How long should memories last? Some you’d like to keep forever, like the one time you saw your great-grandmother or the one where your mean sister landed face-first in the snow. Other memories you could live without, because they are painful. I have many unimportant memories for which I want a delete button. I would like the brain space for things I want to remember.
A week ago I had a wellness visit with my doctor, which included a memory test. The PA told me three words I should remember for a few minutes. While holding onto those words for dear life, I had to fill in a circle with the numbers for a clock and draw the hands at a particular time. I don’t remember numbers easily, so I couldn’t tell you what time I depicted. I should not have worried about the words, because days later I could tell you they were mouse, sky, and quarter in that order.
The reason I want a delete button is that as soon as I finished repeating the three words, I could have told her that I remembered pen and table from the previous year. That was 14 months ago. I remembered writing about it, and sure enough, the words were pen, table, and apple. I didn’t need those words! I discarded apple along the way, but I clung to pen and table. Almost daily I press an icon on my phone that cleans up notifications. Zip! Zip! Zip! The junk disappears. Would you stand in line with me to buy a brain vac?