I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I have a near-photographic memory. Tell me something and odds are I’ll remember it. (Yes, this frustrates some people to no end.) Thing is, it’s not PERFECT so I don’t remember every little thing, it’s mainly the useless factoids I read online, hear on the radio, or something random I hear in passing.

And song lyrics. Yes, I know all the words.

I often feel like I should put my memory to better use than I do. It’s extremely helpful in work situations (I can usually recall conversations verbatim, even years later) and I had a boss who used to quiz me on six-digit job numbers from projects we’d worked on the previous year (I only couldn’t remember it once, and I was only off by a couple numbers).

But the brain works the way the brain wants to work, so I’m stuck with the things I remember. My mom is reading a mystery series and several weeks ago she was telling me how each title is a dessert name. She rattled off several while I bustled around the kitchen, nodding politely (kidding…), then last week she said she was on #9.

“Key Lime Pie?” I asked.

She looked at me with shock and awe.

I don’t know how I do it.

How do you think I should better apply my talents? Song lyrics are a fun party trick, but there’s got to be something better out there. Anyone else have a knack like this?

* The title is a Friends reference. Since I haven’t done one of these since moving blogs, I thought I’d throw that out there. Anyone know which episode it’s from, and who said it?

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. Perhaps you have a Muse! The nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus and the Goddess of Memory charged with inspiring poets, artists, and musicians. Even Milton credits his muse in Paradise Lost. Recognize your muse and get writing!

  2. I’m the same way with song lyrics, I just need to hear them once, but try to match a face with a name of one of the girls’ friends’ mothers? Nope. I can usually pick them out of the crowd if I see them more than once but without a Sharpie and a willing victim to write their name on, I’m lost.

    We could always rent you out for parties. You don’t happen to bend spoons with your mind too, do you?

    • I’m decent with names and faces–better than a lot of people I know–but I’ve also learned to ask people their name a second time right after they tell it to me because no one ever remembers the first time and more times than not they’re grateful I’ve said mine a second time.

      Maybe we should introduce ourselves in song?

  3. Nice. I have a similar memory. But mine is for completely useless crap. Pop culture, etc. Ahem, Friends references… LOL

    Was this the one with Alec Baldwin, at Ross’s parents anniversary? I seem to remember Alec actually clicking “taking a pic with his mind so he’d remember.” yeah, I know. I got the other one too. LOL I have NO LIFE. J/K

    Let’s get you on Jeopardy lady!

  4. Carole

    I wish I knew. I have this affliction too, just not usually with numbers. I can remember all the lyrics from “Shakedown Cruise”, the two middle names of the little sister of a friend I had in junior high and complete conversations from 20 years ago, but I haven’t found my car keys in the past three days. My husband is leaving for Arizona in a few days, with his keys. I hope mine show up soon.

  5. Jeopardy! I knew someone who was on, once. You’d rock! Or Who wants to be a Millionaire, but that do or die thing is awful nerve-racking.

    Or be a pianist. That’s all memory-work. You have to memorize every gosh darn note.

  6. Nadine

    Click! Mental Picture! Alec Baldwin – love it!!

    That dessert series sounds interesting! I might have to check that out!

    As for how you could future use you memory talents, maybe a game where you could win money? That would be pretty cool!

  7. robinaltman

    Gee, that would sure come in handy. I say that you should save up all that brain power for when you become demented. Then bring it all back and you’ll be normal!

  8. ab

    I’m like you with the song lyrics & used to be great with phone numbers. I still remember the home numbers of some childhood friends but I don’t know their cell numbers now. :/
    Dang pre-programming devices! 😛

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