Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ode to My Memory

Have you heard the informal test for Alzheimer’s?

Did you forget where you put your car keys? If so, not to worry. 

Do you remember what the car keys are for? If not, there may be a problem.

My memory has developed a few quirks. I DO still have a memory, so that’s something. I still know what the car keys are for. I don’t always know what today's date is, but can usually figure it out if I think it over carefully. Well, within one or two digits, anyway.

And come on, who doesn’t occasionally think it’s 1987 instead of 2012? What? You weren’t even born in 1987? Oh.

On an envelope, I may write a return address from three houses and fifteen years ago. Today I filled out a form with my maiden name. It’s been a while since I was a maiden. But isn’t maiden a lovely word? Makes me think of puffy sleeves, floppy hats, and daisy fields...

Sometimes I forget what I’m talking about.

I have trouble with student names that start with the same letter: Adam’s and Andrew’s, Jessica’s and Jennifer’s, Amanda’s and Ashley’s. I look right in the face of a co-worker of five years, and cannot, for the life of me, call up her name for what seems like a century but is probably only five seconds.

I pop into the grocery for peanut butter and toilet paper. One hour later and a hundred dollars lighter, I have  the peanut butter, only remembering the t.p. after I get home and find my list on the kitchen counter. If two items can be called a list. This is a serious situation. Our house runs on peanut butter and toilet paper.

My 82 year old mother, my sixty something husband, and I (yes! I am younger than two people in the universe!) have spirited discussions we call “name that actor.” Remember the guy, who acted with the blonde, and she was a waitress, who was really an heiress, no, not Cary Grant, not Van Johnson, not Errol Flynn, the heiress was Claudette Colbert, no, Joan Fontaine, no, the other blond, the one that died of kidney failure, and she dated the band leader or was it Mickey Rooney… what? You still remember the names of actors and their movies? Well then, never mind.

Items I do remember run to the peculiar. I remember all the words to the 1970s song, Ode to Billy Joe, by Bobbie Gentry. Quite a few lines from Hamlet’s soliloquy, Wordsworth’s “Daffodils,” and an obscure poem by Donald Justice are in my repertoire. 

I recall how to spell “arithmetic,” but only because I was taught the mnemonic A Rat In Tom’s House May Eat Tom’s Ice Cream. I remember the word mnemonic, but will never be able to spell it without help.

Help. H-E-L-P. Help. When is the National Spelling Bee this year?

Whew, almost lost my train of thought there for a minute. As I was saying, to be or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind...


  1. This is akin to a stand-up comedy routine. Seriously, get a mirror, hammer it into place, and make an appearance on U-Tube. You have a future here, and then you can hire a full-time assistant, to handle the memory portion of the show. I am certain that I will be smiling all day from this piece.

  2. I have this theory that as we get older, our brains get full and stuff starts falling out. Unfortunately, we have no control over what falls out and what stays in.

    Regarding sudden shifts in the mental space-time continuum, I recently answered the phone at the halfway house where I have worked for three years by saying, "The Village Flower Shop." Granted, I did work at the flower shop for ten years, but in the three years I've been at the halfway house, I've never had that slip-up.

  3. First, I like what Mark has suggested, you should make an appearance on U-Tube. You are seriously funny, Amiga. Second, what a rush it was to read all those actors you mentioned here. The only one I could talk to about all those old movie stars was with my Dad. He is gone now. So I LOVED remembering all those great names. Thank you, Melanie. :)

    Thirdly, I do the same things when I go shopping, and going with hubby doesn't help. I'll come home and realize that I forgot to buy the most important reason why I went shopping in the first place. BUT I also spent more than I was supposed to! LOL!

    Great post, Querida!

  4. My house runs on cheese and toilet paper. And I nearly always forget the toilet paper.