The Memory Song

Or was that the “I Forget Song”? A friend had loaned me a CD of Tom Rush’s music and that song was on it… along with “Old Blevins”, but I don’t recall the exact title.

How many of us have walked into a room and stopped in our tracks wondering why in the world we had made the trip? Most of us chalk it up to senility, but I think it’s the result of a too cluttered mind.

When we were young, all we thought about was food and sex. At all other times, we simply lived for the moment. When the mid-term exam was over, we went to get something to eat… or went out on a date. We didn’t think about how we did on the test until someone mentioned that the scores were posted.

As we got older (and wiser) we began to recognize other things in our lives. Now when we walk through the house, we notice that shirt that was accidentally dropped on the floor and we stop to pick it up. That might remind us that it may be time to do the laundry… rather than waiting for the weekend and taking it home for mom to do.

We may peek at the calendar on our way to the laundry room and realize it’s time to pay some bills. So, even though we had been on our way to the laundry room to do the laundry, we stop to perform a task with a higher priority. After writing a few checks and placing them in envelopes, we discover we’ve only one stamp left. We now recognize the need to go to the Post Office and decide that, while we’re out, we should pick up the dry cleaning and do some grocery shopping.

In other words, as we get older, out list of responsibilities grows. Sometimes I think that growth is exponential! The things that mom and dad used to take care of now must be done by us. As we recognize each new task, we learn to be alert for other things that our youthful selves thought happened by magic.

I think another problem is caused by the modern multimedia events in our lives. Elementary school teachers will tell you that modern technology has made their jobs much more difficult. Young children raised on Barney and Sesame Street expect a song and dance and a different scenario every few minutes. If teachers can’t keep the youngsters entertained, their little minds wander and, if their parents aren’t careful, the teacher diagnoses them with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and places the kids on drugs.

What happened to “Just Say NO!”?

Multimedia affects senior citizens in a different manner. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a news story and wanted to make a comment about it, but held my tongue because I didn’t want to interrupt my bride as we continued to watch other news stories. If I was lucky enough to remember what I wanted to say by the time they came to a commercial break, I was then hit with the “teasers” – the three or four items that were coming up after the break. By the time the commercial started, I’d be sitting there trying my best to recall what it was I wanted to say… with no luck. My brain had been overloaded. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me… I would if I could… but I can’t remember.

Recognizing the problems helps somewhat. As I leave the house to pick up the dry cleaning, buy stamps, and do the grocery shopping, I’ll take a dining room chair and place it in the middle of the living room. With luck, I’ll get home before my bride. If Lu gets home first, she’ll put the chair where it belongs and wonder why I left it there. If she forgets to ask me, I’ll forget to do the laundry. If I get home first and see the chair out of place, I’ll know it was left there to remind me to do something. With luck, I’ll remember what that something was.

What I really hate is thinking of something important while driving. Usually we have paper and pencil in the car and I’ll try to scribble a message to myself as I try not to lose control of the vehicle. Stop signs and red lights help, but they’re not always available. Sometimes the paper and pencil isn’t available and I have to do something else to remind me. I’ve been known to drive for miles holding whatever object I can find… hopeful that, like a string tied around a finger, anything out of place will remind me of whatever it was I’m trying to remember. Sometimes it actually works.

Hopefully I’ve made my point. In all honesty, I don’t recall what point I was trying to make.


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