Monday, October 10, 2011

Item 21

I’ll admit it - I’m forgetful. I can’t remember to do everything I’m supposed to. Or anything sometimes. I forget basic things like eating and combing my hair. Consider me the absent-minded professor – minus the professor aspect. When going to work, I leave my cell phone at home at least three days a week. If I’m lucky, I’ll miss it before driving too far and circle back to the house. I like to tell myself that I’m just being responsible – keeping an eye on the neighborhood. My neighbors probably think I’m only a few days away from being committed.

Some have suggested my absent-mindedness is just another sign of growing old, like graying hair or aching joints and muscles after those rare times when I can’t avoid manual labor. But, as my Mother would tell you, it’s nothing new. When I was younger, she could send me to do only one thing at a time or I’d forget the rest. My wife now says the same thing. So, if nothing else, at least I’m consistent.

Yet, strange as it may seem, I have an excellent memory. It works great for facts, numbers, names, dates, or to remember the proper sequence of steps for various complex procedures. These sorts of things seem to latch on to some cell of my brain and stay – without me really even trying. This was cool when I was in school. Now? Not so much. No longer does the need exist to memorize anything. I rarely take tests and never recite anything other than songs, which I don’t think count because nobody knows the songs I know. So, the tidbits of trivial information plastered to the walls of my brain are mostly useless. Even my kids don’t ask me much anymore – they prefer Google.

Recently, my wife wrote down a list of what she needed from the grocery store. It seemed like a splendid idea, except I forgot the list - a fact I realized after I’d reached the store. Sure, in this digital age, I had several options; I could call, text, or email – all of which would mean fessing up to my forgetful nature, once again. But wait! I had seen the list. (My mind instantly kicks into gear.) Now I can use that part of my memory that works! But has it been too long? What if I forget something? My wife (and kids) would never let me hear the end of it. Not after telling them for years how good my memory is for that sort of thing.

“I know there were 21 items,” I mused aloud. Asking for a pen and paper from the bewildered cashier, who apparently thought everybody made their shopping list before coming to the store, I quickly began scribbling. Soon the list was complete – almost. Twenty items were scrawled on my paper. I frowned and shook my head. “That’s strange,” I thought. This had never happened before. I decided to start my shopping, hoping the last item would come to me along the way. It didn’t.

I made it almost all the way home. Turning onto my street, I felt the car’s engine cough, then it spluttered and died. And that’s when I remembered. Item 21 was not a grocery item at all. I was supposed to fill the car up with gas.

My wife was kind, sort of. She just rolled her eyes and smiled. An hour later, the car was back in the driveway and full of gas.

I’m sure after reading this story; you will all have a good laugh at my expense. That is, if I remember to post it.

Bruce A. Borders, author and songwriter has over 500 songs and 9 books. Over My Dead Body, his latest ebook, is available on Apple I-Pad®, Amazon Kindle®, Barnes & Noble Nook® and Sony Reader®. For more information, visit or

No comments:

Post a Comment