The random moments in life are often the most fun, don't you think?
Like the ones that conjure up an obscure, but vivid, song lyric or ad jingle from years-and-years ago.
“You're not a kid anymore, you must be kidding me. You look ten years younger than you're supposed to be. You've got smooth soft skin, bright shining eyes…drinking milk every day, well that's no surprise. Cause Milk tastes delicious (you're not a kid anymore). And I'll tell you once more (you're not a kid anymore). Milk's…good…for…you. You're not a kid anymore.” – Milk commercial of my youth
Whoever paid for it (Big Milk maybe) knew what they were doing. After all, this has been successfully lodged in my brain for over two decades. And I wasn't even the target audience!
And how do I know I remembering the lyrics properly since I couldn't find them in a Google search or anywhere else on the Internet? I just do. I'm that confident about it.
The essential life lesson here is subtle but I'll illustrate it through a quick and delightful trip down story lane.
Little Known Facts
I would destroy the competition if there was a contest for who remembers the most TV commercials and cartoon theme songs from the 1980s and 1990s. Trust me, I wish I had more useful talents, but I don't.
Anyone I've known for over a year that has eaten a quick meal with me has heard me reference the Alka-Seltzer commercial. Invariably, I'll say before we part ways.
“It's never fun to eat and run we'd rather take it slow. But the way this life is going, gotta grab your food and go. And with all this running 'round, catches up with you at last…get yourself an Alka-Seltzer and you'll feel better fast.”
So it is with the years of my youth. They are best remembered not by events in Little League Baseball or the kind of birthday present I got, but rather by cartoon theme songs. The premier chain of theme songs were part of the Disney Afternoon.
- 1990: Gummi Bears (Dashing and daring courageous and caring…)
- 1991: Duck Tales (Wooo Ooooh!)
- 1992: Chip ‘n Dales Rescue Rangers (When you need help just call…C-c-c-Chip ‘n Dales Rescue Rangers!)
- 1993: Tale Spin (Oh-ee-ay! Oh-ee-oh!)
- 1994: Darkwing Duck (Lets…get…dangerous)
My brain wasn't limited to the Disney Afternoon though. Maybe you remember theme songs from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man, Transformers, Thundercats, X-Men (didn't even have any lyrics but was still memorable), G.I. Joe, Spiderman, Inspector Gadget, The Super Mario Brothers Super Show, The Care Bears (I know it was for girls but I liked it), or Tiny Toon Adventures?
Now for the big takeaway. The common thread with all of these is…
Rote learning, or learning by repetition, has a bad rap in academic circles. Oh sure, it has a place when you need to memorize the atomic weight of Helium or the Pythagorean Theorem. But otherwise, new models of learning are in vogue like active learning and critical thinking.
Some science based research refutes part of this new wave of thinking but I've always known repetition is a fantastic way to remember critical things. You know, like memorizing useless cartoon theme songs and how to hit a golf ball (which I don't do anymore).
If you really want someone to remember something you said or did, repeat it.
Not just in passing but many times, in the multiple conversations, and over an extended length of time.
The approach of politicians these days is cynical but sadly very effective. If you repeat something enough, even if it's not true, people are going to remember it even if they don't agree with it. Set it to music or a powerful visual and the power of repetition becomes even more profound.
There are drawbacks to repetition though.
- People might think you're annoying if you repeat the same thing over and over
- They remember what you said too well and now hate you for it
Repetition can be simple but it certain doesn't help simplify.
Leveraged the right way, this can be a powerful tool to for positive change or reinforcing something that otherwise would have no chance of sticking.
If you claim B.S. let me have it…in a civil and respectful way of course. If you have a gripping story of your own about the power of repetition contact me and I might mention it in an upcoming post.
“Do I repeat myself? Very well then I repeat myself.” – Walt Whitman
So what were the most impressionable commercials, cartoon theme songs or ditties of your youth?