The other day, “Fido” (names have been changed to protect the innocent) was doing something annoying, and I reacted by…calmly…raising my voice, shouting, “Biscuit, Charlie, uh, Fido.” Yup, I called him Biscuit, then the name of my parent’s dog, Charlie, and finally arrived at the correct name. As kids, we chuckled when my grandmother went through the other three sibling names before landing on the correct one. We teased my parents when they started doing it. And now…well, I swear, I’m never going to do it again. Wish me luck.
I cringe every time I call my youngest child by the name of my youngest brother. How could I possibly mix up a 51-year old with a 21-year old? They don’t even live in the same house. Okay, and now comes confession time. Once in a rare while, I call our middle child by the name of my sibling number three. Why do I do that? What’s worse is when I forget what I was talking about.
My parents moved into our home a few weeks ago to heal from surgery. They both broke their hips (yes, their times “under the knife” were only a day apart). A couple of days ago, I was talking with my dad, who is 87. He stopped in the middle of a sentence, paused, and said, “I lost my train of thought.” I’ve experienced that hundreds of times over the course of my life (okay, maybe thousands of times…? Scary thought!), and it never bothered me until I started getting more “senior”-ish and paid more attention to the problem. Dad hasn’t lost his smarts at all, so we just laughed it off. But something possessed me to google, “What causes people to lose their train of thought?”
Apparently, researchers have decided that the culprit is on one part of the brain’s stopping system called the subthalamic nucleus. Now if you can say that—subthalamic nucleus—you’ll never have to worry about senior moments again, because you’ll sound super intelligent no matter how many times you forget what you were going to say.
Anyway, I read to the end of the article and found it moderately enlightening. No life-changing epiphany. At the bottom of the article, however, I noticed a host of eye-catching photos.
“Gut doctor: ‘I beg Americans to throw out this vegetable.’” A gross diagram of the human digestive system was displayed right above the smart-looking gut doctor (some of the images weren’t attractive…obviously, as Professor Snape would say). Well, I’m practiced enough at these distractions to know that if I succumb to clicking on one of these articles, I will go through a 47,252-slide presentation before I get to the end. In the end, I will be encouraged to purchase the gut doctor’s book, or subscribe to his YouTube channel. Either that, or I will be offered a “brief 30-minute” video presentation describing the problem but never offering the solution. What’s worse, the video will actually last for two hours…and still won’t give me the answer unless I purchase the product or service being sold.
Among the more humorous photos were, “World’s First Surviving Octuplets Are All Grown Up. Look at them Nine Years Later.” All eight infants were proudly and elegantly dressed in matching clothes for the photo pose. I’m sure the story is amazing, and any woman who can survive raising octuplets is a superhero in my book. Only two pictures away was another story about septuplets. The chaos in that family surely was no different than that in the octuplet family. I just remember how challenging it was for my wife and I to get our children one at a time, three years between each one.
After my eyes roamed away from the multiple-child families, I noticed pictures of Johnny Carson (do millenials even know who that is?), Rosanne Barr and her latest outrage, something about the 40+ Kate Beckinsale’s relationship with the 20+ Pete Davidson, and “A Fast Way to Pay off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt.” All good reads, I’m sure. Wait, I think I’ve digressed. Now, where was I?
Oh yeah, Biscuit. I mean Charlie. I mean Fido. Doggone it. Excuse the pun. I’m always pleased when I can regain my train of thought. I guess not all hope is lost.