By Andy Young
Special to The Windham Eagle
Not long ago I was walking, cloth shopping bags in hand, toward the entrance of my local grocery store. Passing a young woman wheeling her purchases out into the parking lot I flashed her a friendly smile and was rewarded with a disgusted scowl. Seconds later an older gentleman looked at me, shook his head in either sorrow or revulsion, and quickened his pace toward the door. I barely had time to contemplate what the chances were of encountering two such unfriendly people back-to-back when the teenager disinfecting the shopping carts near the entrance glanced at me, then gave me a look of utter contempt most people in these parts reserve for drug-dealing, child-molesting New York Yankee fans.
That was when I realized I had forgotten to wear my mask.
Nine months ago, the police would have been summoned had I entered a place of business wearing a mask, but today not wearing one is akin to treason.
Selective memory is a type of amnesia where a person can summon certain facts, yet somehow cannot retain other (often important) information.
I believe I am afflicted with this malady.
Some utterly random information is so hard-wired into my brain that I couldn’t forget it even if I wanted to. Unfortunately, little of that material is of much use. My ability to recite the name of every member of the 1969 New York Mets has given me some private satisfaction over the years. But it’s occurred to me that perhaps my inability to recall certain things I desperately need to mentally possess is being caused by too much clutter in between my ears. I’d gladly give up knowing all the state capitals, Cleon Jones’s lifetime batting average (.281), and what the 19th president’s middle initial stood for (Birchard) if I could just recall where I left that book I was reading, remember where I last saw my car keys, or recollect whichever secret computer access code I need at a given moment. The latter problem has gotten so bothersome that I recently changed the password on all of my electronic accounts to “Forgot your password?”
Then some years ago I discovered acronyms. NASA, AARP, UFO, and the like were so easily remembered that they became part of America’s everyday lexicon, so I figured maybe such abbreviations could help me be less forgetful. Knowing I needed four vital items before leaving for work, I invented a mantra I began chanting to myself every morning: KWWC. Keys, wallet, watch, comb. KWWC. KWWC. KWWC.
And it worked! So well, in fact, that I got cocky and decided I didn’t need a crutch to aid my memory anymore. But the reception I got outside the store a few weeks ago convinced me it was time to go back to what had worked before, ASAP.
Times change, though. These days I no longer need a watch since the school where I teach has clocks everywhere. I’ve also stopped carrying one of the other KWWC items. Like many men of my vintage my once-lush locks are now significantly thinner, and thus I need a comb these days like LeBron James needs platform shoes.
My current memory-jogging acronym of choice is KWPM. Keys, wallet, phone, mask. KWPM.
Is it the answer to my memory problems? IDK. That’s still TBD. But since adopting KWPM it’s been more than a month since I ‘ve left the house without any of my four essential items.
Okay, there was that one awkward day. But I learn from my mistakes, which is why I’m confident I’ll never arrive at school without a shirt again. <