, have a big blond perm, and, to me, he looked like nothing so much as Harpo Marx. So, I got in the habit of thinking to myself, "ABC 7 News, with Ron Magers, Kathy Brock, Harpo Taft,...," and that's still there. Jerry hasn't had that much hair in decades, but the thought is still stuck.

I'm sure there's some neurological reason this happens, and I know that some might posit that it's reinforcement; that I think these things because I've thought them before, and it's just stimulus-response. But I hardly ever watch Channel 7 News, and I've had long periods in my life when I haven't watched Jeopardy, but the stuck thought is still in there, waiting to re-emerge at any moment. "9th of 7," "Harpo Taft" - those aren't going anywhere.

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