Remembering and other confusions or strangeness

Published 5:30 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

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A few questions about remembering and some strange oddities in life.

Did you ever go shopping and forgot where you parked your car? You came out of the store and the location of your car is a mystery. You tap the memory banks for some inkling and while you are in a state of panic, all of a sudden a light bulb goes off…and hopefully you remember.

Have you ever gone into a store with your shopping list in your mind, knowing that you need these items so badly you aren’t going to forget, only to get inside and forget every single thing you needed… but checked out at least $50 worth of things that you didn’t come for?

Did you start to introduce a friend to someone and their name escaped into the never-never land that dwells right off the tip of your tongue? The name seems to be nowhere in your brain. Then after a few minutes of silence, it comes! What a relief!

          Have you ever started to say something and after the first word, completely forgot the rest of it? You scour your memory to recall it, because you know it had to be important for you to say it at all. Then while somebody else has the floor, you suddenly remember, and you impatiently wait for an opening to get it out before it disappears again. 

          Did you ever put things away at your house so you will be sure to remember where they are, and then when you need those items, you can’t find them anywhere? In church on Sunday morning, when you should be listening to the sermon, the light bulb goes off again and voila! You remember! It’s all you can do to sit still and not yell, “Now I remember where I put them!”

          Did you ever get ready for work and slip your feet into a familiar-feeling pair of shoes, only to later discover that you have on one black shoe and one navy blue shoe, similar, but one with a wedge heel and the other with a conventional heel? Or did you ever have friends greet you with a strange look, only to discover that you have on two different earrings and they are two different colors yet?

Did you ever try to remember the name of a classmate from the sixth grade, and the name won’t come no matter how hard you try?  You search your brain for days and let it worry you because you can’t recall, although it is insignificant whether you remember.

Then in the middle of the night, you sit straight up in bed and yell “Mary Brown!” You feel immensely pleased because you finally remembered.

Did you ever start to do something, go into another room to do it and completely forget why you went into the other room? Then you backtrack to try to remember what you started to do in the first place? And you still couldn’t remember and felt like an idiot, but it didn’t matter because nobody knew about it but you and you laughed out loud at yourself?

If any of these things seem familiar to you, you aren’t necessarily in the first stages of dementia. Apparently some of them happen to most everybody. It’s only when you experience all of them all of the time, plus others, that you may have a problem.

Synapses are tiny connections between your brain cells that communicate information to each other, sending signals around the brain, pulling up information as well as storing it. As we age, those little boogers may begin to melt away and get thinner. The information is still stored in memory banks; it just may take longer to pull them up.

An older person can hit themselves in the head and exclaim, “The synapses are going!” and people may look at you strangely, but that’s okay because you are older and strangeness is expected.

But if you are a younger person and you do all these goofy things and more besides, you really need to slow down and enjoy life a little more. You’ll have enough time in the future to forget things, hit yourself in the head and cry, “The synapses are going!”

Take my word for it!

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at