So… What’s the greatest amount you’ve ever committed to memory?
Me, I can’t brag. I could at one time quote the entirety of Monty Python and the Holy Grail from memory. There’s a play or two of which I remember my lines, hundreds of songs and even the occassional poem. Nothing to be proud of, but I guess nothing to be ashamed of. You?
A kajillion years ago when I was a teenager, I was on a bible quiz team and I memorized the entire book of Mark.
The poem The Cremation of Sam McGee, The poem Tears Idle Tears and 30 something digits of pi.
Not much, I know.
My mind is filled with misc trivia including, but not limited to, about 3000 songs. But, that’s probably true of most people. Tune into a classic rock station and see how many songs you know by heart. Sometimes all that is needed is a nudge.
I was Romeo in that silly Shakespear play in high school and even had stage directions for everyone else memorized, not to mention every scrap of dialogue. At the time, I couldn’t understand how anyone could forget their lines after going over them a few hundred times like we seemed to. Now I know.
Having been a heavily active theatre student throughout highschool and university, I have memorized dozens of lines, and often, the scripts surrounding them.
I think my most impressive memorization feat had to be when I was cast in the role of Jacques in Shakespeare’s As You Like It two weeks before opening. Yes TWO WEEKS to memorize the part of one of Shakespeare’s most favoured characters.
Interestingly enough, I had my millions of lines memorized before most of the other actors did
All the world’s a stage…
I’ve memorized countless plays… but I think that the hardest thing I’ve ever memorized from cover to cover was Bach’s St. Matt - all of it. In German. (and I don’t speak a word of german)
All 3 and a half hour’s worth of it - music, lyrics and all.
Elenfair, that’s pretty impressive. Best I ever did was this 26-line poem for an 8th-grade class called “The Siege of Belgrade”. Blew the other kids’ minds.
When in the course of … etc. The first 3 or so paragraphs of that.
At one point I had the periodic table memorized. Elements, atomic weights, electron configuration for most of them (kinda hard to do it for unillelium, or whatever it is;)), discoverers, years of discovery, names of isotopes, etc.
And count me in the “every line of every play, plus the blocking and songs” group. After doing it several hours a day for weeks, if you don’t have that shit memorized so you could do it in your sleep you’ve probably been sleeping;)
My brother has over 400 digits of Pi memorized. ::shrug:: he was bored.
I had a Spanish conversation class that required us to give off-the-cuff 5 minute presentations. They were supposed to be spontaneous, but since I was rather terrified of public speaking at the time (I’m over that, mostly), I’d just memorize it all. Apparently, I was fairly convincing–people were surprised to find out later I was simply repeating everything word for word.
I toured with a one-man show of Ernest Hemingway, but since it was a one-man show I could fake this or that and it did not cause that much problems for anyone but my light and costume people and they knew the show well enough that they could wing it too.
Probably the roughest to learn though (at least early on) for me was the stage manager in Our Town. It has long rambling speeches and you are on stage the entire time. This was made especially hard since we were doing it in rep so I had two other plays I was in and had to remember those lines too. As I remember the others were the husband in Moon Over Buffalo and Creon in Antigone which we dropped and picked up Barefoot in the Park. In that one I played the weird Hungarian living on the roof.
I know far too much about Doctor Who. I can more or less do Star Wars from start to finish. I know trivia galore. And I can give you the lyrics to nearly any song by several bands.
Well I thought my memory was impressive until I read Elenfair’s answer!
I’m working on a database for the local Little League/Babe Ruth league. I’ve been working with it (mailing etc.) for a year or so. I’ve pretty much memorized the kid’s name/address/age phone number.
(I am not a creep, btw…just read the thing over and over)
As a former professional musician, at one time I had about 5-10 hours of music memorized and in my head at any given time (classical music). Now I have about 3-4 hours of music I can play without repeats given at any time. I had friends who had a lot of memory tricks and had a considerably larger repertoire.
Back in high school, on the occasions I accompanied the chorus it was from memory. The page-turning always distracted me and I needed to watch the director, so it was only natural. My mom, out in the audience, could tell since I wasn’t even looking at the music.
That year I also sang The Messiah and Carmina Burana, bass parts, from memory. And I don’t speak Latin or German.
Wow. I can’t really compete with Elenfair’s impressive feat, but I was known for being a bit of a memory geek when I was a kid. Once, having received a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records for Christmas, I took it upon myself one late December night to memorize the world’s longest words and names. The ones I still remember today are a Norwegian word that described some sort of hospital equipment, IIRC (“Nordöstersjökhusstartilleriflygsspaningsimulatoralaggningmaterialundhalsuppföjlningssystem,” not sure on the spelling though), and then there was Bangkok’s full title, consisting of 12 long words which, for everyone’s sake, I won’t repeat here.
Those were the days, though. Just sitting there, chewin’ some gum, memorizin’ some words.
What? Stop looking at me that way.
Longest number: the first 100 digits of pi when I was 16 and bored. Testing myself now, I get stuck after 25 decimal places.
Longest poem: “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe (over 100 lines)about five years ago when I was bored. I can’t even remember the first line without prompting any more.
Longest prose: the first two paragraphs of Tolkien’s “Ainulindäle” (about 200 words) for high school speech class. I only remember the first line now: “There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Illuvitar.”
I’m a mail sorter, so I have a couple of thousand placenames memorised, each with its destination office. This was done by rote when I was trained years ago. We aren’t required to learn postal codes, but after working there for so long, I know most of those too.
Longest thing I ever memorized was the poem “The Ballad of East and West,” by Kipling. I was in 9th grade at the time, and missing an A in English by a hair’s breadth. Since it wasn’t acceptable to me to get less than an A in English, I asked the teacher if there was anything I could do as extra credit to bring up my grade. She said if I memorized the poem, she’d give me an A minus. I don’t think she thought I could do it, but I did. I got my A minus.
Does learning a foreign language count? We used to get hit with 300-500 words & phrases per night in interpreting class.
We also had to be able to quote much, if not most of the START treaty. It weighed in at something like 900 pages. No, I couldn’t quote the whole thing from beginning to end, but I could quote word for word most of the paragraphs & subparagraphs of the main text. Woo hoo, that was a barrel of yucks!