Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most!
Memory is something that has always fascinated me. I believe this is because I have always had such a poor one. I always did well in school, and had no problems with concepts, but ask me to memorize something and I struggled mightily. Learning French was hopeless for me. I have had to derive formulas for my physics exams in university from first principles during exams because for the life of me I couldn’t remember the bloody formulas.
I have developed several techniques to cope, especially with my atrocious inability to remember names. I have tried to link things together in my mind. This has led to numerous faux pas (notice the French!!) such as calling Mrs Swan, Mrs Peacock. I have tried lines like “I’m sorry but I have forgotten your last name” when the reality is I have forgotten both their names, and hope they will add the first name to the last.
Finally I have decided to be upfront and admit I don’t remember someone’s name. That seems to work quite well, at least for the first few times. I have started prefacing my introductions with the admission that I have a hard time remembering people’s names. Most people are quite sympathetic and often admit to a similar problem.
I use jokes like “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” “I have a mind like a steel trap, rusted shut.” “I have a photographic memory, but it’s underdeveloped” (this joke does not work with the under 30 crowd – be warned)
I have studied memory from a neurological perspective. There are some very pretty diagrams of how it all works. Lovely colours, lots of arrows. There is a structure in the brain called the Hippocampus which is really important. I have decided I must possess a “pygmy hippocampus” . I got that idea by watching a You Tube video on Pygmy Hippopotamuses. It seemed to make sense at the time.
Learning to live with this disability provides continual lessons in humility. Never do I suffer offense when someone forgets my name, in fact a closer emotion would be relief…”You too eh?” This is part of who I am. This is how God created me. There are much worse things people can suffer.