Are you familiar with the popular myth that we only use 10% of our brain?
Actually, we use all of it, but we may only use a small percentage of our
intellectual capacity. Some of that capacity is used to store trivia. That¹s
hardly wasted space, in my opinion. For instance, let's say you live
somewhere where you can listen to several different radio stations. Oh, I
don't know, pick a place. Let's say northeast Iowa. Now let¹s say that a
radio station in northeast Iowa likes to hold a lot of trivia contests. You
call in with a correct answer and you win a prize. All of a sudden, that 10%
becomes kind of valuable, doesn't it?
KDEC-FM in Decorah is one of my favorite radio stations. They play a decent mix of hit music from today through the past 25 to 30 years or so. Okay, there's the occasional Britney Spears selection, but there's also some
Eagles and 10,000 Maniacs music, too. But it's the chance to keep the brain
sharp that makes it fun to listen consistently. This year the new contest is
"Who Sings It?," which requires the caller to identify the artist of the
song once it begins playing. No song title, just the artist. Correct callers
can only call and win once every 30 days.
Since I would usually feed cattle around 5:25 to 5:35 each night during the
winter, I would hear the contest on a pretty regular basis. It got to the
point where I'd know which day of the month was my first day of eligibility
for another answer. I put the station on speed-dial on my phone to save me
the hassle of trying to dial all those numbers while operating the
The station's new DJ sounded like a fairly young kid by the name of Grant.
Grant decided he would take the contest up a notch and play some more
obscure songs. The first time I called in, it was after hearing only a
couple notes. It must have been one of those days when I was using 11 or
maybe 12% of my brain. I'd already keyed in the number, so all I had to do
was hit SEND on my phone.
When he answered, Grant wanted to know if I had a guess. I told him it was
Del Amitri and Grant was shocked and crushed at the same time. "THAT'S
RIGHT! Who is this? And how did you even have time to dial? Kinda quick on the draw there."
All this brain capacity, and I have Del Amitri stored in mine. What a shame.
When the song was over and Grant came back on the air, he sounded a bit
disappointed. "Well, here I thought I'd stump everyone with that one and
Jeff Ryan from Cresco called in within, like, THREE SECONDS with the correct answer! It's Del Amitri. So, congratulations, Jeff!"
Recently, while in the tractor again, I called in with another answer. I was
pretty confident on this one after hearing only a couple notes. Again, it
must have been a 12% day. But, with more time behind the mic, Grant was now more polished. "Our congratulations going out to Jeff Ryan of Cresco. He wins the Budweiser Grip Gloves for identifying the artist of today's song,
'One Week.' Jeff, of course, is our resident expert on bare naked ladies."
WHOA! A little context here, Grant! Please, PLEASE remind the audience that the artist of today's song is that Canadian group, Bare Naked Ladies.
They¹re capitalized, but you can't tell that on radio. They sound like a
random noun on radio. Accordingly, it sounds like you just identified me to
the people of the tri-state area as a guy who is an expert of women without
clothes, not Canadian singers. Key difference, Grant! KEY DIFFERENCE!!!
Sure enough, it didn't take 45 seconds before my phone was ringing. I looked at the screen and knew what it was going to be.
"Well, then! So you¹re an expert, are ya? (Followed by laughter.) How does a guy get to be an expert on naked ladies then?"
It was Billy, the semi driver who hauls a lot of hay for me to Fort
Atkinson. Billy is usually a pretty jolly guy, but he was extra chipper this
time. "Just how long does it take ya to become an expert? Did ya have to
study a lot?"
Of all the groups I could have had for an answer, why this one? Where are
Steve Miller, Heart, Faith Hill, Natalie Merchant and the other 9,999
Maniacs when you need them? But, noooooooo, I have a 12% day and get labeled as an "expert" when it's Bare Naked Ladies!
For the following four Wednesdays, every time I'd see Billy at the hay sale
in Fort Atkinson, he'd immediately announce to everyone nearby, "Look, it's
the expert!" When they wouldn¹t get it, Billy would give them just enough
details to make me look like I¹m on some kind of federal list and can't live
within a certain distance of an elementary school. Exactly 31 days after my
"expert" call, I immediately called again with another correct answer. This
one was The Alan Parsons Project. Sadly, Grant did not cite me as an expert
that time. Billy took note of that little tidbit, too. "He knows a little
about Alan Parsons, but he¹s an expert on bare naked ladies!"
It has gotten to the point where I leave Billy a message to line up trucks
and only say, "If you can haul a load this week, give me a call. This is the
expert." He gets back to me every time.
Guy No. 2