The other day my wife mentioned that I needed those pills that supposedly improve your memory. Unfortunately, neither of us could remember what they were called. What’s even more frustrating is that I had an amazing memory growing up. I could remember everything—dates, places, names of people, songs, TV shows, etc. In fact, my memory was so good that I was the go-to guy in my family for remembering things.
“Ask Brad, he’ll remember,” my Mom would say.
“Brad, what was the name of that actor?”
I knew the answer.
“Brad, where was that restaurant?”
I knew the answer.
“Who’s the best hitter in baseball?” my Dad would ask.
“Who won the Nobel Peace Prize?”
“The Nobel Peace Prize?” He looked at me as if I was from Mars.
“Give me a hint. What team did he play for?”
So maybe I had selective memory. Still, once I had something in my brain, it stuck.
For example, in college I took a Physics class taught by an Indian professor with a thick accent. Unfortunately, his accent was so thick that I barely learned a thing all semester. However, 20 years later, I still remember the only words he spoke clearly: “right” and “okay.”
I was also great at Trivial Pursuit which required a mastery of useless knowledge. And I had a vast supply of it ranging from The Brady Bunch (“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”) to the Periodic Table (Barium, Barium, Barium). Despite my knack for remembering things, I still managed to lock my keys in my car on more than one occasion.
These days, I no longer lock my keys in the car. However, I forget just about everything else— my wallet, cell phone, where the kids are, to put on underwear, etc. Thankfully, as I did for my parents, my kids are there to make sure I don’t forget things. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Make no mistake about why these babies are here, they’re here to replace us.”
My kids have this covered. My daughter’s short-term memory takes over when mine fails. My son’s long-term memory ensures no conversations or events are forgotten. Ever.
“Dad, remember when you cried when the Jets lost?”
“I wasn’t crying. My eyes were tearing from allergies.”
“No, Mom said you always cry when your teams lose. You cry all night long.”
So maybe it’s a good thing I don’t remember everything. Additionally, my memory isn’t quite as bad as I’ve made it out to be. I can still remember the names of people I bump into on the street –a day or two later. I know my wedding anniversary, birthdays, all my passwords, every member of the 1986 Mets and both Darrins from the TV show Bewitched.
What really concerns me is that my eyesight isn’t nearly as good as it used to be. I can no longer read the back of medicine bottles and find myself holding books and magazines further away than normal in order to see the print. How long before I need one of those cell phones with giant numbers? Did I just say this aloud? For this one brief moment, I’m hoping my memory fails me completely as I hope to never recall that horrifying image again. Unfortunately, my kids will never forget.
Copyright © 2010, Brad Manzo