Christy Turlington. Linda Evangelista. Naomi Campbell. Cindy Crawford. Tatjana Patitz. Claudia Schiffer. Yasmeen Ghauri. Elaine Irwin. Karen Mulder. Niki Taylor.
(I even got the spellings right.)
When I was in high school, I worked in a bookstore. More specifically, I worked in a bookstore that was slowly dying. It had once been a thriving business (I have memories of going there as a small child and sitting happily in their children’s section, leafing through the selections), but by the time I got the job its best days were long gone, as was the case for a lot of the merchants in that shopping center. We didn’t get a whole lot of customers many days.
On the one hand, this was sad. I really liked that store, and it was depressing to watch its slow lurch toward decrepitude and eventual shuttering. On the other hand, it was a perfect job for me. I could sit there and get my studying done, with plenty of time to spare.
And there was plenty of time to spare. In a store full of reading material, much of it replenished on a weekly basis when the various magazine shipments came in. Lots and lots and lots of them. I would start at one end of the shelf and work my way to the other, after which I had a nice pile of stuff to peruse in the hours to come.
This was when I got hooked on comic books, an interest that would eventually wane in the middle of medical school some years later. But I read everything. News and general interest and entertainment and fitness and fashion. Lots and lots of fashion magazines.
It was during this time that American Vogue published its 100th issue. To celebrate this momentous milestone, it assembled the top ten supermodels to pose together for the cover. (This being the early 90s, supermodels were an actual thing.) That cover photo was the most captivating, coruscating piece of tinfoil for the magpie in my soul. It appealed to the completist in me (top ten! all of them!) and the absolute sucker that I am for glamour. Thenceforth I would look for them as I paged through the various photo shoots and advertisements in Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.
[Brief aside: Of all of them, Christy Turlington was one of the most prominent in terms of how often I saw her face. Years later, the Better Half and I were sitting one night in the little French bistro around the corner from our apartment in New York and in she strolled with her husband and some other guy. They sat two tables away. Allow me to correct anyone who thinks models aren’t really all that beautiful in real life. Christy Turlington is ridiculously beautiful. And even though we didn’t speak a word to her, we now refer to her as Our Close Personal Friend Christy Turlington.]
Over twenty years later, I can still name all ten from memory.
I remark on this for two reasons:
2) That little bit of cognitive flotsam may be the most idiotic, useless fact I know, seemingly cemented forever somewhere in my limbic system. Being able to name the top ten supermodels of 1992 is a life skill so stupid as to be almost profound.
So that’s this week’s Question (though I suspect I may have asked a similar one at some time in the past) — what is the single most utterly worthless thing you know? What occupies space in your gray matter that’s almost embarrassing for its presence? What can you scarcely believe you have retained?