An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How does this shit work?

Memory and recall fascinate me. Those of you who have stuck with me through thick thin and bald will know that. I have written several times on the subject or subjects over the years.

When recall throws things from memory at me I still get taken by surprise now and then. This morning was a wonderful example.

We were sitting drinking coffee and listening half heartedly to Radio 4 whie drinking coffee and waking up when an item came on about the ark of the covenant. Some odd guy was chattering on about having found an object in some obscure african tribal home that was built from parts of the original ark of the covenant which apparently self destructed at some time in the distant past (don't ask - just research it if you need to know more). At that point I turned to Gill and said "shittah wood - that's what it was made of - well the original was anyway".

Gill looked at me as though I were an alien and yet I had, when I said it, assumed that everyone in the world knew that fact. Apparently not. Two questions come immediately to mind: when and how did I learn that the ark of the covenant was made of shittah wood?; and how and why did I recall that ridiculously esoteric fact just now?

Gill insisted on checking the thing out on Wikipedia and quickly established that shittah is a singular, that the plural is shittim, that shittah wood comes from the mimosa acacia family and that these woods are available in the deserts of the middle east. And yes - the ark of the covenant was supposed to have been constructed from shittah word. Seriously weird shit memory and recall.

The fascinating point here is that that little piece of information has now been filed into two sets of memory cells with a far richer set of recall paths than it had this morning. Weird shit indeed.

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