The millisecond that Dumb and Dumber clicks into focus on the television screen, something magical happens to me. It can be a terrible day, a stressful day, or a sick day, but within seconds of seeing Jim Carrey's bowl cut, I'm 10 years old again. The number of movies I have once memorized is small (The Lion King, A Few Good Men, and, inexplicably, While You Were Sleeping), but Dumb and Dumber is perhaps the only one where I have reasonably thought, "I could perform this entire film from start to finish, on my own." On multiple occasions in college, I think I tried.
I'm a creature of repetition when it comes to entertainment: Law and Order marathons drift by on lazy Saturday afternoons, Arrested Development episodes stream at night, and certain lugubrious British singers, particularly those sounding like they have a cold, play relentlessly in my earbuds. In all the hours I've spent re-consuming movies, shows, books, and songs, I could have learned a real skill, like playing an instrument or speaking several languages. Instead, I've perfected fake skills, like performing an uncanny impersonation of Jack Nicholson's final courtroom monologue.
Going back to the same pop-culture fare for seconds, thirds, and thirtieths isn't so abnormal. If anything, my re-consumption habits are tame compared to some of you, who have have read Harry Potter more than 10 times, watched Friday more than 100 times, and spent more of your waking life with The West Wing than Aaron Sorkin. Musicologists estimate that for every hour of music-listening in the typical person's lifetime, 54 minutes are spent with songs we've already heard. Forget the next big thing. We're all suckers for the last big thing.