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Bad Memory Day

When you can’t remember someone’s name.

The other day at the gym, first thing in the morning, I tried to remember the name of the vice president of the United States.  

My mind went blank. I thumbed through mental Manila files, drawers of them filled up with useless knowledge, like the names of my grammar school teachers, but no, I couldn’t find the name of the vice president.

“This doesn’t mean you’re going senile, Rick,” I told myself. “It means you have too much other stuff in your head.” I find this true sometimes in my prayer life. I close my eyes, ready to head into some spiritual sweet spot and instead I’m going down a laundry list of what needs to get done. “Let it go,” I said. “You’ll find the name somehow.”

I took my good advice—who else would?—and chose to ignore the Swiss cheese aspect of my brain. All those holes. I kept coming up with little remembered facts. The vice president had been the senator from Delaware. He had white hair and a high forehead. His first wife died. But what was his name?

I could have Googled the info, but sometimes you just need to sort things out. Like those lists that muddle my head when I’m ready for some meditation. I let them go too. Just give them up for 10 minutes. They’ll be there when I need them. So would the vice president’s name. Eventually.

It was as I was falling asleep that it finally came to me. “Joe Biden,” I said to my wife.  

“What?” she asked, mystified.

“He’s the vice president of the United States,” I said.

“I know.”

“I didn’t,” I said, “until now.” With that I fell into a deep sleep, glad to remember and ready to forget.  

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