It is said that as you get older your long term memory becomes much sharper and your short term recall more than a little hit-and-miss. | wikipedia


How is your memory? If you are anything like me, it will be occasionally brilliant, sometimes sketchy and more often than not - selective. It is said that as you get older your long term memory becomes much sharper and your short term recall more than a little hit-and-miss. Happily, I have yet to reach the stage where I have to remind myself who I am, but have occasionally suffered the curse of the over 60’s - that being - standing in my bedroom trying to work out why I am there.

The other morning I was laying in bed with thingamajig - you know, the nice woman I go around with - always telling me what to do? Anyway - there we were having a discussion about how you don’t have to remember telephone numbers anymore as your ‘smart-arse’ phone does it for you - indeed and has done for the past 30 years; but that’s beside the point. Nevertheless, I wondered how many telephone numbers we would remember if we didn’t have this facility - not many I’ll be bound. The time was…if you remember, everybody had the mental capacity to remember scores of telephone numbers, because that’s the way it was - in terms of memory, the old adage use-it-or-lose it couldn’t be more accurate. So there you are, remembering stuff can be a funny old business; however if you are cunning you can turn this to your advantage.

Personally, I find a selective memory most advantageous, this ensures that you only remember what you want to remember. This can range from forgetting to do chores that you never intended to do in the first place, or using contrived absent-mindedness as an alibi for almost anything. Memory is a surprisingly complex human facility; mostly it will focus on the good things in a life, such as childhood memories of seemingly endless sunny, summer holidays - and it can and does enable you to immediately go back to a specific time and place the moment you hear the first few chords of a pop song from your youth.

You also remember funny, inconsequential things - such as the angle of her head when she first smiled at you, and laughing at your dad when he went completely berserk when watching The Rolling Stones on Top of The Pops - or remembering the answers to quiz questions the very moment the quizmaster reads them out, as in - ”Hey, I knew that!” Then there is that business of clicking your fingers (as if that might make a difference) when trying to remember the name of the film you’ve just watched and who was actually in it. It can also cause you, if manipulated properly, to accidentally forget large parts of a shopping list that you don’t like or never eat. As in - “Why do you never remember to get the cuscous/sour-dough bread on the shopping list - but never forget to buy those awful, bottom shelf, cheap and nasty bottles of Romanian Shiraz you are so fond of?” Answer - You only remember what you want to remember!