Monday, June 21, 2004


Im getting worried about my mental state. Im forgetting things, not just actual things, but forgetting to do things too. Im not entirely sure whats happening. I think it comes from my Mums side of the family but im definitely starting to show the early symptoms of Dennett-itis.

I know you can buy more memory for a PC, but can you do a similar thing for your mind? That'd be a great idea.

Forgetting things was never normally a problem for me and Id accepted that my mind was always bound to get full at some stage after the way i collect useless information. You name it, theres a section for it in my mind: Mansfield Town players, FA Cup results, Dates of Wars, names of Prime Ministers, geography of motorways. A friend at junior school called me Encyclopaedia.

I thought my memory getting full might come a bit later than 31 years old though but i suppose i have accumulated a lot of junk over the years. When the memory fills is the generally accepted mode of disposal first in first out? Remembering how to put those shapes in the spaces in my bucket when i was baby is nostalgic and a nice to know but would i rather have it than knowing the Chemical symbol for Lead? Which is more likely to come up in a pub quiz?

Or maybe my memory has realised that space is limited up there and has taken it upon itself to have a bit of a clearout, maybe it cant move up there for 1980's music, Shed Seven back catalogue 1994-2003, Conservative cabinet ministers 1979-1997 or 3rd Division Football grounds and is moving things around. I get the vision of my memory falling back into a chair in a clean room thinking 'there, thats better'. Maybe i havent forgotten stuff, maybe its just in another place where my memory has moved it to, but cant be bothered to get it for me.

Theres also a fair possibility that my memory is saying "isnt it about time you sorted this crap out?'. 'Howard Jones' first pets name? What the bloody hell will you need that for? I'll sort it for you. 'Will you need Meadowbank Thistles nickname anymore?' 'do you think you'll need the year the pound coin was introduced again?".

Picture yourself sorting through someone elses dusty loft, this is what my memory is doing. The only problem is that i dont know what it is getting rid of until i cant remember something that i was sure i knew. It doesnt do me the courtesy of letting me know, so that i at least have a chance of salvaging it from the tip.

The worst thing is knowing that you know something, then not being able to regurgitate it when you need to. You keep information up there for a reason, for a point in the future where this piece of information has its moment in the spotlight. The moment that'll show you to be either very sad or very sadder.

Theres not many times that you are going to need to know the presenters of Playschool again in your lifetime, and if your memory cant put the answer forward in the answers 15 seconds of fame then why bother having it in the first place?

You: "Come on, come on, think, think, think.....ooh i know it. On the tip of my tongue"
You cover for your memory, buy it time. Cut to shot of memory running round looking in kitchen drawers.
Memory: "its here somewhere, im sure i put it here next to Islands in the Mediterranean"
You: "Too late. That question is hardly likely to be asked twice now is it. Might as well chuck that away now memory when you lay your hands on it. I was keeping that information just for this moment."

Its very similar to knowing something, then needing it and forgetting it. Then finding it out again, knowing that you need to remember it...and forgetting it again. Its just soul-destroying and makes you question your sanity.

Im going one further though, im forgetting to do things. Ive recently come home and the iron is still on 3 days after i left the house. I got back this morning from a weekend away and the gas hob is still blazing away merrily to itself. This isnt normal behaviour. I got in the car the other day and came back in the house not once, not twice but three times for things i forgot. Then i still forgot something when i was half way down the road. I left it, i wasnt giving my memory the satisfaction of seeing me turn the car around. It wasnt worth it.

31 is not an age to start losing it. The more i think about it the more worried i am. Ive got my whole life ahead of me, ive got to have kids yet, ive got to have wedding anniversarys and birthdays to remember. At least give me a fighting chance of rememebering parents evenings and school plays. I seriously am a dead man.