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Front Page » March 5, 2002 » Opinion » Remembering Not to Forget
Published 4,647 days ago

Remembering Not to Forget


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By JAMES L. DAVIS

Have you seen those Palm Pilots that seem to be the new "in" thing? Apparently they are the equivalent of a memory expansion pack for your own brain, allowing you to remember things that you would otherwise forget. They sound great to me. I need about three of them. I also need them to be surgically attached to my body, otherwise I'll just leave them somewhere and forget exactly where that somewhere might be.

The reason I need something like a Palm Pilot is because I have a nasty tendency of trying to go in several different directions at the same time and when I finally do reach my destination I forget exactly what I'm there for. My kids like to watch me when I do things like that and then they'll say something along the lines of "you're getting old Dad." While that may be true, I know of thousands of people who are older than I am who seem to remember not only who they are, but what they are supposed to be doing at any given time.

The other two staff members of the Emery County Progress, aware that I am woefully lacking in both short and long term memory, do their best to help me remember what I am supposed to be doing. There must be a dozen calendars in the office, each one of them listing what meeting or appointment is going on when, why and where. The problem with so many calendars is that they have become a form of wallpaper for me. I look at them all the time, but I don't actually see them.

Because of that I routinely ask people (sometimes even complete strangers) if they have any idea what I am supposed to be doing.

What makes me wonder about my memory (or the lack thereof) is why does my brain choose to remember certain things and completely disregard other items? For instance, last time I checked I could recite from memory every line of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. But I can't remember if I've closed the door to my house three out of four days I pull out of the driveway, so I have to stop the car and go back to check.

What alerted me to this memory problem I seem to have developed is a day last week in which I forgot virtually everything that was scheduled for the day. Because of that I received a call from the office asking me if I remembered that scouts were visiting that afternoon. I did not remember that fact, but after being reminded I distinctly remember having written it on the calendar. Being far from the office my faithful staff covered for their memory-impaired coworker and after kicking myself for forgetting yet again, I reminded myself to try harder to remember in the future. But what I didn't realize is that I had not yet forgotten everything for the day.

A little later I spoke to my daughter and she informed me that her brother had not yet made it home from school. I told her not to worry and immediately after hanging up the phone I began to worry. Because my son is very responsible and if he had some activity going on after school he would have talked to me about it. Ten minutes later I called back and he still hadn't made it home. So I climbed in my car and rushed for home, my mind swirling with terrifying thoughts of what could have become of my son. Just as I was pulling into Orangeville I called my home again and asked my daughter if her brother was home and she said yes, he had just gotten home from his hair appointment.

Now the funny thing about that was not only was I the one who made my son's hair appointment, but I had reminded him in no uncertain terms before he went to school to not forget the hair appointment. Of course, I had forgotten completely about that.

My children had a good laugh at my expense when I walked in the door. I wish I could say that was the end of my forgetfulness for one day, but it was not. It wasn't because my daughter had gymnastic classes that evening. I am proud to say that I did not forget about those classes, no sir, but I did forget what time they were held. So when we walked into the gymnastics studio we wondered why there was no one else there. So I asked and was told that no, my daughter's gymnastics class did not begin at 6:30, it ended at 6:30. As I walked back out to my car with my daughter shaking her head sadly at her father I looked at her and said rather meekly, "No, your dad is not crazy. I'm just losing my mind."

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March 5, 2002
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