The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

February 6, 2013

Use it or lose it

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 — I been trying to remind myself to write a column about how bad my memory is. But I kept forgetting to do it.

To say that I have a bad memory is an understatement. I’d try to compare how bad my memory is with someone famous who had the same problem. I know some celebrity or politician has certainly had some sort of “I don’t recall” moment that made them look foolish in the process.

But, here again, I can’t seem to recall myself.

When I come home from work, I always have a pocket full of notes I’ve written to myself. I’ll jot something down, put it in my pocket and forget the thought or the fact I even put the note in my pocket moments later.

Then, when I empty my pockets and read the notes, memories, ideas and thoughts from the day just seem to rush from my brain. However, if I don’t act quickly or at least put all the notes down onto one sheet of paper, I’ll forget them all together.

I’m “only” 42, so I don’t think I’ve got a case of Alzheimer’s settling in. I was this way when I was 16 years old. It’s been so much a part of my life that I forget sometimes that … well, I’m forgetful.

I recall an episode of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” a cartoon television show on Nickeloden (Gee … I forgot how much I loved that show). In it, SpongeBob was told he really had to remember something. Cut to a scene inside his brain where little SpongeBobs are dumping cabinet files full of information and burning them with reckless abandon just so he can remember that one important thing. But, in the process, he forgets other much more important things.

That’s my brain on a constant basis. And it’s not just a quick, controlled burn. It’s more like a peat fire in the woods that never really goes out. It just smolders and continues to burn slowly.

I have to remind myself to tell people that I use a digital recorder to record any interview because I’m forgetful.

This year, I forgot my parents’ birthday. It’s not hard to remember because my dad’s birthday is Jan. 2, the day after New Year’s. You’d think I’d remember that since my birthday is Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. My mom’s birthday is basically a week later, on Jan. 10.

But it wasn’t until I called them on Friday during my weekly phone conversation that my mom reminded me that “someone recently had a birthday.”

If I were driving at the time, I’d probably have run off the road and hit a ditch in embarrassment. Nothing like having your mom, the person who carried you to full term before you were born, to remind you that you forgot not only her birthday, but your dad’s, too.

Birthdays are supposed to be easy for me to remember. My wife’s is a week before Valentine’s Day. My oldest sister’s is two days after my parents’ anniversary, in March. My youngest sister and one of my two nephews have a birthday a day apart in August, the 11th and 12th. I can’t remember which one is which, so I make a point to send a card to both.

My other nephew has a birthday on April 22. I remember it only because 11x2 is 22, the 11 in reference to either my sister or my oldest nephew. Again, I fail to recall.

We’ve all heard the phrase about how we only use 10 percent of our brain. Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying something like that (I don’t remember his exact words). Science.com has a story that basically debunks that theory.

It says we have 100 billion neurons that fill the brain, in addition to other types of cells that control everyday things we do. Damaging just one small part of the brain could greatly affect how you do things such as speaking. Brain scans have also proven that the brain is constantly functioning and that the only way part of it would not be working is if it were damaged.

And here I was all excited that, maybe, I could somehow untap the remaining 90 percent to help myself out.

I certainly don’t think I’ve ever had any kind of head injury that has caused me to be this way. Though if I did, I certainly don’t remember it. And, if someone told me I did, I likely forgot it.

So my wife will have to continue to remind me of things she told me about a couple of days ago. I’ll continue to keep the paper and pen companies in business by my constant note-taking, and I’ll definitely continue to give people reasons to believe I’m slowly losing my mind.

But hey, I don’t consider my lack of memory necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like I have to remind myself to breathe. I haven’t forgotten how to walk and chew gum at the same time, I certainly haven’t forgotten how to eat and it’s not like I’ve ever locked myself out of my own house.

Oh wait … I have done that. Three times. In about six months. I forgot about that.

Now … what were we talking about?

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 11, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 10, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 10, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content