Monday, May 16, 2011


I think I've finally discovered a couple of important reasons why old people tend to forget. One: They have too much to remember. Like a glass that gets filled to the brim: when you try to put anything else in it, it spills. Who has time or energy (or, in modern parlance, new memory receptors) for new information. My mind is too busy with the past. I don't remember last Christmas because, like Scrooge, my mind is already filled with the Ghosts of Christmas Past (like when I was a little boy).

Two: my senses are gone. I can't hear very well, can't see very well, can't smell the flowers very well. And see how long it takes me to pick up a coin on the counter? That's because it takes me three seconds to even feel it. So a new experience doesn't resonate with my sensory appreciation of it. Dull senses means dull and easily forgotten new memories.

Three: even if you could see, hear, smell, taste and touch everything now as acutely as you did in the past, it's all less important. When you're young and meet a new and striking person, you say: "Wow! This may be the most important person I'll ever meet. They may become my new love, my new boss, my new customer...the one that will put me over the top. I BETTER REMEMBER THEM! But, when you are older, you say, when meeting a new person or experiencing a new event: "So what?! The last thing I need is to fall in love again. Or: Another boss-y person! And...a new customer? I'm not selling anything anymore, anyway. And even if I was, there'll be someone else to come by and buy my product tomorrow. Forget it!

Four: The past is too great a friend. It is deliscious, tasty, and vivid. It recalls a time (and events) when one saw minute details of butterflies' wings, heard the sound of the wind, tasted the nuances in the skin of others you kissed. Those specific memories pushes the present away. It's like a good meal; you're so content digesting and remembering the taste of what you just swallowed that the last thing you want to do is stuff more food into your mouth.

The past is one's best friend. It's always with you. It's cheap. It's been paid for and delivered. You own it it. It's yours to arrange and re-arrange at your leisure. Who needs the present?! Forget it!


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