Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Princess and the Pea-Brain

This is the story of the Princes (that’s me) and the pea-brain (mine) and how she lost her mystery and found it again. Mysteries keep princesses happy. We delight in solving them, are seldom happy without one, and pout when we lose them.

Many of my recent mysteries have been related to rocks. I like rocks. I discovered them when I was a tiny toddling tot. We lived in a mid-sized Eastern Washington town that is built on water washed sand and rocks tumbled to roundness by the Lake Missoula flood that scoured out a vast wash from Montana to the Pacific Ocean. I started cracking them open when I was about six, using my father’s best hammer. Such interesting things are inside of otherwise plain rocks.

I’ve never lost my interest. I still pick up interesting rocks and examine them with wonder. So … I found this “rock” It is misshapen and rusty looking. It’s as if one of my children dripped custard or chocolate pudding and it solidified in mid air. So it was a delightful find. It found a place in my box of mysteries. But some mysteries are disappointing in their resolution. This alien growth in stone turned out to be the residue of a major welding project in the dim distant past. It’s iron slag with a bit of sand stuck to it. Not fun at all. It lost its allure. And I threw it into the trash.

But mysteries are always hiding in the bushes or closets or under the beds of unsuspecting princesses. I found a book. I read lots and lots of books. Funny thing about that is I can remember the first reading of books I like – usually. I remember where I was, what I thought, the sections I liked best. As damaged as my short-term memory is, this ability has stayed with me since I was a new reader. So … I found this book. I like Caleb Carr – as an author; I do not know him personally – and I found his Killing Time in the Goodwill Store. It looked interesting. I bought it. I read it.

The pea-brain told me by the time we reached the second page that it all seemed familiar. By the fifth page, I knew I’d read it before. I have no memory of ever reading that book. But I knew whole passages by heart and so I must have read it. Curse you pea-brain! I expect you to retain some usefulness. And you’ve failed me in a manner that hurts me most. But, I’m also left with a new mystery. Who knocked the pea off the shelf? Where did my lost memory go? Is it on vacation? Is it in a corrupted neural file? Where or where did my little synapse misfire? Oh where or where did it gooooo?

I want my memory back, thanks. At least by next Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. I have a poor memory at best. I can never remember where to pick up after myself, or what was the list of chores was that my wife gave me.

    I love reading my books too, but the memory of what I read fades away too quickly. The nice thing about that though, is that I can read a book again many times and enjoy it over and over again. And usually I can pick up some detail I missed the first time.

    I hate forgetting the important things, like my first kiss, orwhat we said the last time I talked to my dad, oh so many years ago.

    Our lives are fragile, some more than others. :(