Friday, April 11, 2014

Unforgettable... that's what I'm not!

My husband has a poor memory, and is well-known for it. I used to think it was just things I told him that he’d forget.  Then I learned he's been this way since he was young; probably from one-too-many hits to the head during his football playing years.  As frustrated as I get when he doesn’t remember something I said, I'm glad of one thing:  he doesn't remember the exact details of every single thing I’ve said and done.  I'd never win an argument if he did!

I recently watched a program about the very few people who are "gifted" with Hyperthymesia—a condition where the person possesses an extremely detailed autobiographical memory of everything—whether they want to remember it or not.

I’m thankful I don't know anyone with that "gift".  I don't want the cold hard facts of my words or actions played back to me.  Those times when a throbbing headache might have made me a crazy woman over some random little thing, or a time when I thought I was saying something witty or clever and instead it sounded nasty.  My glaring “bad days” would flash like a strobe light in my loved ones brains.  Think about it… who of us is so perfect that we want every single thing in our life remembered?

My children are now in their early thirties, but I can still look back at their younger years and wish I’d have said and done a few things different.  What if they could remember, in great detail, all those mom-flubs of mine?  Would they readily forgive them even if they couldn’t ever forget?

In the TV program featuring people with Hyperthymesia, one was a boy about twelve years old.  It showed a conversation with his father, talking about his son.  “When he woke up the other day, he said ‘dad, this is a sad day.’  I asked him why, and my son said ‘we had a fight on this day last year and you yelled at me.’”  How sad! I felt awful for both the father and the son.  I definitely do not want anyone who knows me to have a steel-trap memory like that.

Imagine having an argument wreck a certain date for you each year, like a festering boil that never goes away.  Yes, I realize the pendulum can also swing the other way, and wonderful events can bring rainbows and sunshine to that particular date too.  But, because I’m a worry-wart, I choose to focus on the bad “what-if’s?”

So far, I have many wonderful memories from my life.  Am I remembering the events the way they really happened?  Probably not.  I’m sure the words are skewed, the pictures in my head, a little off.  But because they are my memories, I can remember as I want—without the “facts” getting in the way.

How are your memories?  Sharp and splendid?  Vague?  However they are, I hope they've become sprinkled with glitter, a little distorted and softened around the edges... memories that bring warm fuzzies ~ and unforgettable happiness. 


  1. Well said dear Lady.

  2. My mind is like a steel sieve. ;) As I tick off the years, I'm actually a little concerned about how my mind seems to let go of...most things. The good and the bad. Perhaps I should lay off the copious chocolate.

    Oh come now, that's just silly.

    Marilu Henner is a remember-all. She's written quite a few books and I would imagine she's addressed how she deals with her "gift." I think it's the kind of thing you really have to figure out how to control somehow, so it doesn't rule your life with all the "bad day" memories.

    It sure would come in handy, though, if you mistakenly put your keys in the fridge one busy day. Ehem. Not that I would ever do that, but it'd be nice not to upend your entire house like the Tazmanian Devil trying to find them because you couldn't remember, for the life of you, where the hell you put them. ;)

    1. I agree, Kelly, some things would be awesome (the time my husband and I would save looking for things... we could take a vacation!) but I would never want ALL that information crowding my thoughts.

      And, I especially wouldn't want anyone I care about to remember every stupid, thoughtless, crazy thing I ever said or did. They'd never talk to me again! ;)