Friday, July 14, 2006

Time for a clean up


Go to Accessories, go to System Tools and you have some lovely options: Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, etc. Having done all of this, that is, ridding yourself of the clutter that slows down your system, you feel good.
So I did it. And there was light, And it was good, And I felt good. Then, suddenly, I felt not so good: the thought occurred to me that I should do the same for my brain. How about getting rid of the cranial clutter? I thought.
The Hungarian word "legfek" means "air brakes". I don't know any Hungarian apart from that. It was on the backs of trucks as we drove drearily and monthly from Budapest to Karzinbarcika (not even on the map, it's so bloody obscure). I couldn't bear not knowing, so I bought a dictionary. And that's how I have legfek lodged in my mind. That must be taking up space that my brain could use for other things, like...., erm, well, I will come back to that.
The Russian word for a newt is "gad". I was told that the plural of gad is pryezmikayushchiyesya. It may not be, but here it is, using up a synapse that could be more profitably employed remembering, erm, well, I will come back to that too.
I was told - and hope fervently - that the command in the Dutch cavalry for "get mounted" is "Doppel op de beestie". But what a waste of space! I could be remembering, erm, well, I will come back to that.
I have a little Spanish, most of it useful in that it gets me food and drink and directions, but what do I need "tortillera" for? It is derived from "tortilla", an omelette, and means an omelettemaker or a lesbian. What on earth is the connection? You see, it's not only the item stored in my brain, it's the questions it raises that clutter up the cerebral hard disk.
From my sojourns in Italy, I have a mountainous amount of clutter "E vietato giocare alla mora" (It is forbidden to play la mora"), "Al amico non si fa credenza, perche a pagar' non piu si pensa. Si lascia la strada, si prende il vico: ecco perduto il vecchio amico." (Never mind, it's not important) I have never needed either of these strophes in my life, but there they are in the cranial attic, gathering dust.
I know almost no Turkish, but I know "Kecide sakal de var" (Even a goat has a beard) and "Kilivuzu kargasi olanin, burnu boktan cikmaz" (He who chooses a crow as a guide will never get his nose out of the shit). What glorious bytes might be in my brain right now if these nonsenses were not taking up the space?
Believe me, I am not showing off. I take no pride in this polylinguistic clutter. Because I HAVE NO USE FOR IT. Arthur, my colleague from my EastBloc days, when we used to spend most of our lives going from one low-light-bulb country to another, used to come out with snippets of information and then say "Not many people in Huntingdon know that". I envy the people of Huntingdon.
My beloveds, there is a Chinese proverb "A mended pot lasts a thousand years". Tell me, what is the use of knowing that? Get rid of it, and use the space to store something really useful, like, erm, well I will get back to you on that too.
PS, Sorry I forgot your birthday.

2 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I particularly like the line one-low-lightbulb country to another. It's the way I've always imagined the Eastern bloc nations.

I'm curious as to why you deleted your post about Israel and her neighbors.

Old Scrote said...

Re the post about Israel and its neighbours: I decided my remarks were somewhat contentious, incendiary even, and I didn't want to start a flame war. I stick, though, by my observation about the difference between the attitude to conservation and wildlife in Israel and in the countries surrounding it.