Gut Rumbles

November 20, 2003


I once was a lot smarter than I am now. I KNOW MORE now than I ever did before, but I'm just not as bright as I once was. I was sharp when I was a kid.

I once could read a book and remember almost every page in it. I was a quick study in school and I never forgot ANYTHING. I could memorize an entire sonnet in five minutes and quote it back to you a week later. I ran through Jeopardy questions like water through a collander. I was bright.

I've dimmed down a lot over the past few years. When Willy and I were riding home from The Music Box on Tuesday night, somebody in the van said that Marty Stewart was married to Roseanne Cash a few years ago. I KNEW that they were wrong and I KNEW who her ex-husband was, but I couldn't dredge the name from my memory banks. I wasn't drunk, either. I just COULDN'T RECALL HIS NAME.

"Leaving Louisana in the Broad Daylight." "Ain't Living Long Like This," I said. "That guy wrote those songs and we've played them a gazillion times. What IS his name?" We never could decide, but I KNEW that it wasn't Marty Stewart.

When I got home about 1:00 in the morning that night, I wheeled my trash can out to the curb because Wednesday is trash pick-up day around here. Willy pulled out of the driveway and headed home. I was almost to my front door when all the cylinders clicked and I remembered. RODNEY CROWELL!!!

I wanted to run down the road in the middle of the night in hot pursuit of Willy's van while shouting, "RODNEY CROWELL! RODNEY CROWELL! THAT'S THE NAME I COULDN'T REMEMBER!!" But I didn't do that.

I went inside the Crackerbox and contemplated the fact that my brain doesn't work the way it once did. I am not nearly as bright as I once was. Learning new things is more difficult now than it used to be. I once could remember damn near every word of the latest book I read and now I can't remember where I left my reading glasses OR where I put down the fucking book.

I still believe that I am wiser now than I've ever been, but my brain is lazy. Maybe I filled it up with too much trivial shit over the years and it just upped and retired on me. I have to think a lot harder now to remember things that once came easy to me. I am better now than I ever was at most things I've ever done in my life, but I don't pick up new tricks easily anymore.

Is that old age closing in on me?



Although I prefer to think of it as the fact that your brain is just becoming more selective about the shit it stores, and some of the stuff is being put into archive rather than in the filing cabinet.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on November 20, 2003 11:56 AM

For me, it was age, laziness and some very bad experiances. I used to be able to speak 3 languages fluently, read old classics in their original languages and really get into some wonderful and spirited debates with a group of trial lawyers. I am sure if I cleared some obstacles in my life, I might want to, but for now, being lazy and placing my brain on a shelf is good enough.

Posted by: Anna on November 20, 2003 12:12 PM


I'm 29. I have the same condition.

Yes, I was brighter at 12. But there's no substitute for wisdom and experience.

Posted by: Key on November 20, 2003 12:12 PM

maybe I have Alzheimers and Deja Vu.

......I think I've forgotten this before?

Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim on November 20, 2003 12:21 PM

Naw Acidman. And age doesn't matter, it's ugly you have to watch out for!!

Posted by: Alaska Kim on November 20, 2003 12:29 PM

And, oddly, Marty Stuart is married to Connie Smith.

Posted by: James Joyner on November 20, 2003 01:25 PM

It gets worse. My brain is a superdupermegablivit: 44 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag. I never used to have to write anything down. Now I write everything down, then can't find the damned notes.

Posted by: Larry on November 20, 2003 01:42 PM

Anyone seen my keys?

Posted by: terry on November 20, 2003 02:37 PM

Marty Stuart is married; he's married to Connie Francis, I think.

As far as the inability to recall a name, cognitive psychologists call that the "tip of the tongue" phenomenon. It's very common, and although many people think it's age related, it's actually related to how full of information your brain is (which could be age related!).

You might want to call it early brilliance syndrome. The younger you were when you crammed your head with information, the younger you are when the tip of the tongue phenomenon starts. :)

Posted by: Renee on November 20, 2003 03:58 PM

Sorry, I meant Connie Smith, not Connie Francis. That's the tip of the iceberg for my ignorance phenomenon.

Posted by: Renee on November 20, 2003 03:59 PM

I've been addicted to the game show "Jeopardy" for years. Somedays I get on a roll and others I can't remember shit. I learn a lot and I'm always wanting to learn something new. I was actually a contestant on "The Wheel of Fortune " in 1976.Won a trip to Mexico and Arizona. My puzzle was "Skulls and Crossbones" They didn't give money in those days.

Posted by: Lexia on November 20, 2003 04:12 PM

Everytime I go to leave the house I have to send out a search party for my keys.

Posted by: wanda on November 20, 2003 04:47 PM

The syndrome you describe, A-Man, is not so much age-oriented (see Key) as it is Brain Overload - exacerbated by stress. Had any stress lately? ;)

Posted by: Indigo on November 20, 2003 04:51 PM

Where the hell are you Acidhead? I been looking at this post too friggin long. Give me another one.

Posted by: Key on November 20, 2003 04:55 PM

Key, I agree!
Mr. A -- did you fall off the planet or did a sales lady with pretty red toenails knock on your door this afternoon?

Posted by: Alaska Kim on November 20, 2003 05:26 PM

Maybe the muse has hit hard and he's building up a good case of carpal tunnel syndrome on the fancy lap top computer?

Posted by: Ms Anna on November 20, 2003 05:48 PM

...If he has carpal tunnel, I doubt it's from typing. ; )

Posted by: Key on November 20, 2003 05:57 PM

On second thought, you could be right about that, Key.

Posted by: Lady Mae on November 20, 2003 06:28 PM

Gingko Biloba for memory

Gingko Viagra to help you remember what the f**k you're doing.

Posted by: Horse with no-- on November 20, 2003 06:58 PM

It's nothing to worry about till the day you go in the bathroom and can't remember why!

Posted by: Captain Poopdeck on November 20, 2003 08:36 PM

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