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The Lake News Online
  • Guest column: Wouldn’t it be nice to have an auxiliary memory?

  • I have reached the stage in my life where I need to have backup auxiliary memories that help me remember what I need to know to get through my days.
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  • I have reached the stage in my life where I need to have backup auxiliary memories that help me remember what I need to know to get through my days.
    "What were we talking about yesterday," I had to ask a friend not long ago, "that I said I should write about?"
    "Backup auxiliary memories."
    Oh, yeah, thanks.
    I would be embarrassed to admit such forgetfulness, but, journalistically speaking, it pretty much proves my point.
    Which was?
    "Backup auxiliary memories."
    Oh. Right.
    They say that forgetfulness can be staved off, to a degree, by keeping the mind active and strengthening the memory, which is why the Sudoku puzzles in the newspaper have become such an important part of my life. I engage in a daily routine of Jumbles and do several repetitions of Word Sleuth, as well.
    I'm sure the crossword puzzles also would have major memory preservation value, but I'm afraid to add them to my mind exercise program. I'm apparently already so short of space up there that my memory is crashing almost every day. Storing the kinds of answers I'd need to solve even the easiest of crossword puzzles would mean I'd never be able to cram in there new information like in which pocket I left my car keys.
    The memory seems to have a finite amount of space. If I'd known that, I never would have tried to remember things I memorized as a kid.
    • The multiplication tables: Who knew phones would have calculators on them?
    • Batting averages: The players retire and nobody ever brought them up again.
    • The National Anthem: Somebody always is singing it for us at ball games anyway.
    Even my adult stuff is pretty out of date.
    • Birthdays: Facebook reminds us of the special days for all our online friends, and my sister emails me about the rest.
    • License plate numbers: When was the last time a desk clerk asked you for one when you checked into a motel?
    Through the years, I kept on shoving useless stuff up there. The phone numbers for all those guys I haven't played softball or basketball with for 20 years isn't all that useful.
    Now I'm out of space. My memory is full. I think the last thing I was able to stick in there with any hope of retrieving was the time and day I needed to be home so I could watch "West Wing" on TV.
    My memory of anything since then has been vague. Maybe I'll remember the restaurant I'm supposed to eat at, but likely only if I recall - because some auxiliary memory reminds me - that I'm supposed to meet somebody to eat at all.
    Page 2 of 2 - “You know we're getting together for lunch today, don't you?"
    Yeah. Now I do.
    If an auxiliary memory remembers who he's talking to, he'll know enough to repeat where we're meeting. I'm sort of depending on it.
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