Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Study shows brain can hold only 40

In the Edwardian era of the ladies' salon, where I live my life, the locals love playing games in the "Name the..." family. That's a better opening than the truth, which is that I impose these games on others. My brain is doing them anyway, and it doesn't like to be alone.

Name the names in the NFL
Name the Canadian provinces
Name all the CEOs at the Mill. Ok, just the last 5 years...

The last great challenge was naming the original 64 Crayola colors, which in some ways is easier than you think it will be, but strangely difficult once you find yourselves arguing whether "orchid" or "lavender" is made up.

In the spirit of the weekend, I threw out, "Let's see if we can name the 44 presidents." Feel free to try this at home. You do not have to do them in order, unless your salon is made up of American history majors and you need to keep it up a level. Or add VPs. Whatever you need to make this interesting.

You'll find you can do quite well with the 20th century. Just working backward will take you to WWII. You'll start to quibble over which is Harding and which is Hoover, but remember you don't need to do them in order. The first 5 (or 10, if you were a very good student) come pretty easily as well.

We made it to 40 before realizing we had actually listed Hoover twice, and an argument over a certain statesman who was not president was finally resolved. So we were down by 6 until we remembered the newest one (well how embarrassing) and one of the lesser-known assassinated presidents.

Final 4. Name those final 4. aaargh....
To give credit to the integrity of the game, we did refrain from looking them up for several hours. Once we did look them up, we spent some time reviewing their contributions, and writing letters of suggestion to David McCullough.

The following day, Dr A. recommended that we try it again, and of course we opened with the 4 we couldn't list the previous day. How hard could this be, right?

We came right back to 40. We forgot 4 different guys. From this experiment, we concluded that the human brain (not the American female New England brain, mind you, but we leaped to a FULL conclusion that absolved us completely) can only hold 40. Of anything. We were afraid to attempt the states.

Does Wii have a version of this?

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