My memory is failing. At the age of 34, I can be introduced to someone and fifteen seconds later my mind begins to scan the conversation to see if I can bring the name back up. Searching... searching... searching. And the Apple rainbow wheel turns. Elizabeth? Amanda? Katie? Nope. I have no idea. Where did I put my ipod? When was that appointment? How old am I (this was a real thought when typing the second sentence of this blog)? Memorizing scripture has proven to be equally frustrating. Two verses. That's my goal for this week. And honestly, right this second I can only tell you the reference for one of the verses and a few phrases of both. And it's Thursday. I started on Monday. So, what has happened to my brain's ability to retain information?
This has not always been a problem. When I was in kindergarten, I memorized Psalm 1. Psalm 121 was first grade. I also memorized Romans 6. At my kindergarten graduation, my class and I stood in my navy blue uniform dress and white knee highs and recited a three stanza poem called "Mr. Nobody". And the scripture, poems, and songs that I memorized when I was young have stuck with me (maybe a good reason for parents to monitor what their children listen to... but that's a whole other blog). I can sing every word of New Zealand's national anthem, despite the fact that I probably haven't had to sing it since I was 13. I can sing all of the presidents of the United States to the tune of "Ten Little Indians" (up to Reagan, anyway, who was President when I learned the song). I can sing the fifty states. I can quote all of the books of the Bible (you'd be hard pressed to find me an kid that was raised independent Baptist that can't). I can recite Sonnet 60 by William Shakespeare, thanks to a group of mean upper classmen that laughed at me while I was having to recite it in front of the class in the 9th grade. Social trauma like that can make things stick in your mind. I can also sing all of the words to every theme song for four of the five American military branches because I overheard my sister's class practicing them when she was in fifth grade. Yeah, I haven't always been so forgetful.
So what on earth is the problem? Surely there is a scientific explanation for this. But I think I have figured it out. And here it is. Last night, Jake and I were on our way back home from an evening spent at a church in Plano. I was tired of listening to the music on my ipod and so I fired up my Slacker radio app. And rather than setting it to my preferred "Indie chill" station, I opted for 90's country. And in this, I found my answer. Hal Ketchum, Jo Dee Messina, Bryan White, Collin Raye, George Straight, Mark Chesnutt. Songs I hadn't heard in over a decade. And I knew every word. I remembered every bridge, every vocal run, every repeated chorus, every tag. No wonder I can't remember where I left my keys or what on earth I did with that Cheesecake Factory gift card I got in the mail. There is a reason I keep forgetting to mail the last of the thank you cards from my wedding that took place over three months ago. My brain is full of lyrics. Beer drinking, Amarillo traveling, California/Carolina decision making, small town Saturday night loving, lying, cheating, cold dead beating, two timing double dealing, mean mistreating lyrics. After the fourth or fifth song, I started to laugh at the ridiculousness of my brain's ability to hold onto such things. They aren't even things I want to remember, but I do. Jake seemed
embarrassed impressed by my magical 90's country memory (any man of mine better be proud of me). I can't remember anything I learned in Algebra, and I can't recall names of actors in movies I have seen a million times. I am the world's worst Trivial Pursuit partner. I can't name the three Cartwright sons from Bonanza. I don't remember what year the Berlin Wall went up, and I don't remember anything about the Pythagorean theorem. But I can sing you some Patty Loveless. Word for word.
So, as far as my memory loss goes, I'm Alright. I feel lucky to have figured it all out. And as far as the 90's country goes, I swear that am amazed that even still, decades later, I like it, I love it. So to all of my friends (in low places), I am sorry that I often forget your birthdays and the names of your children. Whenever you come around, and I can't recall just how I know you or what your name is, I'll think of something. But just know that it matters to me.
P.S. What's cluttering your brain?