Wednesday, December 12, 2012
"Memories ... like the corners of my mind ...."
Have you noticed that no one has to remember anything anymore? Well, those of us with smart phones, that is. Stuck for the name of that abducted girl in The Searchers? Click on that IMDB app. (Natalie Wood!) Can't remember who Millard Fillmore's VP was? Quick Internet search. (No VP: He assumed office when Pres. Zachary Taylor died in 1850.) Can't remember if it's preventive or preventative? Check that American Heritage Dictionary app. (It can be either.) And on and on and on.
I noticed this past weekend that my mother, whom I was visiting, was annoyed at my constant checking of things on my iPhone. Perhaps she was thinking: I paid for this guy's college education--and he has to carry around a little external brain to remember anything at all? Well, one of my former teachers (I think it was Mr. Brunelle, a high school English teacher) once said something like this: An educated person [he probably said "man": it was the early 1960s] is not one who knows everything but who knows how to find everything. So, Mom, you didn't waste your money on me between 1962-1966. (Well, actually, you did waste some.)
As I've gotten older, of course, my quick recall has evanesced. I used to be really good at games like Trivial Pursuit. Now I'm lucky if I can remember what day it is. It is helpful having Joyce in the house. (Confession: I had to go ask her about preventive a few minutes ago: We had looked up the word just last night on my iPhone--and today I couldn't remember what the damn word was!) But not always.
An example. Exactly a month ago we were celebrating my birthday at the Pufferbelly restaurant in Kent, Ohio. (Confession: Just now I couldn't remember the name of the place and was about ready to fire up Google when the name came crawling like an embarrassed dog back into my head.) While we were eating that November night, we were talking about our memories of Kent (a town we love); we had met there in the summer of 1969 at KSU; we had lived there together (married!) from 1969-1978; etc.
After dinner, we were going to see Glen Campbell, now suffering in the early stages of Alzheimer's, who was performing at the old Kent Theater--where Joyce and I had seen many movies together, including Let It Be and Woodstock and Young Frankenstein. (See my earlier blog on Campbell's show.)
And then we were remembering the old series of movies sponsored by American Express--the American Film Theatre series--celebrated modern and contemporary plays filmed (with all-star casts) and shown only in select theaters around the country. 1973-1975 (Thanks, Google.) We had seen some of them in Kent. Joyce thought it had been at the downtown theater; I was sure it was out at the University Plaza. Then we tried to remember some of the ones we'd seen. I remembered Butley and The Iceman Cometh and a couple of others. (Complete List)
We both remembered we'd seen an Albee script, too. Which one? Neither of us could remember. I did not check my iPhone: This was a romantic evening, you see? Inappropriate to check email and Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin and ... Though I very badly wanted to check, my iPhone whispering at my side like my Evil Twin: I can help you! It'll just take a second ... then you'll know!
Bravely, I resisted.
And promptly forgot all about it.
Until last night. We were driving down to Green, Ohio, to visit our son, who'd just had some unpleasant oral surgery (sort of superfluous, isn't it, the word unpleasant?). Joyce--commenting about something which I cannot for the life of me remember right now--used the phrase a delicate balance.
And I, a month after the fact, cried: That was the Albee play we saw in the American Film Theatre series! And Joyce remembered, too. And we glided toward Green feeling awfully good about ourselves and our patently undiminished capacities.
Link: IMDB info on the film: A Delicate Balance
PS--Until I just checked on Google, I'd always heard Barbara Streisand singing "Memories ... like the corals of my mind ...." Honor bright!