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Feb 10, 2023

Senior Moments? Relax, Junior!

We all suffer from the Forgetsies

By Ed Goldman

Are you a non-senior who experiences so-called “senior moments”—those maddeningly off-the-radar blips when you find your missing cellphone in the dishwasher (you thought you’d been putting in a trivet to rinse off) or you forget altogether why you wandered into your garage (you were supposed to have brought the trash with you to empty into the can)?

I’m writing about this because, although I’m only a sporadic victim of the phenomenon I call the Forgetsies, what bothers me more is how many people I know, in my approximate age group, or a bit younger or a tad older, who not only contract the Forgetsies but go on to think there’s something much more sinister at play—like Alzheimer’s, premature senility or A Larger Mental Challenge.

Edgy Cartoon

Not caught in the act

While I’m not discounting the possibility of EODWSM (early-onset-dementia-while-streaming-movies), I think if we take a sharper look at all of the stimuli in our lives bombarding us at damn near every moment, we may find a way to give ourselves a pass.

We currently have almost 1800 cable stations available to us, hundreds of social media outlets and apps, innumerable AM/FM and satellite radio stations, fake and genuine news feeds, emails, texts, instant-messaging, Twitter and Facebook feeds—and as many conflicting opinions lacerating us from left, right and the fringes of outer space—to make having a quiet, uninterrupted thought be what Hamlet might have called “a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

(Now, there was a guy with more than simple Forgetsies. He picked up a random human skull—they were easy to find on the moors in  Denmark back then, one presumes—and thought it was his old pal Yorick. He also thought his dear departed dad was dropping by to visit him. Paging Dr. Jung, Dr. Who, Dr. Ruth or Dr. No—whoever makes castle calls at this ungodly hour.)

To me, absentmindedness is sometimes a sign of adjusting or adapting. 

It can mean I have much larger metaphorical fish to fry than to remember whether you asked me to pick you up a cruller, apple fritter or glazed doughnut on my way to the morning meeting. 

Maybe my thoughts are dominated instead by climate change, the pandemic-of-the-month, the prospect of World War III, a spontaneous arthritic attack in one of my toes (“Rain’s on the way, Mary Lou!”), my credit card debts (which now exceed the budgets of certain Third World nations), and/or that strangulated shriek I hear when I turn my steering wheel.

I may also be musing on a particular scam tweet/text or voicemail I received telling me the IRS, Blue Shield, Earthlink, Amazon or my bank is about to take legal action against me (the reason is never specified but I’m always convinced, for a few chilling moments, that I’m guilty). 

Or perhaps the alert I received headlined “Tragic News about Tom Selleck” is upsetting me, even though after scrolling through the story (for more than two minutes I’ll never get back) it turns out that Tom’s simply holding out for more money in order to continue starring in “Bluebloods”—a show, not incidentally, I’ve never been able to sit through (though, to be fair, I did find Tom’s Shinola mustache quite compelling). 

Looking for a Great Gift?

Maybe I walked into a committee meeting a moment late and was taken aback by the sudden silence in the room. Or, conversely, maybe I got upset by the eruption of laughter I heard coming from the same committee and same room a moment after I left the meeting early.

It’s also possible that either the possibility of the continuing drought or the predictions of back-to-back storms at the end of the week is making it hard for me to concentrate on the choices my barista is offering me for a simple cup of coffee (“Peruvian? Light roast? Dark roast? Pour-over? Decaf? Iced? Hot? Extra hot?”).

How many things are we supposed to carry around in our brain, that cranial crankcase we laughingly call our nerve center? 

I’d ask Tom Selleck to weigh in but I heard that something tragic’s happened to him.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).