Friday, February 9, 2024


Serius est quam cogitas.
It's later than you think.

As I've written before in this space, I have a near photographic memory. I don't remember everything. But I remember much of what I read and hear. Forever.

It's a blessing, having a memory. And a curse. It's why, for instance, I want a handwritten apology from everyone who's ever wronged me. I remember.

About five years ago, the phrase 'photographic memory' fell out of vogue. The correct term was now eidetic. Though in all my years I never heard the word eidetic from anyone but me, and only since I learned that it's replaced photographic memory as the preferred term.

I don't know who put forward this change in language. If it was the American Psychological Association or the Funk and Wagnalls Institute of the Obtuse. I just know I'm not supposed to say I have a photographic memory. I still say it, however, because if I started this post by saying "I have an eidetic memory," half my readers would likely drop off before they got to the end of the sentence.

Having a good memory posing some challenges in today's modern world. 

Pre-cell phones and caller ID,  I never wrote down a single  phone number. There aren't that many people who call me and when people would they'd say, "Hi George, it's Jill. Can you talk?" Or I'd simply remember.

I'd be ok. I'd know who I'm talking to and no skin off anyone's ass.

Now that I run a business, I get a lot of calls from people I don't know. When I get those calls, I have to make a decision. Do I add the number to my contacts, or do I rely on my memory to "store" it.

There's a lot to consider before you clog either your brain or your phone's contacts with a number. First, will this be a person you're likely to speak to with some regularity? If not, why bother saving the number. If they're likely to be a transitory acquaintance, I usually decide to just let things go and not store the number anywhere.

That's fine until you get a text message from a number you don't recognize. "George! Will I see you next week after work?" 

Shit. I have no idea who wants to see me. I never marked down who belonged to that number.

I'll try to be cagey about things. But cagey has never been my strong suit. "It would be great," I lie. "Who else will be there?" I hope through that sort of slight subterfuge to at least figure out what sphere of my life I know the unknown number from. Many times, I let a couple hours go by before responding. I hope they'll get annoyed and say "George, it's Patrick. Are you there?"

More often than not, I have to lie.

"I transferred my data to a new phone and my contacts got wiped. Who is this?"

That clears things up, with a minimum of embarrassment and just a soup├žon of prevarication.

It's hard for an old person to live in this world. Things like writing down a number say 'commitment' to me. And I'm loathe to commit to anyone I know for fewer than 41 years. Storing a brand's email? Not sending it to spam? Whaddaya nutz?

It's a generational thing, I suppose.

Forget about trying to change me. 

No comments: