Saturday, April 12, 2008

Half-Remembered Key to Civilization: Sweet Child o' Mine

This story may sound hard to believe, but if studied in detail, it might unlock vast, heretofore unexplored secrets about the inner workings of the human mind.

Background first: I have noticed before that there is a big, sometimes disturbing chasm between short-term memory and long-term memory — something very important that only makes it into the former can be utterly forgotten three months later (I once noticed that the only Simpsons episode I managed to watch twice in its entirety before realizing I’d seen it before was the one that’s divided into twenty-two minute-long stories, and I suspect it’d left no long-term imprint on my memory because each story only went into short-term memory without sparking the neurons that would normally track a longer plot).

Well, in a more alarming example of forgetfulness, even though I mentioned about one month ago that about a month before that Dave Whitney and I had been wondering what inspired the distinctive, beepy opening riff of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” (which I have since learned was voted the best guitar riff of all time by Top Guitar magazine), I wrote that month-ago blog entry without recalling that an astonishing coincidence had occurred the very weekend after Dave and I e-mailed about the song: I overheard a guy in Vegas just two days later claiming Slash was inspired by the perpetual-tumbling beeping sound of a roomful of slot machines — and, as is often the case in Vegas, I was promptly distracted and forgot that I’d just heard a plausible explanation for one of life’s great mysteries.

And in a just world, obviously, I’d get some sort of NIH psych-research grant for telling that story.

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