Personal Health  
comments_image Comments

You Can't Remember Half the Things You Used to -- How Much Does That Matter?

While memories may be all you have of the past, they're not all there is to being alive. There is something more.

Continued from previous page


Stop! Enough Already! We've Been Through All This. Isn't There Anything to Be Done?!!

Basically, no. You may die tomorrow. (In fact, you may die today.)

What good will memories do you then?

At the same time, you might:

Brush after every meal.

Do crossword puzzles.

Drink less.

Exercise daily.

Learn a foreign language.

Memorize poems.

Play sudoku.

Reminisce with friends.15

Stop daydreaming and pay attention.

Stop telling yourself you have a bad memory.

Stop whining.

Stop worrying.

Take a memory class.

Take gingko biloba.

Take St. John's wort.

Take whatever those Chinese herbs are that help your memory.16

Treasure the dwindling number of memories you've managed to retain.

Write more stuff down.You have a feeling that there was one more thing you could do, but, try as you can, you can't remember what it was.17

1. Ed. Note: Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox,.369.

2. Ed. Note: You left them in your overcoat.

3. Ed. Note: Olympic Office Supply Corp.

4. Ed. Note: You did.

5. Ed. Note: Jimmy Buffett.

6. Ed. Note: "Forgetting of Names and Order of Words," Chapter 3 of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901)

7. Ed. Note: No.

8. Ed. Note: You mean the 1892 poem by Rudyard Kipling, not the 1939 movie base upon it.

9. Ed. Note: And the two of you need a third guy for the area code.

10. Ed. Note: "Palin-like bumbling and confusion" might be more up-to-date.

11. Only you know the answers to these questions.

12. Ed. Note: Martin Balsam for A Thousand Clowns.

13. Ed. Note: You did and you have. (If this sounds like bragging, that's because it is. You have to admit it: as proud as you are of your (relative) honesty, you're not shamed by your ever-increasing ignorance.)

14. Ed. Note: Anything, that is, other than where you left those damn keys. (At least for now, anyway.)

15. "During the twenty years of Odysseus' absence, the people of Ithaca retained many recollections of him, but never felt nostalgia for him. Whereas Odysseus did suffer nostalgia, and remembered almost nothing.

"We can comprehend this curious contradiction if we realize that for memory to function well, it needs constant practice: if recollections are not evoked again and again, in conversations with friends, they go. Emigres gathered together in compatriot colonies keep retelling to the point of nausea the same stories, which thereby become unforgettable. But people who do not spend time with their compatriots, like . . . Odysseus, are inevitably stricken with amnesia." Milan Kundera, Ignorance.

16. Ed. Note: Mai Men Dong, Sheng Di Huang, Tian Men Dong, Xuan Shen, among others.

17. Ed. Note: Laugh.

See more stories tagged with: