My friend Jacques often says: “My memory is good, but my forgetter is better.” I’ve adopted this quote and find myself using it frequently. However, I’m not one who worries about whether I’m getting early-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia. I accept that I’ve temporarily forgotten something and that it will come back to me quickly. It usually does, after I’ve stopped trying to remember it.
Back in my Navy days, remembering names was never a challenge. All I had to do was stand on my tiptoes and quickly glance inside the rim of the other person’s
name, neatly stenciled on their white hat. Too bad we don’t all wear stenciled hats these days.
I find that mnemonic devices work well with short shopping lists. Sometimes word associations can be problematic though. I once had the opportunity to introduce Gary, an acquaintance whose last name matched that of a particular bird.
“I’d like you to meet Gary Swallow,” I said.
“It’s Sparrow!” he corrected.
I was very embarrassed. I’m sure I turned redder than a cardinal.
Since retirement, “What day is this?” has initiated many conversations between my wife and me. When she asks the question, I respond, “I don’t know, let me
I look at my reference. “It must be Tuesday, because the Monday compartment of my pillbox is empty,” I say.
“Are you sure Mike?”
“Not really,” I sigh. “It might be Wednesday and I’ve forgotten to take my Tuesday pills.”
As a last resort, I look at the wall calendar. From three rooms away I yell, “It’s Sunday the 24th. Wait! Why am I looking at December?”
“I’m sorry,” she replies. “I wanted to see when Marcel got his last heartworm pill and forgot to flip it back.”
Things are much easier now. I’ve finally developed my new habit of crossing off the date each evening just before my prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father,” I say. “Thank you for another day of life and for how you provide for me. Please forgive my trespasses. Help me to be a better person tomorrow than I was today. But if it be your will Father, please don’t let my forgetter get any better.”
Michael Wright owns several books devoted to improving the memory.
He plans to read them once he finds them. If you know where he may have
put them, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.