essays

I can remember where... but not always when

superbowl trophyLike most people, I suppose, I have trouble remembering things on command.

If you demand that I tell you who won Superbowl XX, I'll answer without thinking (and I'll be right).* But ask me who won the Superbowl just this year and I'll go blank.**

I'd probably fail miserably as a contestant on Jeopardy, even though, from my couch at home, I can more than hold my own against the even the longest-running champions.

But going all-deer-in-the-headlights when asked a direct question is the least of my memory defects.

Where I really get into trouble is that I can remember things in perfect detail, on which side of which drawer in which cabinet -- but the memory has no temporal component.

In other words, I remember that the socket wrench set is in a cabinet in the basement -- and it was there, too, until about a year ago when Middle Son borrowed it and didn't return it.

I remember that the Smith case applies in this fact pattern and that I it extensively in a brief I'd written -- but I can't always tell Billy Pilgrimyou whether that brief was written one year ago or 30.

Long Suffering Spouse will ask me if I know where something is -- and I'll remember where it used to be -- at our old house, at least 15 years ago.

Today, I was doing a quick bit of library research and I came across a case I knew I'd seen before and used to get a favorable result in a situation similar to the one I'm facing now. But I had to guess when.

I could search the case name on my computer -- but it wasn't when I was in that office, nor was it when I was of counsel to that other guy -- I finally found it in my current business directory -- and it's only been a couple of years since I used it.

I have a good memory -- but it's unstuck, like Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, in time.

* The Chicago Bears, of course. Their one and only Superbowl victory.

** The New York Giants. I had to look this one up. I remembered the game was in Indianapolis, but only because Older Daughter lives there.

Curmudgeon is a self-described dinosaur -- an Ozzie and Harriet person living in an Ozzy and Sharon world. And sometimes it confuses the heck out of him. He writes a very amusing blog at Second Effort.

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