Monday, May 10, 2010


It’s common knowledge among the aging population that our short term memory isn’t what it used to be. Why can we remember what clothes we wore on our first date but not whether we took our pills this morning? We remember our parents taking us to ride on the Balboa ferry when we were little kids but we are hard pressed to recall exactly what we ate for dinner last night.

I think this is euphemistically referred to as “slipping a little.” Jer and I have, over the years, come to a nice symbiotic relationship of our minds. We help each other “remember” things. We also are kind to each other by not poking fun at the other’s “slip” – at least in front of other people. We kid, but we do it gently because we both are in the same boat.

The other day I had to have Jerry’s help with a little math problem that came up with my friend Kelli, for whom I do a little accounting work each month. She owed me $50 but only had a $100 bill. I had $42 in my wallet, so she took that and said I could keep the $100 and adjust my bill next month. That was fine with me, and I cashed the big bill at the bank on the way home. A couple days later she needed me to do another little chore that was probably going to run about $15, so she gave me an extra $5 to make sure I had enough money. I did the chore and paid out $13. Now here’s the funny thing: as I was driving home I kept trying to figure out where Kelli and I stood in our "high finance," but it was like my brain was just too tired at that moment to come up with an answer. I knew we were close to being even, and I certainly wasn’t worried about change, but when I got home I repeated the transaction to Jerry and asked him where I stood. He quickly told me, and that was that. I am not so stupid as to be unable to figure it out myself, but that particular morning his brain power was comforting, assuring and much appreciated!

That afternoon, Jerry and I were sitting quietly in our living room. I was reading and he was working a crossword puzzle. He finally said to me, “I’ve got it all except for one word. Who wrote ‘All Quiet on the Western Front?’” Without any hesitation I said “Remarque” and spelled it for him. Now I have never read the book, never saw the movie, couldn’t tell you the plot if I tried (although I think it is set in the WWI era), but my 10th grade English teacher, Miss Weiherman, mentioned the book one day and told us she suspected the author’s name was really Kramer but for literary reasons he wrote it backwards and changed the spelling. That explanation apparently is incorrect; nevertheless, that’s what she said in 1950 and that little statement lay dormant in my brain for 60 years until Jerry asked that question of me.

My point is that in our house, it is tit for tat. Share and share alike. What's yours is mine. Some days Jerry and I both seem to be operating with half a brain but we figure together we’ve got a whole one that's not in too bad a shape for old codgers. We can’t ask for much more than that.

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