Saturday, November 27, 2010

You can ask my sister about this one

Wow. That cranberry sauce was really sweet. Remind me to use about half as much raw sugar as regular. Wow.

I have a problem. My brain is not like other people's. I have an unusually large capacity for mostly useless facts. This comes in handy on very rare occasion. Sadly, they are not the kind of facts that normally appear on Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy, or I'd be a zillionaire. They are things like knowing that "victuals" is properly pronounced "vittles." Or that Harry S. Truman's middle name was really just S. I am like Nigel Murray on Bones minus the charming accent.

Due to this large capacity for useless knowledge, I have precious little capacity for information useful for day-to-day life. The people around me don't understand this and consequently are frequently hurt by or annoyed with me. I try. I really do. I put everything into my computer calendar and set up a reminder. Sometimes I get distracted by something shiny before I have a chance to open my calendar. Or I put it in, but forget to set up the reminder. And before I know it my friend is knocking on the door just as I'm about to get in the shower at 2pm.

My problem is further complicated by the way my brain is arranged. I imagine most people have a brain like this:


Black is the base knowledge suppository. Red dots are things like "Doctor's Appointment Tomorrow," "Pay Electric Bill," and "Put on Pants." The vent hole is out the top. Once the time to know a certain thing has passed, the person can remove it, allowing space for adding new important things.

This is my brain:


Notice how the capacity is much smaller, and the vent hole is out the side. I can't intentionally remove things out the top like other people can. No, some things just sit in there until they turn black and sink into the lower portion.

I will forever remember that the Norman invasion was in 1066, even though that's information I have not needed since grade school and will probably never need. But somehow, at one point, my brain deemed it worthy of the "permanent knowledge" designation. Meanwhile, the things you see falling out the side are things like, "Feed Children," and, "Christmas is December 25th," and, "You Have Friends. Call Them."

I'm not a particularly busy person. I'm not overwhelmed by Things to Do. But once there are a few really large items inside--things that can't escape the vent hole ("Moving!" "Friend X Is Having a Baby (But I Can't Remember When)!")--, all the little stuff ("Friend Y Is Coming for Dinner," "You Are Going out for Coffee on Tuesday.") starts popping out willy-nilly. It doesn't matter if it's stuff that's important to me. If it's not completely life-altering, I can't remember it. To make matters worse, when I am under even the smallest amount of stress, my brain both shrinks and produces a kind of lubricant that makes ejection of important facts even more frequent.

This is why these past couple of months have been especially frustrating for me (and, I'm sure, for my friends and relatives). I'm a little stressed out, we have a few huge things coming up, AND the permanent knowledge field is slowly--ever so slowly--filling up with random facts.

My theory is that Alzheimer's will strike the day my entire brain is black, and the vent-hole can move no further up; at that point, permanent knowledge will begin to spill out as well. The distress this creates will cause my brain to shrink to the size of a walnut, until there's nothing left in there but basic motor function.

Is this a morbid view of my future? Yes. Yes it is. But if I consider it inevitable now, I may one day be pleasantly surprised. In the meantime, dear friends, please forgive my forgetfulness. It doesn't mean I don't love you dearly. I just can't remember your name anymore.


  1. One of my favorite entries of yours!!! SO TRUE!!!

  2. Low memory function has it's uses. You know that favourite book? The one you loved the first three hundred times you read it? Put it away for a month. Poof! New book!!!

  3. Hah! That's awesome. This explains why I can read the same books over and over again without getting tired of them.

  4. Just in case it makes you feel any better:

    This morning at breakfast, my husband checked our synched calendars online on his little fancy phone-a-ma-do-bobby and said, "hey- do you have PlayGroup today?" Which I had totally forgotten about even though I organize the darn thing. Get myself and children dressed and out the door in one hour and counting... And then last week I forgot my wallet at the gym which was never returned by whomever found it. And have I ever mentioned how glad I was that I was actually home one afternoon when Kandi showed up at my house with two little girls for me to babysit. Yep, I'd forgotten until the doorbell rang. Anyhow, I'm not saying that I deserve more pity than you. I'm just saying that I can sympathize. I'm sorry. If you find a magic pill to combat the lamebrain madness, please let me know.

  5. You know, don't you, who you got this from. . .
    Um . . .
    Uh . . .