Thank You, Mario

Christmas morning was the one morning I never had a problem getting up when I was a child. The second my eyes opened, my sister and I would rush out to the hallway and sit at the top of the stairs and waited for mom and dad to say it was okay to go down.  On one of those early mornings, my sister and I rushed to the living room to find one of the best Christmas gifts we would ever receive, a Nintendo.  Little did we know, this would be the only gaming system we would ever own. Many years later, I listened to friends talk about their Super Nintendo and their Sega and N64’s and other various systems.  My sister and I would continue, for many years, to play our small collection of games of Super Mario Brothers and a Beetlejuice game we once found at a pawn shop.

I’m not sure if I ever want to know how many hours (or days even) that I spent playing Super Mario Brothers 3 and stressed over never being about to find the last piece of the Tri-force in our gold version of Zelda.  I never had any idea how much training this was doing to my brain until a few weeks ago.  A friend of mine recently took me to Player 1 on Palm Parkway and if you are not familiar with this establishment, this is a bar with every video game you could ever imagine.  I spent approximately 4 hours at this place sitting at the bar playing a combination of Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, and Super Mario 3.  Considering it has been well over ten years since I have played one of these games, I was sure it would take some time for all of it to come back to me.   Much to my surprise, it took about 10 seconds and suddenly, it all came back.  I could remember where all the hidden question boxes were, I knew which blocks to hit that would take me to coin heaven, and I couldn’t believe how I still knew the exact amount of space I needed before I could fly with my tail feather. 

It had all come back to me and ever since that night I began to wonder what other pieces of information I still remembered.  What other intricate process do I still have stored in my memory that just need to be released?  When I sit down to a piano, I cannot play any of the songs that I used to back in high school, but for some reason I still know button combinations to defeat Bowser, King of the Koopa.  (A friend of mine pointed out that 88 piano keys were probably a little more difficult than up, down, left, right, A and B). 

So what is the point of today’s corner you ask?  A teacher in high school once told me that we don’t really forget anything; we just forget how to remember them.  I now know exactly what she meant.  Until I had that controller in my hand, I would have never known that I still had all of that somewhere in my brain.  I challenge everyone to seek out what we have forgotten to remember.   Search for skills that you might feel like you can’t do anymore.  People are used to saying, “It’s like riding a bike.  You never forget.”  I beg to differ after my first day backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom when I hopped on a bike and fell straight to the ground.  So we might all be rusty on things we used to be good at but we might also be surprised how easy it is to pick them back up.  And in the Nintendo world, everyone gets a second chance.  Especially if you remember where all the green mushrooms are hidden.  Maybe if we keep trying, we’ll actually find the right castle to save the princess.