My Eidetic Memory ... (and accusations of stalking , again & still)
The other night my husband and I settled in for some relaxing comic relief in the form of reruns of Big Bang Theory. I just love this show ... on so many levels ... and our DVR is now close to its capacity with episodes we just have to save they are so funny. We watched the episode this clip comes from the other night:
My hubs turned to me and said "that's you!". I've always been known for my photographic memory. As an athlete in HS I often didn't get home until 8pm many school nights and my parents never saw me study much -- especially for math. One day Mom asked me when I studied for math and my reply was that I set my alarm for an hour early, and in the half-awake state I would go through the pages of my notebook in my mind. One of the ways I studied for biology exams (lots of memorization in biology) was simply to re-write my notes. I would have a fresh picture in my brain of the words and diagrams on the page.
But as I got older, and exposed to more varied social and professional circles, I realized I had more than just this photographic memory, I remembered situations and such in greater detail than most of those around me. In my line of work I meet and interact for a significant period of time with hundreds of people each year. That doesn't include social interactions. Every now and then I'll run into someone and get that "I've met you before" feeling. Usually I can place the person in a few minutes, but this haunts me to where I've literally woken up in the middle of the night from remembering the person in a dream or somesuch. Back when I was single it bothered me because I really did want to go up to someone and say "don't I now you from someplace?" The pick-up artists in the audience will be happy to note it worked unintentionally on a few occasions ... perhaps because it was genuinely asked. LOL.
Only just recently could I put a word to my memory. It is called an eidetic memory.
This has worked both in my favor and against me throughout my life. Most people like being remembered, but it's not always nice to be remembered -- especially for something in one's past for which we'd rather not be remembered. C'mon, we all have those moments ... who are we kidding, right? My hubby gets sheepish to this day when I remind him of some of the less-than-nice things he did when we met and dated briefly in our early 20's. Sometimes I'd like not to remember certain things. It's far easier to let bad experiences go when the memories fade, though I've made great strides taming this "curse".
Academically, this talent served me well. As I struggled through CalcIII and triple integrals in college I thought when am I ever going to use this again? Well it turned out that I did use it, not only for grad school but in practice analyzing corrosion phenomena using a rotating disc electrode apparatus. There were many many things I learned as a bio major at an engineering school that I thought I didn't "get" at the time. But lo and behold when those concepts were built upon in grad school, I remembered it like it was yesterday ... only somehow this time I understood it! I'm sure many of my readers have noticed I seem to recall every last study I've ever read even if I can't always put the link to it. This is supremely frustrating at times, because I hate citing something w/o the substantiating link and I thank my readers who often come to my rescue when my memory fails me. That happens occasionally, and I blame menopause ;-)
This talent of mine enables me to catch people in lies that most others would never pick up on, because a pathological liar will always mess up sooner or later. When you tell the truth about how something happened, it doesn't change -- perhaps you embellish a little for effect (my own husband can be quite the embellisher at times - grin!) -- but the underlying story/facts don't change. When a story is made up, or embellishing is taken past that critical point, the stories inevitably change as time goes by. I remember stories, numbers, pictures, phrases, etc.etc.
Which brings me to why I'm blogging about this. No doubt part of the "stalker" bit is owed to my eidetic memory. I've listened to countless podcasts, read countless more blog posts, not to mention comments and posts on discussion forums. When someone uses the same screen name, I recognize that person across platforms and one gets to "know" the person. (One can also pick out multiple ID's used by the same person after a while as well). I just remember things others don't. Not because I want to, but quite often it's just something so mind-numbingly noteworthy for some reason or another that it just sticks with me. I'll then be accused of being obsessed or picking on someone when I reveal what I've picked up on to my audience. I'll not list any of such cases here, I'm sure most regular readers could think of a list of several right off the top of their heads -- no special memory needed ;-)
But last week, a popular blogger was encouraging his readers to actually stalk me. And this has me mulling over this unfinished stalker business. It's one thing to try to redefine vulgar language to suit one's own usage. It's quite another to make accusations of a serious nature by redefining a term. Following links, reading blogs, commenting, listening to podcasts and YouTube videos and remembering things is not stalking. Neither disagreeing with and challenging the science put forth in some of these, nor exposing discontinuities in the blog-related publicly posted information disseminated by various bloggers is stalking. It's simply not. Encouraging people to dig up dirt, post pictures (fake is OK) and interfere with my personal and professional life by trying to contact students? THAT is stalking. There's no ambiguity there. I'm happy the person who thought that was a good idea has thought the better of it. I may or may not have more to say at some later date on that.
I have been falsely accused of stalking by Gary Taubes, Tom Naughton and Jack Kruse. This has been allowed to persist and multiply by bloggers (responsible ultimately for charges made repeatedly by publishing comments often by anonymous responders) including (but sadly not limited to) Andreas Eenfeldt, Jimmy Moore, Peter/Hyperlipid, and Richard Nikoley. Hopefully someday the collective community will inform themselves sufficiently to
- realize just how baseless this charge is, and
- understand the severity of the nature of their false accusations
If recent events don't wake these people up, I don't know what will. Actively participating in a community -- even as somewhat of a contrarian -- is not a crime. Nor is valid criticism, expressing unpopular opinions, or speculating on motives and such. Scrutinizing and attempting to verify information put forth is not stalking, nor is "following the money" in the blogosphere. Folks follow the money all the time with regards to iffy relationships between manufacturers, medical and governmental orgnizations and such. Having the sort of memory that makes it appear to others that I spend far more time than I do at this stuff is not a crime either, nor would spending every waking minute of my life dismantling false claims made by someone ... anyone. That latter might be a questionable use of my time, but that's my problem if it were true, right? It would not be illegal or rise to the level of stalking.
Stalking is a serious charge and the line is pretty clear what behaviors constitute it. Accusing someone of such a serious charge is a smear. Plain and simple. If you don't like what I write, don't read it. If you feel you must read it because I've written something about you, then challenge me on where I've got my facts wrong. Or put your case together if you really think a stalking charge is warranted, and pursue it. Anything else is but baseless smearing, and when you resort to that tactic it just shows how desperate you are and how lacking in credibility/substance your claims ultimately are. Otherwise you'd stick to the subject and not try to turn everything into a discussion over my looks, age, weight and reproductive status. Just sayin ...