March 07, 2005

It's all Greek to me

I was chatting with a friend tonight when the topic of Greek letters/words came up. He mentioned one I didn't recognize, I asked what it stood for and he told me. End of discussion and we moved on.

A bit later, through no connection to the prior conversation, he sent me the link to a Web site he'd found. I noticed that the banner featured some Greek letters. All of a sudden, like a bolt of lightening, I recalled that at some point in my youth I decided that I had to commit the Greek alphabet to memory.

Believe me, when I set my mind to something like that, it gets done. I knew that alphabet cold. I just for the life of me can't remember why I did it. Now it seems like one of those things we do in life that, in retrospect, seem so utterly random and meaningless. At the time I suppose it mattered, at least to me, though I can remember very little of the Greek alphabet now.

Unlike when I learned the sign language alphabet after getting a little pink card for giving money to a deaf person in the parking lot of what used to be a Kmart here and is now a Home Depot, some thirty years ago! I carried that card around until it was dog-eared and greying, but I learned something that stuck with me.

What's the most random thing you can remember setting out to learn, for whatever reason?