An In-Depth Analysis of the Recovery of a Deep Memory

Dave HollisterIn college I used to listen to this R&B song on Winamp a lot. Somehow it always put me in a good mood. About a week ago, I thought of this and wanted to get it. Problem was, I could only remember the way it made me feel and the circumstances surrounding listening to it. I could only vaguely recall an impression of what the artist and song title looked like in Winamp. A memory like if you put on somebody else's glasses and then walk 30 feet away from your laptop and try to read something.

So I brainstormed using free association for three days—the intense kind of brainstorming where after a few minutes it's always "on the tip of your tongue." All I could come up with was something like a dessert or confection. A name with a warm tone that has something to do with a mountain, or being underground (in the hip sense). No luck.

Then last night, randomly, after at least a few days of not thinking about this, all of my dreams that I remember were situations revolving around solving this mystery. As if my subconscious mind built a physical construct in which to play out its investigation. In my dream, I was at a party, for instance, asking every single one of my friends about this artist/song, prompting them with things only like "he's an R&B artist who had this hit when I was in college." I would target people right when they left the bathroom so they wouldn't be distracted. I specifically thought that my friend Lamar Torrence would know who I'm talking about, probably because some people say he reminds them of my college roommate. I grew increasingly frustrated that I could not give people more clues, and that no one seemed to give a shit.

Then, I toured a $14 million dollar house just outside the premises of the party. A beautiful female real estate agent patiently led me around this house, explaining the amenities of each room with great detail and purpose, even though it was obvious I wasn't a potential buyer. I feigned interest anyway, taking in what she said. This, I can assume, was my brain digging deeper into every corner, trying to connect long lost neurons. That or I'm contemplating future foreclosure plans.

Finally, I realized there were Ferraris for sale in the garage, so I went into the showroom (actually some other rich dude's house) by myself. They all had the pedals removed for "security" purposes, though I found where all of the pedals were being displayed neatly on a rack inside the house. Suddenly I grew suspicious that the owner might catch me and think I was trying to steal a Ferrari. This is when I must assume my brain started making a solid connection to the artist/song I was looking for, because the next thing I knew, a name popped into my head: Dave Simmons.

I was only half asleep. Perhaps this was something like lucid dreaming. My conscious mind kicked in a little bit from excitement, and though I knew I hadn't hit the nail on the head, I figured I might be so close I could just use Google to finish it off.

Instead, more memories started flooding in.

The words "favorite girl" came into my head. "'My favorite girl," I thought.

Then I woke up. But it was hardly like waking from a dream. It was almost a continuation of my process of deduction. Like when I have dreams about following a trail of dropped quarters around my neighborhood and then wake up thinking I have enough quarters to retire on. Only this time I had something I could use.

I first Googled "Dave Simmons." No luck.

I then Googled "Favorite Girl." Only results for Justin Bieber's song "Favorite Girl."

I then Googled "R&B Favorite Girl." Nothing, nothing, nothing, BOOM, 6th result: "Dave Hollister - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I couldn't believe I had solved the mystery all on my own. But the name didn't even hit me like those times after you have something on the tip of your tongue and a friend calls it out and you're like, "OOOOOHHH yeah." It just felt like snapping the last button on a shirt.

Dave Hollister. Not too far from Dave Simmons if you think about the structure and letters in the last name. Maybe my hunches at warm, mountain and underground came from the fact that I associate Hollister with its unusually rugged and mysterious storefront, and dark wood tones and enveloping quality inside. Or maybe a 13-year-old cheerleader whispered in my ear, we may never know.

Looking at Dave's singles on Wikipedia I found 1999's "My Favorite Girl." But that wasn't even the song I was thinking of. In fact, after listening to it just now, I can't even remember ever hearing that song. The song I was thinking of was 2000's "One Woman Man," which reached #8 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop charts ("My Favorite Girl" reached #10.)

In conclusion, I can't tell you how the human mind works, but I CAN tell you that when it really wants to listen to a song, apparently it's willing to put in overtime. Next time you think you work too hard at your job, ask yourself, "Have I ever worked in my SLEEP?" Exactly. Oh, and attention RIAA, yes, I downloaded both. Illegally. Given my efforts up to that point, I felt I somehow deserved it. I will testify in front of myself to that.

Also, in case you were wondering, "Dave Hollister (born August 17, 1971) is an American R&B vocalist who found fame during the 1990s as one quarter of the Platinum-selling R&B quartet BLACKstreet before going on to a solo career." No diggity. (No doubt.)




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Jessica Lynn's picture

awesome story! i wish my dreams were that useful or exciting...house parties? Ferraris? the only dreams i have are running to catch a flight that i'm late for or running from someone trying to kill me.

Clearly this "song" you have been "searching for" is your brain's way of coping with numerous weekends of Satanic Ritual Abuse from a babysitter, possibly named "Holly".

Gavin Pitt's picture

Sorry, the Satanic Abuse comment was me. Forgot to log on. Possibly *also* as the result of SRA...

Court Sullivan's picture

ha! i was beginning to think somebody was trying to surface an ugly part of my childhood that i didnt know about. i even asked my mom who holly was and she said, "someday, when you're older, you'll understand..."