Column: A memory lapse I’d like to forget


I pride myself on my memory and being prompt.

I don’t forget things, and I’m never late.

Until this week. I forgot what day it was, which made me 24 hours late for a meeting.

I’m trying to forget that memory lapse.

But I can’t.

My mind is filled with useless bits of information: Jeopardy questions; Episodes of the “Andy Griffith Show”; Raquel Welch’s attire in “One Million Years, B.C.”; my first kiss, behind a garage off Church Street; and the time some friends and I wanted to try chewing tobacco.

We got our hands on a pack of Marlboros, unrolled them and chewed the tobacco. It was the last time I chewed. I remember how to get to every high school football stadium I’ve been to. And I remember phone numbers, some from 45-50 years ago: Grandma Kent, 468-6029. Wally Lucas in Galion, 468-5799. Dave Stauffer in Galion, 468-5279; Mary Beth Fendrick in Galion 468-1739; Grandma and Grandpa Bowman in Mansfield, 522-5739.

Only now, I’m not certain any of those numbers are correct.

Apparently, my perfect memory has some holes in it. For some reason, I have no memory of the Blizzard of 1978. None, nada, zilch. I’ve forgotten an out-of-town birthday party or two, and for some reason, I can never remember to RSVP for weddings. I’ve never forgotten a wedding. But I usually put the invitation on a corner of a desk, or coffee table, or the kitchen table where I keep the dog food, dog treats and cat food. Without fail, that invitation gets covered with notebooks, computer bags, groceries, other mail, books and more.

I may be unorganized. But I’m not forgetful.

Or so I thought.

And then Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday happened.

Twice.

I think.

I missed an important manufacturing meeting/celebration Wednesday.

I just forgot, not about the meeting. But what day it was.

This time conundrum started Tuesday, which was pretty normal day for me. I was at work by 6 a.m., done by 1 p.m. Then I went to the Galion American Legion where I cook a meal for the public each Tuesday. I was home by 8 p.m, watched some TV and went to bed. That’s been my Tuesday routine for about six months.

The next day, I was in the office by 6:15 a.m. I was there until 9:45 a.m. when I rushed out so I could get Ms. Beatrix to the vet. My goal each Wednesday is get out of the office before 11 a.m. and to not think about work the rest of the day. I use Wednesday to run errands, see doctors and vets, shop and plan menus. By 8 p.m. Wednesday, I was ready to relax, drink a couple beers and finish my Alex Cross book. By 10:30 I was asleep.

Not once on Wednesday did I think about that 7:30 a.m. meeting at the high school that I had missed. The fact it was a breakfast meeting is doubly troubling, as I know I’ve never missed a free meal in my life.

The next day, set my internal alarm for 5:30 so I could get to that 7:30 meeting. In my mind, it was Wednesday morning, again.

I got up, let Beatrix out, fed her and the cats, watched some news and took a shower. By 7:15 the car was loaded, Beatrix had been out for a second walk and I was in the car headed to the high school. Oddly, when I got to the high school, there were no community leaders or business owners or chamber of commerce representatives walking into the high school, as they usually are for these types of meetings.

And that’s when when I realized I had arrived 24 hours late for my meeting. I wasn’t a few minutes late. I was a DAY late.

In my case, the memory was NOT the first thing to go. I have aches and pains all over my body. I have carpel tunnel syndrome, some arthritis in my hands, back and knees and a partial tear in my right knee. I feel them every day of the year, but I manage to deal with those aches and pains.

But my memory was always my pride and joy.

Until now.

I wonder, what else have I forgotten?

And how would I know?

So I am going shopping for a pocket-size datebook/calendar when I get out of the office.

As soon as I find my keys.

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Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com