Archive for Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Memory is fading too fast

July 26, 2000

"It's easy," said the computer genius who spent an afternoon teaching us how to update The Signal web site every week a task he has been doing for more than a year.

I tried to make the uncontrollable dropping of my jaw look like a yawn, and didn't even take any notes to make him think I understood every word he was saying.

What my brain was telling me was that it was out of memory, and to please start deleting childhood memories before adding any more computer information.

"My childhood memories? Can't you forget something else?" I asked my brain.

"That's all that's left," my brain retorted. "The directions to your computer programs are eating up all the space. And since you don't take any notes, you not only have to learn how to use the programs, but how to correct the mistakes you made because you didn't learn it right the first time. Do you know how much extra space that takes?"

"No, how much?" I wondered.

"Just try thinking of something you haven't used for a while," the computer taunted.

" Like what? I asked, confused.

"Try calculus," it said.

"I was never very good at calculus, but I should remember some of it," I said without confidence. "Let's see, E=MC squared?"

"That's wrong, and don't even try again. The calculus is gone," my brain laughed wickedly.

"But I still remember Latin, I think," I said. "Amo, amas, amat ... Oh, I should remember more after taking four years but I don't."

The laugh coming from my brain became louder and expressed pleasure at all I had forgotten.

"Hey, " I said. "You are part of me, we should be working together. I didn't know I was losing all of this information. How long has this been going on?"

"Since high school, when you first started using computers on a regular basis," it said honestly. "This computer stuff takes up a lot of space, and I've deleted information based on how much, or little, it was used."

"That would definitely explain calculus and Latin," I said. "Do I at least still know all of the multiplication tables?"

"I think so," it said. "But I don't know for how much longer."

"I can't lose all my childhood memories," I pleaded. "I need those, especially to share with Emily as she is growing up."

"Then you need to start paying attention when you are being taught new programs on your computer," it said. "That's the only way your memories can be saved."

"I promise, I will," I said, and I meant it. "Oh, by the way, can you tell me where I put my car keys?"

All I heard was a big sigh.

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