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Warning: Mnemonics Can Cause Histrionics

A loving text from my husband to me yesterday morning.

“O.K.  not your boyfriend’s nickname?” was his joking response.

“Ha.”  As if.  With a husband named Cap’n Firepants, who needs an Idiot for a boyfriend?

Despite my husband’s seeming alarm, he is quite used to my unconventional methods of reminding myself of things.  It really didn’t surprise him at all that I would add a memo to our electronic family calendar so I could remind myself that one of my favorite bloggers was having surgery and I was supposed to send the patient some good thoughts that A.M.

Just that morning, as a matter of fact, I had employed two other memory techniques that just made Cap’n Firepants shake his head.

When he was about to get in the shower, I said, “By the way, your razor is in my makeup organizer in my medicine cabinet.”

He paused.  “Uh, why?”

“Well, I remembered late last night that I needed to ask you about those gift cards before you left for work.  You were already asleep, so I figured if I stuck your razor in my medicine cabinet, you would ask me if I knew where it was after frantically searching for ten minutes, and I would remember that I needed to ask you.”

He shook his head, told me where the gift cards were hidden, and headed in for his shower.

I continued to get ready for work.  Thirty minutes later, I grabbed the presents I was bringing to work with me and headed out the door.  Except my keys weren’t in the key bowl.

“Gosh darn it.  Where are my keys?” I was already running late.  Geez! Oh yeah. In the refrigerator.  That’s where I put them when I need to remember to bring something to work.  What was I supposed to remember?  The presents.  That were already in my hands.  So, basically, I remembered the items I was afraid I would forget, but not the device I was using to help me remember them.  Typical.

Once, I went on a trip to an education conference when our daughter was really little.  So, my husband’s parents came to stay with him to help out while I was gone.  I called the first evening to see how things were going.

“Guess what my parents found in the freezer?”  Cap’n Firepants asked me.

“Uh, chicken?”




“Oh!!!!!  My keys?”


Now I was really perplexed.  “Just tell me.  What?”

“Your curling iron.”

Oh yeah.  I had put it there to cool it off really quick before I stuck it in my suitcase.  So, now his parents not only thought I was a bad cook, but that I somehow figured cylindrical hair appliances belonged in one of the food groups.

If I had programmed a calendar reminder to look for my keys in the fridge to remind me to pull my curling iron out of the freezer, my in-laws would never have discovered what a whacko their son had married.  At least for another month or so.

I should be thankful, I suppose, that when the “Idiot’s Surgery” reminder popped up on my husband’s phone he did not promptly text me to ask what time my surgery was scheduled for that day.  Married to me for eleven years, and he still does not immediately jump to the conclusion that I’m an idiot.  There’s that.


Some Signs that I May Need Help

courtesy of "Tim" on Flickr

Dimples got a new book yesterday, “How to Be the Best at Everything”.

Since, I have been striving to be perfect for over 40 years, I was eager to read a 100 page book that would let me in on the secret.

So I randomly opened the book to one of the middle chapters to see what information Fate wanted me to glean first.

How to Improve Your Memory

Really?  Could the darn book have been more prescient?  I mean, it’s like the author was actually one of the two people who read my blog. My memory problems are what I complain about on a regular basis as I try to get people to believe that aliens or terrorists are trying to wipe out our remarkable recall skills by poisoning our food.

This is how bad my memory is.  Two years ago, I got a ticket driving in a school zone on a street that connects the two schools where I work.  Don’t get me started on how there is no school in sight of the actual zone, or that it’s not one of those helpful, solar-powered flashing light signs.  Or that there were no students anywhere in the vicinity because they were actually IN SCHOOL!

As you may have perceived, I was pretty p.o.’d about that ticket.  And the attitude of the police officer did not improve my feelings.

You would think, with the strong emotions that episode yielded, I would be more careful from then on in the school zone.

Nope.  Oh, I spent a few months driving way out of my way to avoid the school zone altogether, but I finally decided that was ridiculous.  All I had to do was not speed.  Jeez, how hard is that?

Apparently, for me,  pretty friggin’ hard.  Here is a typical trip from one school to t’other during the school zone time:

I get in the car and lecture myself that I must remember the school zone.  I pull out of School #1‘s parking lot at 20 mph, and turn the corner.  I go down the street that leads out of School #1’s neighborhood, chanting the mantra, “School Zone, School Zone, School Zone” the entire time.

I reach School Zone street, but it’s not the Zone yet.  It’s 35 mph.  “Don’t forget, don’t forget, don’t forget.”

I start thinking about what Wonderbutt might be currently redesigning in my house.  Pass the School Zone sign.  Crap.  “YOU FORGOT AGAIN.  YOU ARE SO LUCKY THERE ISN”T A COP WAITING RIGHT THERE.  SLOW DOWN, YOU FOOL!”

Red light.  Still in the School Zone.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  Wonder what my next blog is going to be about…

Green light.  Let’s go!


Every time.

Wait a second.  What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah.  The book.  I have a feeling this chapter is not really going to help me.

I’m going to check out the chapter on “How to Survive an Alien Invasion” instead.

Autocorrect – the Perfect Scapegoat

I can’t shut off my Autocorrect. There seems to be some kind of weird reset to default feature that does not allow me to keep it permanently quashed.
I should probably explain that I am not talking about the Autocorrect on my phone. That one works fine. In fact, I prefer to leave it on so I don’t have to worry about typing apostrophes in my contractions.
The Autocorrect to which I am referring has been following me around, kindly amending my statements for about five years now. Yes, it appears that Dimples has assigned herself to be my own personal Autocorrect. Usually she corrects my memory of things. This is not the kind of Autocorrect I would like. When she is right, it is just plain annoying, and when she is wrong it is also plain annoying. And I can’t click on an x to refuse her version. Or change her settings.
I could happily survive without the Dimples’ version of Autocorrect, but I do wish the verbal portion of my brain had autocorrect. Although much maligned, it can be a pretty handy tool. When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t work, its pretty darn funny.
You are probably familiar with the website Damn You Autocorrect. This is my go-to Favorite when I am in a funk. It invariably makes me laugh so hard I cry. I don’t care if some of them are made up. I just like imagining the two people on either end of those text messages.

My linguistic goofs are never that funny. They are usually just awkward. But if I had Autocorrect, I would either have less goofs or more comedic moments. I’m good with that.
I really like the idea of being able to blame Autocorrect when I say the wrong thing. “Oh, did I say ‘When is your baby due? Stupid autocorrect! WhatIMeant2say was ‘Is your Mercedes blue?’ …
“No, Dimples, of course I didn’t say that woman dresses like a skank. I meant like a skunk. Yep, every Halloween… Stupid Autocorrect.”

Have I Got a Deal for You!

If a scientist could figure out a way to take a picture of the actual bits of information stored in my brain, the photo would be featured on the next particularly horrifying episode of Hoarders.

Those of you who know me might wonder if I am overestimating the amount of paraphernalia in my brain; many people assume there is nothing in there. But I assure you that this girl’s noggin is packed full of information.  It’s just that most of it is completely useless to me.  Or to anyone else, for that matter.

Actually, that may not be true.  I mean, have you seen the useless things that people will buy off of eBay?  If you can auction off a dictator, why not a worthless memory?  One man’s trash, etc…

If Craig’s list had a category for worthless memories, you can bet I would be listing some things on it.  Anyone want to buy the phone number from my first house?  That one still sits on top of a pile in my brain.  How about the name of my first grade teacher?    Or the type of cigarettes my dad used to smoke before he quit over 20 years ago?  Why are these so easy to reach when I have to dig through rooms stacked with detritus to find my driver’s license number?

I’ve tried recycling them.  Turning them into passwords or tossing them into stories I’m writing.  When I tried to name our daughter after my first grade teacher so I wouldn’t have a new name to remember, my husband put his foot down.  Inexplicably, I can now remember the name of our daughter’s first grade teacher, 3 years later, but my daughter still gets called by the dog’s name on a regular basis.

I don’t have to sell these junk recollections.  I’d be fine with setting them on the porch for Goodwill to pick up.  Or paying for a storage unit for my memories in The Cloud.

But, since there seems to be no “approved” disposal site, I’m considering throwing some money under the table for someone to pack all of that trash away to an illegal dumping ground.

Or lighting a match and collecting the insurance.

Anyone looking for some extra cash?

Why Aren’t They Called Doughnuts?

I love cookies.  I am the Cookie Monster of the 21st century.  If you take away my cookies,  I will hunt you down.

I am talking internet website cookies.  The ones that remember things for you, like where you have visited, what you have already purchased on that site, and, most importantly, your login and password.  As we have already established, I have a memory problem.  And passwords are about 99% of my problem.

I realize it’s very Big Brother to have these sites tracking everything I do.  And I should probably resent the privacy intrusion.  But I’m getting to the point that I just don’t care.  Kind of like when I didn’t care when I was delivering my baby and my husband and 4 perfect strangers were watching the situation unfold on a mirror on the ceiling.  I had more important things to worry about than my sudden lack of privacy.

So when I periodically have to clean things off of my hard drive and cookies go with them, I get a little cranky.  Suddenly, the sites that have been greeting me by name have no idea who I am.  And I don’t either.

Which person was I when I started my Amazon account?  And what was my password du jour?  I started my internet identity as a fairly whole person, then gradually started splitting into multiple personalities as I attempted to cleverly outwit the brilliant hackers that are tracking every keystroke.

A psychiatrist would have a field day sifting through all of these identities.  Which is fine.  If he can make some sense of them, and discover the *&!@#$#! passwords, I would consider it worth the $1,000 per hour.

I get e-mails on a regular basis (addressed to various different identities) reminding me that I haven’t visited lately, and I feel like a blackout drunk trying to recall when I ever even visited the first time.  I am constantly hitting the “forgot password?” link because, God forbid, there is no regulatory commission for passwords, and different sites have different rules for length, number of letters and numbers you can use.  Many times, I hit the password link, only to be told that I never registered for that site to begin with.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if there suddenly seems to be a long lull in my blogging, don’t call the police or anything to report that I’m missing.  First of all, remember my Phobia about stuff like that.  And secondly, I probably just forgot my !@$%! blog password.

Have You Forgotten Something Lately?

Terrorists are poisoning our food.

How do I know this? Because everyone I know is having trouble remembering things.

At first, I thought it was just me. But my daughter and husband seem to have caught the disease, as well. Since my daughter is 8, I ruled out age-related dementia in her case. Since I am more than eight, but less than, say 95, I decided to rule it out in my case as well.

I got the ceiling material from our house tested for asbestos. Negative. So I can’t blame our popcorn ceiling. Although the list of asbestos-related problems, from what I can recall from the mesothelioma commercial that I hear every morning, (pretty much the only thing I can remember) does not include memory loss.

If it were just my family, I would seriously consider genetics. But I notice it in my friends and perfect strangers as well. I called someone the other day to schedule an appointment, and he said he would call me back. When I didn’t hear from him, I tried again. “Oh, yeah, I remember you,” he immediately assured me when I mentioned I had called a couple of days ago. Pause. “What was your name again?”

That may not sound so bad. People forget names all of the time. But do they forget the most repeated names in history? Like Paul Revere? So, uh, who was Paul Revere warning about what exactly, Mrs. Palin, former vice-presidential candidate? And, while we’re at it, can you clarify for me again when North Korea became our ally?

So, when I conducted my highly scientific study of the possible causes of this obvious plague of memory loss, I concluded, mostly based on the fact that a flooring contractor, Sarah Palin, and I have pretty much nothing in common other than our nationality, that this is an especially insidious (and ingenious) form of terrorism.

I haven’t pinpointed, yet, the actual culprit behind this grand, slow-acting plan. But when I do, I’ll let you know.

What was your name, again?

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