OPINION

Good Morning: Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Jerrie Whiteley / Herald Democrat

Over the Thanksgiving holiday break, I binged watched a television show that has been off the air for a while. In one episode, a science expert from NASA explained why the sky is blue.

As I am writing this, I am looking out of my office window at a beautiful blue sky. I can still see part of the moon. 

But that isn't what I wanted to talk about. When I heard the character explain why the sky is blue, I instantly recalled learning that in school. But if anyone had just walked up and asked why the sky is blue before I watched that episode, I wouldn't have been able to recall that answer.

Now, it is true that I have learned a lot of stuff since my middle school days, but my answer these days would have been, "I'll have to look it up." And, of course, by that I would have meant on the internet.

So that made me wonder if years from now, people are going to be able to remember anything?

Once upon a time, I knew the phone numbers of most of the government offices in Grayson County and a lot of the private numbers of the people who ran those offices. But as I began to make more and more of my daily calls to those places with a phone that remembers the number for me, I've found my memory of those numbers slipping. 

I wish I could say it is just phone numbers from work that are getting lost, but it is not. I have friends that I talk to on the regularly. But if I had to try to reach one without my cellphone, I would be hard pressed and the same is true for family.

I can remember the first telephone number my family ever had, but not the number for my doctor's office or the place from which I most often get take out.

The only reason any of this worries me, I guess, is that I am a word person and not a numbers person and phone numbers were my most walked path to the places in my brain that help me access numerical information. I am worried I am making that space smaller and harder to reach over time by using it less.

Someday it will be buried in the deep darkness of my mind just like the explanation for why the sky is blue, which probably most 5th graders can recite off the top of their heads.

Sure, I know a lot of stuff those youngins'  have yet to learn, but I want to retain the stuff they know too.