This is my brain. Supposedly.
All these years I’ve been thinking that, in my brain, there was a piece missing. I have dark spots where there should be memories. Things I should remember I don’t and things I shouldn’t remember, I do. For example…music. I can remember a one-hit wonder from 1976 through 1992, but when it comes to remembering a vacation moment with my family or going to a wedding of a friend back in 1993, I draw a blank. I just figured that when I was born, I was missing a part of my frontal lobe (which is fully developed by the early 20’s and contains dopamine-sensitive neurons that are associated with reward, attention, long-term memory, planning, and drive) because for the most part, if you haven’t played some role in my life, whether it was a memorable experience or not, there’s a good chance that I don’t remember your name.
This can be uncomfortable at times. Especially lately since I’ve had friends from my past reappear on Facebook, “friend” me and then I am forced to try and recall who they are, where they are from, how I know them and so on & so forth. It’s disconcerting because I honestly DO have a decent memory for some things…just not names. Now I remember faces just fine. If I see you walking through the airport and have met you at some point, odds are good that I will remember who you are eventually. Maybe not at that second…but possibly late at night while I’m sleeping the memory of you will pop into my head, waking me from a deep sleep and then I’ll wake up screaming, “NOW I REMEMBER!” (much to the dismay of my wife who is sleeping a mere foot away from me. What? We don’t snuggle. We’re not snugglers.). Aaaaanyway…
So I have this “disorder”. Okay…maybe not a disorder. Maybe it’s more of a brain cloud. My definition of a brain cloud is “a formation of a dark visible mass in my frontal lobe that hides important important social information from my neurons as I attempt to remember & associate your face with your actual name”. I don’t think this actual definition exists in Webster’s, but if you want, you can go look it up. And the most important part of this entire post is coming up here anyways so you might want to stick around (it’s NOT in Webster’s. Trust me.).
Here’s what I discovered last night…I’m not the ONLY person with a brain cloud! For some odd reason, this makes me feel a LOT better! Because honestly…I was thinking I was the only person who had this problem. I mean…people coming out of the woodwork who remember me from the 2nd grade? People who I met in college, maybe I was in their social circle but not exactly buddies with? People who I have worked with a total of 2 times and who remember me but I don’t remember them? Am I just THAT oblivious to people or is there something blocking my brain? Maybe certain neurons aren’t firing on all cylinders or something…I dunno. All I know is that I’ve had this problem forever and as I get older, I don’t see it getting any better. So last night, I was at a function with my daughter at her school. A family came in as we were watching Ava show us her math skillz (and the “z” is on purpose. I’m street like that). It was a mom, dad and a daughter who is in my daughter’s class. Every school function I’ve been too, this dad talks to me. He’s a very nice guy and always interested in my occupation and we always have good conversation but for the life of me…I don’t know his name. I’m sure he introduced himself a couple of years ago but that memory has slipped away into the darkness and I have no idea what his name is.
So they nod at us as they go to watch their daughter in some other part of the room close to us and for whatever reason, I continue to watch them. They remove their coats and go to sit down and as the dad is getting comfortable, I see him turn and ask his wife a question. Now…I’ve worked in television a lot of years. And what some don’t know is that, in our business, we learn to read lips. When someone’s mic isn’t working or if there is a time when someone can’t talk because a mic is hot in the studio but information needs to be relayed, you learn quickly to understand what is being said without hearing it. It’s a cool skill to have because I have learned to “listen” even when I can’t hear. So, in this case, the dad asked his wife, “What is his name?”
He doesn’t remember my name!!! That completely validates my malady! I’m NOT the only one! Yes!
So the wife turns and glances at us. I see her shake her head, he kind of made a “I’m thinking….I’m thinking” motion and then he whispered to her, “Alan?” And she nodded. And that was it. Now I have to give the guy props because at least he REMEMBERED my name. I didn’t have the slightest clue what his was. But that’s what my wife is for. She remembers EVERYONE’S name. So…I asked her. And she remembered. And now I know. And she gave me an easy way to remember his name…he has the same name as a brand of jeans (Lee).
So, even though he eventually DID remember my name, at least I know now that someone else has a brain cloud also. It might not be as thick as mine, but it’s there. And I wonder how he will remember my name for the future? Maybe Ethan-Allen Furniture? I dunno. But here’s my problem…what do I do the next time I see him and I can’t remember his name but I know he shares his name with a brand of jeans and I call him “Levi?” Now THAT is gonna be embarrassing.
Maybe I’ll just stick with calling everyone “Dude”. That always seems to work anyways…