‘While I think of it…’

I find that I have come to the stage in life where if I don’t say it or do it while it is still fresh in my mind… I just totally forget it. Right now, you, dear readers, have reached the sight of some of the greatest columns that never were.

You see, a small part of my brain (or should that read ‘a part of my small brain’?) is always on the lookout for a topic for YCBS. I could be out for my morning walk when the subconscious clicks in with a gem. So where is all this wonder-writing I hear you holler? The truth is that more often than not, by the time I arrive home, I have forgotten the great idea!

I sometimes worry about how forgetful I have become. Please take my word for it, rather than forcing me to give out embarrassing examples. Once upon a time you could give me your phone number if we met on the street and I would remember it. Now, you would need to write it on a piece of paper – a piece of paper that I would forget where I left within the hour!

I have also become ‘bad with names’ – something I had built my businesses on being good at. I could go on. Is this a cause for worry? I don’t know. I hope it is more to do with an ‘attention’ problem than a memory problem. I’m not so sure that I like it when someone refers to my forgetfulness as a ‘senior moment’! Mind you, those of us with the memory span of a goldfish now have a credible excuse for our cock-ups when claiming, ‘I remember nothing about it!

There is some consolation in being told that from middle-age on, the speed of memory retrieval slows in most people. There are three parts to our memory mechanism; learning, storage and retrieval. If each of those is a tank, I have three leakages that John Lennon can’t fix.

Smoking, exposure to air pollution, poor diet, lack of sleep, obesity and insufficient exercise are said to increase the risk of memory loss. I tick all the right boxes above, so why do I not have the same crossword skills that I used to? Stress is an unrecognisable cause of memory loss, and maybe I can park some of the blame there over the past year. Sustained elevation of cortisol raises blood pressure and can interfere with your memory.

You will come across all sorts of ‘quack cures’ claiming to restore your memory retention. Beware of most of the extravagant ‘cures’ advertised on the internet. I would have more faith in the suggestion that certain foods can help. Berries, which are rich in antioxidants, are recommended. Also fatty fish, which is rich in Omega-3, and whole grains, which contain complex carbohydrates.

People with a great memory enjoy a huge advantage in all walks of life. It is said that our new Westmeath Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Peter Burke, has a photographic memory and retains all the information he acquires each day. That may account for the incredible advancement in the career of Minister Burke and the mystery of how he can get through so much work in a single day.

But Minister Burke and all those other lucky people with photographic memories are only in the halfpenny class in comparison to an 18-year-old Canadian girl.

Emily Nash is one of only around 100 people in the world who literally remember everything. Throw any date you like at the teenager over the last dozen years and Emily can tell you not only what she did, but the clothes that she wore and what she ate. Every day of her life is filed away to be drawn on at will. Emily Nash is the youngest of this astonishingly exclusive club worldwide known to have HSAM (highly superior autobiographical memory).

Whilst Emily Nash is an extraordinary exception, it is my experience that all women have gifted memories when it comes to certain areas. We shall say no more about that, other than, may the Lord look down on the man that Emily Nash marries…

In searching for some positive in having a poor memory, it strikes me that the individual with the perfect memory cannot shake off the hurt from the bad days as easily as those of us whose recall is dulled by the fog of a suspect memory.

Some of you will have heard me tell my by now thread-bare memory-loss joke – and a few of you heard it more than once! Anyway – and for the last time; ‘there are two signs of old age. One is loss of memory and… sorry… I can’t remember the second one!’

Don’t Forget

No person has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.