I think I’ve mentioned more than once that I have a fuzzy memory, or maybe I only meant to mention it and it slipped my mind.
The past 102 years have been a blur for me, as evidenced by my inability to remember anyone at my high school reunion or my college reunion or the receiving line at my wedding. Somehow, I can remember a handful of formulas from chemistry class, my phone number from 60 years ago, the year King Kanye signed the Magna Carta and, of course, advertising jingles.
Everything else? Good luck.
I can remember that I saw a movie, but not what it was about, and I can remember that I read a book, but not what it was about. The only thing I can absolutely remember is how to do the Hokey Pokey, because that IS what it’s all about.
There’s a sadness to this hazy recollection. People will remember great times and share details with each other and I just smile as if I was actually there, which I was, or so they tell me. I’ll run into someone at an event and they’ll ask a million questions about my wife, my kids, my hobbies, how I got that stain out of my shirt after our last meeting…and all I can think is that I might have met them once.
Sometimes, after a great evening with new acquaintances, I will warn them that I will absolutely not remember them the next time we see each other. It’s embarrassing, but it’s one more fun fact for them to remember about me while I forget everything about them.
Still, if you look hard enough, you can find an upside to anything.
It turns out that I am very bad at holding a grudge. I try. Really, I do, but it all gets blurry and I can’t remember who started it or who said what or why I’m ticked off, anyway. My circle of friends is probably five or six times as large as it would be if I could remember how terrible all these people are and how much I hate them.
I almost never miss an appointment, which might seem counterintuitive, but it works. Since I know I’m going to forget half the things I promised to do, I keep a very thorough to-do list and check it about 20 times a day.
I never say anything embarrassing to people, because I always forget which ones are on drugs and which ones have been indicted and which ones are having sex with goats. Or maybe it’s chickens. I forget. But the good thing about forgetting is that I can't spill the beans if I don't remember what kind of beans they are. I still say lots of stupid stuff to people, but much, much less than I would if I could remember anything about them.
People think I’m really interested in whatever they have to say, even if it’s an old story they’ve told me a million times. I give everyone the impression I’m savoring their story as if it was the first time, mostly because I think I am hearing their story for the first time.
I’m much calmer than I used to be, and I sleep better, too. When you can’t remember all the bills you owe and how many people are out to get you, the dark isn’t nearly as scary.
Beyond calm, I think I’m actually happier. Life is much more pleasant when you’ve unburdened yourself of the slings and arrows, the resentments and regrets. I really think forgetfulness, intended or otherwise, can add measurably to our joy in life.
Now, if only I can remember to post this message, the rest of you could be happier too.
Of course, both of us would be immeasurably happier if you’d click here to subscribe to Dad Writes. Do it now, before you forget.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.