A cartoon that appeared in the New Yorker magazine several months ago -- I forget exactly when -- showed a woman saying to her husband, “If I ever say something I haven’t said before, let me know.”
And so another annoying aspect of getting older makes itself evident.
I have explained to my grandchildren that my head is so full of knowledge acquired over the years, that there isn’t room for any more. New knowledge bounces off my brain, rebuffed by all the stuff that has crammed into my head for, shall we say, many years.
I remember the early stuff: Mount Mansfield is 4,393 feet high. I learned that in fifth grade and it’s still in there. This morning I was introduced to someone who recently moved into the neighborhood. Have no idea what the guy’s name is. Had it been George Clooney, I would have made room for it, but being ordinary, it bounced off.
Once I ran into someone whom I knew I had been introduced to and couldn’t remember the name. So I tried, “How is it you spell your last name?” “S- M-I-T-H,” was the answer accompanied by a look that said, “Gotcha!”
My husband and I once ran into a woman in downtown New Haven and she was introduced as “Mrs. Blum.” I giggled thinking he couldn’t remember her name and was mumbling something, trying to fake it. “No,” he assured me, “Her name is Mrs. Blum.”
Parties these days are landmines of forgetfulness. Starting with a memory that’s already on shaky ground, one must beware of the effects of as little as a half glass of wine will have. I now avoid saying “It was so good to see you again,” because I’m not sure that I ever did. It even takes a certain amount of courage to venture forth with “So, how are your kids?” They might not have any, or worse, hate the ones they do have.
I pride myself on remembering the daily pills, prescriptions and vitamins that keep my machine well oiled. The one pill I’m always forgetting is the one I take once a week.
A great source of pride to me is that I remember all my siblings’ (seven of them) birthdays. Being the competitive bunch that we are, we make the birthday calls early in the day in case some one beats us to it and assume it is forgotten. And e-mail is always a good back-up.
Of course I remember the birthdays of my children (as well as their exact birth weights), and those of their children and spouses. Anniversaries are hit or miss.
I do forget most of the items on my grocery list, having forgotten to bring the list along. I may be sure to forget a small but essential ingredient in something I am baking.
Most of the stuff I have forgotten is of low priority. How important is it to yell out Jeopardy answers when I’m alone in the living room and there’s no money to be made.
Sometimes I wish I could clean out some of the nonsense and make room for important things.
Did you know the state flower of Alaska is the forget-me-not?
Did I write this column before?