Chuck Nyren on Advertising and Elders
Who is Responsible For Boomer Blather?

Elder Joke: Memory

It is widely-held belief that short-term memory loss is an affliction of aging. Not long ago, I lost my car for an hour in a vast parking lot at the mall. (There are more red cars than you would think.) But I’m convinced it had more to do with not having the habit of making a mental note of its location when I park (I hadn’t owned a car in 40 years when I moved to Maine) than a memory slip.

I was in only my thirties when, after a tedious and lengthy search, I found my house keys in the refrigerator. And there were uncountable times long before my 50th birthday, when, like nowadays, I stood in the bedroom or the kitchen or the bathroom or somewhere wondering what I was there for.

Although I do a lot of reading and writing about getting old and therefore try to pay attention to my own journey through this new land, I can’t determine if this kind of memory loss has increased over the years.

Experts disagree on whether short-term memory declines with age in healthy individuals, and some say it is not loss of memory function as much as a problem of distraction which can occur at times at any age. But this is too serious a topic for my mood this morning.

Although it is annoying, it is kind of funny as well to catch oneself standing stock still in a room without an inkling of why. Which is the reason I so enjoyed this piece emailed by my friend, Neil Thompson. Yes, yes - it perpetuates what may be a false stereotype of elders, but I laughed out loud anyway. Enjoy...

Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D.: Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it develops:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose, I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my checkbook off the table and see that there is only one check left.

My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the study to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the Coke is getting warm and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye; they need to be watered. I set the Coke down on the counter and I discover my reading glasses I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs. But first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

  • the car isn't washed
  • the bills aren't paid
  • there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
  • the flowers don't have enough water
  • there is still only one check in my checkbook
  • I can't find the remote
  • I can't find my glasses
  • and I don't remember what I did with the car keys

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.

Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember to whom it has been sent. Don't laugh; if this isn't you yet, your day is coming.

Growing older in mandatory.

Growing up in optional.

Laughing at yourself is therapeutic.

P.S I just remembered: I left the water running in the driveway.


Looks like one of my mornings :)
But I've been like this all my life. Can't even say that it has to do with being old.
Thanks for this post! It gave me a good laugh

Bill Cosby wrote of this scenario in "Time Flies:"

"Eventually, I remember why I came, but only after returning to the other room and sitting down. I remember because the thought that left my mind went and hid in my behind and sitting down has jogged it loose. You can save yourself a lot of this traveling if you simply slap yourself on the behind whenever you start circling in search of phantom pickup."

Oh, my day is coming may even be here. This was very funny, but I knew exactly what you were talking about.

:) Like many of you, this sounds so familiar. The difficulty comes in when your life-long patterns are now associated only with your current age.

I've always had difficulty articulating my thoughts -- saying things like "you, freckle daughter" and "hand me that thing with the handle" and feeling pretty foolish that I couldn't pull forth my daughter's name or the noun "pot." That was when my kids were young! I have a terrific reading vocabulary, but I've never been able to pull out the most common place words when necessary.

Great post! I'm still smiling.

I have been a writer and editor all my adult life, so my powers of recall are super-important. It is too time-consuming to look everything up, so I rely heavily on my memory. I have noticed that my memory for all kinds of things -- addresses, names, street names, facts -- has diminished. I'm 48, so it would be nice to have my memory in good working order for at least a few more years...

I think with memory failing it is distraction and the essay was a good example of how it happens. Mostly it happens to me when my mind is not on what I am doing but is concentrated instead on what I plan next; then I forget whether I did the first thing. I try to avoid letting that happen on important things. I think it was easy to do at any age. On the vehicle, I am happy I have one of those remote keys that when you are near enough, it clicks the lock and flicks the lights. That's great-- unless it is on the other side of the mall...

I have glasses in every room and every purse just in case. One day I was searching high and low for some glasses. When I finally found a pair and put them on, I realized I already had some on! Plus I had another pair dangling around my neck on a chain and a pair perched on top of my head! I am always prepared.

Oh yes, learning to laugh at oneself is certainly mandatory. And it's been a learned response here. Worth it tho.

I've seen this called But First Syndrome!

I get in trouble if I don't put things in my planner or make a "to do" list. The problem is I forget to check the former and forget which of the multitude of note books I put it in! (sigh)

Speaking of being reminded that you're old, my Golden Buckeye Card -- a discount card for over 60s! The State of Ohio's way of reminding me that my birthday is next month!

I'm heading over to my blog to whine about it! lol

Very funny and all too true. Another memory joke you may have heard: The preacher asked his elderly member if she gave any thought to the hereafter. To which she replied,"Oh my yes -- every time I go in a room I ask myself, What am I here after?"

I think this syndrome is more prevalent as we get older because just too much info has accumulated in our minds. The same applies to a habitually super-busy person of any age.

I definitely think there is a link to estrogen depletion and short term memory loss. I used to have an excellent memory --- better than most people I knew until I hit 55, and it was downhill from there. Now I live with it and try to manage with coping skills.

On the other hand, my spelling problems have always been with me.

My, my, Ronni, I would have thought the essay had been written by me! Some days I behave quite rationally, then POW! I lose all sense of where I am while driving, searching for a noun, although I can describe it in detail, or sitting in the car wondering why I'm there. I'm still looking for Mem'ry Potion #7. Your essay and the commentaries below make me feel---well,---normal!

This sounds just like my sister -- in her 20s. I dread to think what it would have been like had she lived beyond 43.

I think this is hilarious. I've always maintained that acceptance of stereotypical, but false images of older people are partially what accounts for older people having increased sensitivity, when we find ourselves doing what we've been doing even at younger ages -- losing our car in the parking lot, misplacing an item on occasion, forgetting what we were about to do, inability to come up with a name or word we know as well as our own name, and others.

Yes, for some people, in some instances, such behaviors can be indicators of more serious issues, but for many this is not the case.
When we're young and these things happen, often we jokingly refer to them as a problem of old people, so it's just funny then, 'cause we know we're not old.

Because of our own and others acceptance of the culture's assigning this to be a problem of the old, the fact that it is for some, as we age we just accept that precept as true for all, and go along with it. I think that is a grave mistake on all our parts -- young and old.

Got a kick out of the posting, Ronni.
I am blessed with a wonderful memory and needed it in my job as I was a postal clerk for 23 years. I thru mail by address to 29 different delivery mail clerks. But my Sister who is 10 years older than me has a phd. in nursing, that could had been a day in her life. And to carry on a conversation with her is impossible because you will start on one subject which reminds her of another and so on and so forth sometimes I think it might be a "too smart" thing. I really do look forward to your topics.

I've been like this since I started working from home. Maybe it's not age related at all, just that most people don't get a chance to realise how interrupt-driven they are until they retire?

Or I'm just wise beyond my years. I like that idea ;)

Now let me think? Hum, Why am I here???

Thats probably as you said, for not having a car, so the mind sometimes takes you back to your common habits. In this case not having a car.

I'm looking for the one about the couple whose doctor told them to write things down, and later they decide they want a sundae. She starts to go to the kitchen and the husbands tells her to write it down, she says she doesn't have to and comes back with eggs . . . he asks "where's the bacon" . . . I know there is a lot more to the story, and would love to find it. If you can help, please email Thanks!

This article tell the reality of very important organization and clearly gives the reasons that what they are doing. Very information article and actions should be taken against such organizations

The comments to this entry are closed.