By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
I guess writing about fond old memories and my seemingly age-related memory deterioration is quite apropos. “Just where should I start?” asked the chicken of the egg. Or was it the egg to the chicken? I noted in last weeks “Wramblings” that I would follow up on the memory topic in a future writing “if I remembered.” I did remember and this is that follow up, so I didn’t foul up.
Typically, when starting to write on a topic that has some scientific, medical, or historical significance I do some research to knowledgeably pass on what I have learned. I did follow that standard with this topic, but it got into too much of a cause-and-effect description of the types, and so I decided to “wing it,” and just present my intuitive sense of the differences. The scientific approach basically divided memory loss into two categories: Short-Term memory loss and Long-Term memory loss. Each have several physiological components, or the “cause and effect” aspect.
Among the many causes of memory loss, probably the most common is age, as it contributes to, or is a major part of, both types. Medical conditions, or substances put into, or through your body, in my opinion, are most likely the second most common cause but can also affect both long and short-term memory loss.
Absent-mindedness is possibly the most common example of short-term memory. I think that pretty much affects us all. The major causative agent in absent mindedness, I think, is just distraction. Any type of distraction, or disruption of our thought process, can cause us to lose track of what we were doing, or were going to do.
My long-term memory is still quite acute, albeit maybe not cute. My wife disputes my recollection ability, and some of what I claim to recall. Then again, she disclaims (forgets) having been on certain roads in our courting days, and my recollection of facts from that era. I can still vividly recall certain events that occurred prior to grade school. If “pre-school” had been invented back then, I could probably recall events before that. If anyone from Friendship, still on the green side of the sod, can recall Ralph and Flossy Wickwire who lived next door on Middaugh Hill Road, now known as County Rte. 31, headed East out of Friendship, they will validate my ability of seven decades plus, for memory recall. Elm Street in Friendship across from the Octagon house was my home after that and from there I started attendance at Friendship Central school at 4 years of age. I turned 5 in late December of that year, but I guess they needed to fill a seat in that class.
My short-term memory has recently shown signs of deterioration, however. This is likely due primarily to age, compounded by “dietary choices and consumption”. I rarely drink water, not caring for the taste, and inconsistency of its taste due to source, from town to town. We have had some contentious discussions over the past few months based solely on memory related issues. I am truly blessed to have an understanding spouse. Now that the issue has been addressed, and after my explanation to her and admittance of a problem, she understands. My short-term memory lapses are not “hours long”, but rather “minutes short”. They are like “absent mindedness” but are not necessarily triggered by any external distractions, but rather by my own mind. I have a very active mind which is always churning, and there is never a dead spot in its workings.
Ok, now the Wramblings. Have you ever questioned why a man wearing shorts on a chilly fall or winter day is questioned or commented to, or just given a head shake? Women routinely brave the cold in skirts and dresses.
This year has been a challenging garden growing year. We typically grow two kinds of tomatoes. Most years we grow Early Girl tomatoes, as they are “early.” They ripen in about 52 days ready to harvest. This year they didn’t grow to their normal size, but they were the tastiest they have ever been. Our neighbor, who I will not name but may sing a carol to sometime, said: “Every time I take a bite of one of your tomatoes my eyes roll back in my head.” Our other variety, intended for freezing or canning, didn’t fare well with the early growing season dryness. They split apart when reaching maturity. This was probably due to the lack of moisture as we neared drought conditions.
There is nothing more frustrating than to not be able to communicate with a physician, hopefully in an unintrusive way, when you have a medical need or question.
This is a shout out to two physicians that provide medical services for me. Both are much appreciated, not just for their office care and medical treatment, but also for their accessibility. Dr. Steven Collins, one of the two, is my Primary Care Physician. He recently replied to a “URMC MyChart” inquiry when I had a question that I had forgotten to address at a previous appointment. Ironically, the message/question was about my recent forgetfulness. The other medical provider was Dr. Matthew Tomaino (Tomaino Orthopaedics), who had previously performed bilateral “Basel Joint Reconstruction” surgery on my hands. He was responsive to my emails, even once answering one very early post-surgery morning email with a phone call at 7:00 that same morning.
Anyone that already knows me is aware of my twisted sense of humor. Those new to me via my Sun writings may already suspect it. My sense of humor and my “quick, without thinking” vocalizing, sometimes gets awkward at best, sometimes even painful. I shared a couple of stories from my past with the Owner/Editor the other day and he suggested that I share them with you, the readers. I guess he wanted to share the excruciating “funny bone” bruises with you. My humor threshold started at a young age and still has no ceiling. I was in my 7th or 8th grade high school career when I “pick pocketed” a pack of cigarettes from the suitcoat pocket of one of my teachers and handed it back to him. He literally marched me by the scruff of my neck down to the school principal’s office and “turned me in”. Guess he couldn’t see the humor in it.
Continuing with life’s opportunities or challenges, when I was 17 years old, I enlisted in the US Navy. Despite my age, and even though the youngest recruit in our “Platoon”, I was appointed to be the “Recruit Petty Officer in Charge”. One day when we were doing some exercise or other on the “Parade Ground” I did something to irritate our Company Commander (CC). He exclaimed “Wiser if you don’t straighten up, I’m going to stick this size eight right up your ass”.
I commented back to him, out loud, with a straight face: “Is that your shoe size or your hat size sir?” That earned me 50 pushups with one of those size eight shoes applied to my back adding a little weight for me to push up.
By way of apology for my crude remark above, it was a direct quote. By further explanation, our CC was about 5’ 7” tall and had very small feet.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could select “Ala Carte” channels when selecting or subscribing to a TV “Programming Package”?
Using my Roadrunner email app can be frustrating due to the way they “Nest” emails and related replies/responses. Instead of separating individual responses they record them in a group together with all comments and replies to the original email. This “nesting” often hides or buries them so they are not visible. It isn’t always obvious that there are multiple replies from multiple respondents, resulting in overlooked emails. That happened to me the other day resulting in asking someone I had copied on a joint message, why he hadn’t replied.
In closing I leave you with another poem inspired by an eagle picture taken, and shared, by wildlife photographer extraordinaire Dan Jordan. I dubbed Dan The Eagle Whisperer. I guess the moniker is catching hold. I offer for your viewing, and hopefully reading enjoyment, one of his recent eagle photos headlining my words put into the poem “I Stand on Guard“.