Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lethologica ...

... describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want. I've been the victim of lethologica my entire life, and firmly believe that it has nothing whatsoever to do with age or aging! At least, not in my case.

All that having been said, I'd like to share a few stories with you. I can personally vouch for only the first one as far as truthfulness is concerned.

Mystery shopper ...

It was a Friday afternoon. Isabelle and I had been attending the ISTA (Indiana State Teacher's Association) conference in Indianapolis. It had been a very busy and productive couple of days, but we both were ready to cut out a little early to do some shopping. (Can't believe I just wrote that, but it's true! My abhorrence of shopping must be of somewhat more recent vintage, huh?)

We were in an elevator in one of the large department stores downtown, and were busily chattering away when the elevator doors opened. We got out, along with several other shoppers, only to discover that we were on the wrong floor. We'd been so busy talking that we hadn't noticed on what floor the elevator was stopping.

We turned to push the "Up" button. I was startled to hear my name being called. I turned back to see who was calling. It was Tom Frazier, the son of my piano teacher in Munising. I recognized him immediately, of course, but do you think I remembered his name? Even his first name? Ha!! You give me way too much credit. The best I could do was say (and with a huge smile, which just wasn't enough), "Well, hello there!" Isn't that mortifying? Couldn't even introduce him to Isabelle.

(from Tammy's post) ...

An elderly couple had been experiencing declining memories, so they decided to take a power memory class where one is taught to remember things by association.

A few days after the class, the old man was outside talking with his neighbor about how much the class had helped him.

"What was the name of the instructor?" asked the neighbor.

"Oh, ummmm, let's see," the old man pondered. "You know that flower, you know, the one that smells really nice but has those prickly thorns, what's that flower's name?"

"A rose?" asked the neighbor.

"Yes, that's it," replied the old man.

He then turned toward his house and shouted, "Hey, Rose, what's the name of the instructor we took the memory class from?"

My wife's about to have a baby ...

Husband, extremely agitated about his wife's state of advanced labor, is in the emergency room trying to answer admittance questions. When asked his wife's name, he simply cannot think of it.

The organist ...

Many years ago, I was asked to be the choir director in a church we were then attending. I refused. My reason? The organist. She had been a 'fixture' at the organ going on fifty years (maybe more, I don't know), could not hear a beat, and never once looked towards the director for cues.

I had been singing in the choir for some time, and can follow/adjust to/whatever has to be done to accomplish a finished tune, but there was no WAY I would accept the directing position unless -- somehow or another -- we could get a different organist.

That simply was not going to happen, I was told. It seems that her family had donated the organ to the church and, as long as she was alive and willing (forget able!), she would be the organist.

It must have been somewhere in that time period that I was told this next story, which seems quite preposterous, but I'll tell it to you, anyway. It's funny!

There was an organist who had served the church well in her donated time for over half a century, and the minister (who had just a terrible time remembering names!) was called upon to give an extended speech in her honor at the retirement dinner.

He was SO nervous! He spent hours and hours studying the names of any and all who had had any association whatsoever with the beloved organist. He kept crib sheets. He paced. Studied some more. Tried to get some sleep.

Finally, the event was at hand. He had placed, in various pockets in the interior of his suit jacket, reminders to help him through this ordeal. All he could do now was hope that he would make it through without disgracing either himself or the organist.

And there he was, just sailing through every name and event flawlessly. All in attendance were beaming with delight! At the very end, he offered a lengthy prayer, which concluded with "... our Lord and Savior, ... ... ... Jesus Christ". Only those who did not have their heads bowed in prayer saw the minister take a quick peek at his crib sheet before finishing the sentence.


Craig Peihopa said...

Great Post. One of the aspects I love about living in Australia is that everyone here calls each other mate, or buddy and so when ever I meet people whose names I forget I simply say MATE!!!! or hey buddy long time no see and then introduce the name of who I am with and then talk on another subject before saying the name of the person whose name I forgot and often the name of the forgotten person will be revealed when the person then introduces themselves to my friend and says some obscure reference to me being rude which always is correct! Mate and buddy cover a multitude of alzheimer moments. I should have titled this response Craig's secrets unveiled.

Tammy said...

I don't think "lethologica" has anything to do with age or aging either. I've always struggled to remember the name of a word I'm trying to spit out. lol. I can remember events very well, names fairly well, dates, etc. But particular words are hard for me. I really have to stop, think, and focus to get a word.... Anyway, one of my girls' favorite sayings is, "I heard what you meant, mama." Thank heavens! At least they understand what I am trying to communicate to them even if I can't do it! :)

Goldenrod said...

"Craig's secrets unveiled"? ... I like that, you clever man! Now, if Tom had shouted "MATE!", I guess every shopper would then have had to turn around to see who was calling. Wouldn't have worked in your part of the world, would it? TOO funny!!

And Tammy? I love your response. You know that we share the same birth date, right? Wonder if THAT's part of the 'problem'. (?) :)

ANYhoo, your response triggered a taxicab driving memory that I'm going to include in a post that I hope to publish later today.

(I've just spent MANY minutes looking over -- and yes, re-editing yet once again -- my eleven previously-published posts in re taxicab driving. I had forgotten that I had published that many! What I was trying to discover was whether or not I had ever told the story that should shortly be included in a published post. I hadn't. SO, you will now have twelve taxicab driving stories to 'savor'!)