Thursday, October 13, 2016


In Defense of Forgetting

     Do you remember what you ate for dinner Monday night? Do you remember what you wore to your daughter’s christening? Do you remember what your Horoscope said yesterday? 

      I am a performer. I memorize scripts and piano scores for my 45-minute one-woman show that I perform yearly in front of hundreds of people. I don’t use any notes or music. My memory is intact. Or so I thought. As a daughter of a father who died an excruciating death from Alzheimers disease, I am very sensitive to memory issues. My youngest daughter has a photographic memory. I have taken partial credit for that in my mind, as I have always remembered way more than I forget. Yesterday, however, I failed the memory test at my yearly “Wellness” check-up. For those of you under 60, this is a “free” exam that tests simple things like whether you can still swallow, whether your ticker is still performing and whether you can breathe deeply and exhale without falling off the table. The “Apple, Penny, Table” test, however, sent me to the bottom of the class. Asked at the end of the 20-minute exam to repeat the three words spoken by the doctor at the beginning, I could only remember “penny.” 

     Now some people my age, would never admit this result, but I choose to defend it. I remember the “code” for the shoes I bought at Nordstroms in May. I remember the phone number of the Comedy club I called two days ago. I remember what I wore to the ladies luncheon last week and how much I spent at the grocery store yesterday. These are important figures to keep in my head. “Apple, penny, table” have no meaning to me (except “penny,” because I count mine daily). I remember things that have meaning to me. If I forget the title of the book I just read, who effen cares. I read it. It’s done, over, finished. Why would I crowd my brain with that information? I need to keep sale prices and 16th notes fresh in my brain stem. Book titles, three little words I will never use “apple, penny, table” notsomuch. 

     I can spell, find my car in the parking lot, get to all the malls within a 100-mile radius, play 25 pages of musical notes, speak fluent French and know where I put my strapless. That’s all I need to know for my quality of life. Now what was I saying?