Though I’ve been told I have a big head, lately it’s not big enough to hold all the information I’m collecting. My head is stuffed full. Too many entries are crowded willy-nilly in my mental data bank, making retrieval difficult, sometimes impossible. If only my brain had a delete button so I could dump some old memories to make room for new ones. Of course, a few embarrassing moments should be retained to keep me humble, and a few sad ones–not too many–to keep me grounded. I wouldn’t have to delete much, I just need a little more room. I want a pill that relieves over-crowding and creates extra space, like Beano for the brain.Too bad there’s no Public Storage for memories. Just pack them carefully, transport them to an off-site facility, and lock them away. They may never be used again, but it would be comforting to know they were safely tucked away in case my brain needed to move into an apartment.
Finding expendable memories is the hard part. My filing system makes no sense. It’s not chronological or alphabetical or even chunked together by subject. They are a jumble, like my shoebox tax file, a total mess that needs a professional to sort it out. But there is no professional who knows what’s stored in my mind–heck, half the time I don’t know. Should I delete that time in 5th grade when I threw up, triggering a VCR–vomit chain reaction–which involved half the class, including the teacher? For a week I was elevated to hero status, my only grade-school brush with popularity.
Or the time in Big Bear when I was 12 and I sculpted a life-sized naked lady in snow and used Kool-Aid to dye her pink. Her voluptuous curves caused several rear-enders before the Highway Patrol knocked her dow–after posing with her for photos.
These memories make up who I am, so which part of me do I keep? Too bad my brain can’t compact my memories like my computer can; distill the essence down to a smaller form that can be unzipped when needed. Or better yet, a mental Search-and-Replace feature.
I could dump the book ideas floating around in my head that take up way too much room. I mean, what editor would buy The Claustrophobia of Shoes: The Secret Life of Dark Closets, or Things I Have Tripped Over: How to Sidestep Life’s Obstacles, or Wear Beige and Keep Your Mouth Shut: Tips for the Mother of the Groom, or Love ‘em and Lick ‘em: My Secret Affair with Blue Chip Stamps.
My brain, though, has decided for itself what to keep and what to toss. It operates on a seniority system. Old memories stay; new ones get the pink slip. And maybe this is good. Maybe choosing what memories to keep is just too hard. I only hope that in years to come I’ll still remember the “I love you” from my husband last night and that marvelous new recipe for … for … um …
What was I talking about?