Well, to be honest, the title of this post really should read, “Things I Forgot the Name of This Week.”
I can remember back in the Days of Yore, perhaps thirty-five years ago, when reading a college textbook required an open dictionary by my side. Even though I aced “Word Power Made Easy” in high school, it didn’t translate to the comprehensive command of the English language that the university required. But I was bound and determined to try to understand everything I was supposed to be reading since I was in the midst of obtaining “higher education.”
The margins of my books were littered with notes and arrows and pithy comments, usually stolen from my pithy professors, and I used to pride myself on how well I knew what was going on in most of my classes, once I switched to a liberal arts major, that is. The World of Science is a safer, happier, and much more accurate place once I decided to leave it behind.
However, in the process, somewhere along the line I became edumacated which, in layman’s terms, means I know a little about an awful lot of things.
Of course this knowledge has yet to translate into either vast riches or wisdom, but it is good for knowing at least some of the answers during the early rounds of Jeopardy! — Merv Griffin (RIP) and Alex Trebek would not be impressed.
So, it is with some surprise lately that I have noticed the incomplete body of knowledge in my head become “incompleter.” Oh, I can still rattle off lines of nineteenth century German Sturm und Drang poetry, and I can almost not mix up most of Hemingway’s later novels, but I am becoming randomly challenged with connecting names with common objects or persons.
For instance, several days ago I was describing to a co-worker a pre-operative stress test my doctor put me through about seven years ago now. I guess it’s a pretty standard procedure. They give you a thorough physical and then make you go on the — what is it?
The following is a re-creation of my comments to him: “You know, you hop up on that thing. It’s like a machine. It’s got a conveyor belt-type thing. Like, the floor moves below you when you walk. And then I told them to speed it up and raise the incline or my heart rate would never get above 100. You know what I’m talking about? That thing that you walk on.”
To which he replied, “You mean a treadmill?”
“Yes. A treadmill! Good God, why couldn’t I remember the stupid name? It’s not like I’ve never seen or used one before.”
Then he added, “Are you sure they were testing your heart? Maybe they should have been looking at your head.”
Well, he had a point. After all, this latest incident was by no means anomalous. This phenomenon can happen at any time, and does.
I was in my car a few weeks ago, driving randomly around, when a song came on the radio — and it happened again. I knew the song, knew it was a female singing it (I’m not a complete moron, you know), and knew exactly what the singer looked like. Exactly.
I just couldn’t remember her name. It was on the tip of my tongue, but it was not forthcoming.
And so, in times like these, I continue to be actively annoyed by the absence of knowledge, with the image gnawing at me until I either eat something or forget about it. This time, neither happened.
And I stewed, and I wondered, and I hummed, and I sang (I was alone in my car, after all) until, Eureka!, I remembered.
It was Sheryl Crow, for crying out loud.
Or as Son would say, “Why do you listen to Sheryl Crow?”
Of course, that’s not the point. The point is, what’s going on here? Am I experiencing the early stages of dementia, or Alzheimer’s; or am I just getting older and forgetting a few items now and again? Or do I just have an occasional bad day?
I don’t have a clue. So, much like the other maladies that are an increasing component of my Daily Existence, I just try to do the best that I can with it. But unlike those other maladies which mostly annoy my family members, this one only annoys me.
I guess in that sense, turnabout is fair play.
But wait, there’s more! I have a secondary affliction that’s almost as bad as the first. It’s known as the “Where Did I Just Put Down That Thing I Had In My Hand A Minute Ago Syndrome.”
As you might imagine, combining the two can be quite deadly.
But there is an upside, as well.
Sometimes I forget that I had something in my hand in the first place and so the fact that it becomes lost has no effect on me.
I figure it must not have been that important anyway.