Friday, January 27, 2012


In the last few days I have forgotten or misplaced many things.  As Mrs. EO will tell you, this is not unusual.   I thought perhaps that by writing down what I have forgotten I could tamp down the painful thoughts that haunt me.

The thoughts that haunt me are that my forgetfulness is a form of dire incompetence, or worse, a lack of moral fiber.  Worse, my initial reaction when I've misplaced something is to suspect that someone I love has moved it.  Scientists studying me have determined that this is incorrect 99.99999957% of the time.  So I compound my forgetfulness with my unfounded suspicions.  Lately, as I've grown older, the thought that haunts me most is that maybe these bouts of forgetfulness are signs of impending dementia. Cheerful, I know.

Looking at the optimistic side of the equation, there are many events in my life that are well worth forgetting, and a few things that are quite necessary to forget in order to function.  So I got that going for me.

Here is a list of things I've forgotten or misplaced this week.  The list can only be partial: I am sure I've forgotten some things I've forgotten.
  • wallet - only for a little bit.  Then I found it in my pocket.
  • glasses - a particularly difficult problem, as it is hard to find my glasses without my glasses.  Sometimes I've lost them, then found them.  On my face.
  • watch - found it in my pocket.  Why was it in my pocket?  Why not on my wrist?  Perhaps we will never know.  
  • prescription - put it in a drawer at work after picking up at Rite Aid.  Forgot about it.
  • briefcase -  woke me up early this morning.  Thought I'd left it home, but it's not here.  I hope it is at work.
  • tax returns - inside the briefcase.  Yep.  Scary ID theft scenarios are running through my head.
  • Spanish homework - lost track of it twice so far.  Lost it; found it (so happy).  Lost it right away again. I think it is in my briefcase.  See above.  I do remember the Spanish phrase for "I forgot:"  "Se me olvido."  I really like the passive voice, like it's not my responsibility.
  • The Spanish word for river.  Yes, I know it is "rio."  But I couldn't remember yesterday evening as I rode home on the train.
  • Call daughter on birthday - this one really hurt.  Kept thinking about her at work, then took the train home and completely lost track of my intention to call her when I got home.  Sad, sad, sad.
  • To get a haircut - I have needed one for 2 weeks.  The problem is that I remember when I look in the mirror in the morning but forget when I get to work.
  • Pick up the dry-cleaning - finally remembered yesterday evening at work.  Hallelujah!!  The nice owner of the dry-cleaning store said, with a wry smile, "haven't seen you for awhile."  (I think she knows about me.)  I once moved to another state and left a suit in the dry-cleaners.  A friend happened to find out about the suit, and mailed it to me.  I had no idea until he called me.  I was hoping the nice dry-cleaning lady had forgotten.  Probably not.
  • To make a "to do" list - much like the glasses.  Keeping a list of things to do is fine, but you need to remember to make the list, and then, to bring it with you, and then, where you put it.  Also, you cannot forget to write down important things on the list.
Mrs. EO can confirm that I am a living testament to the indulgent love and power of Almighty God to preserve his helpless children.

I take some comfort in the advice of St. Francis de Sales: 
  • "do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections" and 
  • "have patience in all things, but first of all, yourself."

What a wonderful man.  I feel like he must have known me.

In my sixth decade, I have become more resigned to my forgetfulness. I am (almost) grateful for it.  Forgetfulness has been a source of grace in my life.  It is constantly with me.  It is a lucid and insistent reminder of my need for God.  It is, in fact, my good friend.

A wonderful prayer of the Catholic Church:  "St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please look around, something is lost and cannot be found."  St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things.  He stays very busy in my life.


  1. So glad you found the tax returns this morning! ... now for the phone :P
    Keep your chin up, God has His eye on all of it ;) When He gave you your superpowers, He had to give you a little cross to bear - so you wouldn't forget Him.

  2. Phew!!!!

    Maybe my superpower is to be able to forget things? I certainly do it better than most mere mortals.

  3. Actually, it is not dementiaa but due to the hyperfocus condition that often afflicts ADD'ers... GMall

  4. EO,

    Since I too am in my "Sixth Decade" I know your pain; so to speak. Sometimes I wonder if it's hereditary, then I move on.

    And yes, I speak so much to Saint Anthony, him and I are on a first name basis. Ha Ha

    Doc Truly

  5. I was going to ignore this since I know how you exaggerate for the humor of it all. Then I was struck with how anxious this would make one feel if it were completely true. I`m so perfect I rarely forget a thing. When it happens I go completely out of my mind, screaming and yelling and crying until I find the forgotten item and my self esteem is restored. So I conclude that you are better off with with this level of anxiety that keeps you the balanced enjoyable person you are. Val

  6. As in my case of forgetfulness, my oldest daughter thought that an appropriate Christmas gift would be a book called "BrainFit" ...only 10 minutes a day to improve memory.
    I didn't throw the book at her. Oh, no...she's getting it wrapped under the tree after SHE has children! (Whom I'm convinced kill brain cells during pregnancy and birth). Hmmm...but you are a man.
    Manly-thing required: invent something. Like a device-that-when-you-clap-the-glasses-beep type invention. You can do it. Or your son can. And than he can give it to you for Christmas. Call me when you cry about that gift; I can sympathize.

  7. Sadly, sadly, sadly there is no exaggeration at all in my list of things forgotten. I love the advice on inventing a gizmo to address forgetfulness! I will tell my son about this tomorrow. If I remember.

  8. i use my phone to set reminders. And it also allows repeats in case I forget to set them. It usually works very well. However, this morning I had one saying 'sick line car'.
    I have absolutely no idea what this means. So I'm now worried that there are times I am not acting in my right mind and my reminders are reminding me of it.

  9. I have had so many artifacts on my phone's calendar that I am almost afraid to check the day's appointments, for fear I will see some mysterious entry about which I know nothing and can have only a gnawing, subcortical fear of impending doom.