Turning Back the Clock on Rolex

Screenshot from Screenshot from "Rolex Kentucky Four Star Winners."

People have funny ways of organizing time inside their head. I know a historian who can tell you the date of pretty much anything from memory — like, you’d be walking down the sidewalk with him and you could point at a building and say, “Hey Jack, when was that building built?” And without so much as furrowing his brow, he’d answer 1947, or whatever, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

One day I asked him how he could possibly remember so many hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miscellaneous dates. He explained that he saw different numbers in different shades of gray, so a date wasn’t just a jumble of numbers but a very specific visual pattern. It’s a variation on a neurological phenomenon called synesthesia, in which certain senses or cognitive pathways get tangled up together in the brain’s attempt to organize information.

It’s not exactly analogous, but I’d bet money that I am not the only freak out there whose life timeline memory is predicated on who won Rolex in what year. I mean, most of the time I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast, but if you were to ask me, “Hey, what were you doing in 1998?” I’d think of who won Rolex that year (Nick Larkin and Red), and then I’d remember watching them and who was there watching them with me and what horses I was riding at the time and so on and so forth until I had a fairly well-painted picture of that year of my life.

Do Rolex winners double as bookends on the cluttered shelves of your own psyche? If so, watching this video may feel like the last 15 years of your life flashing before your eyes:


Can’t wait to see you guys at Rolex 2014 — I’ll be at the EN Tailgate Party all day Saturday so you’ve got to stop in and say hi. Go Eventing!

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