The pros and cons of forgettingHave you spent time chastising yourself for things that you have forgotten?
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
Have you spent time chastising yourself for things that you have forgotten? Fortunately, most of them weren’t matters of life or death, but it still makes us feel like a horse’s “patoot” for having forgotten. That was especially true if it were something important to someone else and we didn’t want to disappoint them.
I’m sorry to tell you; I have bad news for those of you younger than I am. That is most of you, I believe. The bad news; forgetting is going to get worse. But I’ve determined a plausible excuse; at least it works for me. Maybe you can fall back on this excuse too when you’ve forgotten something that otherwise would cause you a lot of self recrimination.
Take a few minutes to attempt to recall a lot of the things you’ve learned in your life to date. You crammed for tests in school, parental instructions about behavior and attitudes, then your job and the learning that it required. Jokes and stories that were great and you wanted to remember to tell someone later. You can quickly see that your life has been a continual stream of learning this, that and the other thing. You always hear about how good a memory the elephant has, but, after all, what does the elephant have to remember?
Now comes the satisfactory part of this exercise. Your head is still crammed with only a very, very few of all those things you’ve learned in life. And we all know that tomorrow will thrust much more upon us – news, obligations and commitments to others that need to be carried out, etc. I try to write those things down that I don’t want to forget. And I’m embarrassed to tell you that I sometimes forget where I put the note.
You’ve got the picture haven’t you? If we hadn’t forgotten such a large quantity of stuff along life’s way, we’d be in never, never land. Forgetting has done a favor. We still may need to apologize for something we forgot, but aren’t you tickled to discover the total wreck you’d be if you hadn’t forgotten lots and lots of stuff.
Another important aspect of forgetting is that we tend to forget unpleasant happenings. People who don’t forget those negatives, too often, have a sour and/or pessimistic outlook on life. When I hear, on the news, a very dastardly deed done by someone to someone for long past revenge, it is often someone that couldn’t forget. Aren’t we lucky that we forget? It may even have kept us out of jail.
One last point is conscience. All of us would like a clear conscience, wouldn’t we? Catholics are lucky aren’t they? They can go to confession and clear their conscience. In my case, it is forgetting that removes my guilt. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
After writing the essay on aphorisms, a friend sent me a few that should be worthy of inclusion today:
The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.
If you don’t have a sense of humor, your probably don’t have any sense at all.
Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
Scratch a cat or pet a dog and you will have made yourself a permanent job.
I’ve reached the age where my happy hour is a nap.
And for any young folks reading this, no need for you to worry unnecessarily about losing your memory; when you get older because in no time at all, you will forget what you have forgot.