Oops! It’s Valentine’s Day
Now let’s be clear, I don’t do it on purpose. I love my spouse. And she loves me (mostly). We stand together when standing together is needed. We leave each other alone when being alone is needed. And on special days (love events, I call them), one of us remembers most of them when they actually occur. And that one isn’t me.
I’m not that bad. Really. Out of the last 30 birthdays, I’ve only missed 30 of them. Out of the last 30 anniversaries, I’ve only missed 30 of them. Out of the last 30 Valentine’s Days, I’ve only missed…holy cow, I am that bad!
My adopted sisters, Fay and Bonnie, remember love events. My pals Gail and Wendy remember. My neighbors Paul and Patrizia remember. So what’s wrong with me?
I’ve asked myself this question many times. Actually, for 30 years. My therapist says my problem is “selective forgetfulness.” My response to her is always, “who are you?” I like to mess with my therapist. She doesn’t appreciate it.
So what is it that makes me a bad husband (at least four or five times a year)? I’ve thought about it a lot, and I think I’m the perfect husband. I feed the cat, I wash the dishes, I clean up after my late-night snacks (all three of them).
I got on my trusted source (Wikipedia, of course) to explore my problem and look for a really easy fix. And I found it! God bless my therapist. She was right!
Yes, there is something called selective forgetfulness and I’ve already forgotten what it is. Just kidding.
I can relax a bit. Selective forgetfulness isn’t Alzheimer’s. It isn’t caused by the many times my clumsy self has tripped and fallen on my head. Wikipedia (again) describes it as a type of amnesia in which the sufferer loses certain parts of their memory. Common elements that may be forgotten include: juggling and relationships. It’s true, I can’t remember how to juggle. Or maybe I’ve forgotten that I never knew how to juggle.
But it’s relationships that matter in this discussion. Specifically, my relationship with my wife. Why do I remember our upcoming love events in the days leading up to them, but then totally forget those events as they happen? Why is my memory selectively forgetful?
I hate to say this, but it might just be getting old. The brain can hold just so much before items begin to fall out of your head as you sleep. Check your pillow when you wake up in the morning. Those lumps and crevices are caused by ideas tumbling out of your ears.
According to the National Institute on Aging, many people can become more forgetful as they age. One typical symptom is making poor judgments and decisions a lot of the time. I make poor judgments every time I remember her birthday, our anniversary, and other love events 10 days before they occur, then have them disappear as I careen toward the day in question.
So I’m old. Maybe that’s it.
But it might be a multitude of other possibilities. One theory comes from studies involving rats (yuk) and electroconvulsive shock (double yuk). I’ll skip those ones. I’m all for leaving rats out of my personal business.
Another theory: Sex can wipe your memory clean. Got your attention, didn’t I? According to Health.com, some people experience “global transient amnesia,” a sudden loss of memory that can’t be attributed to any other neurological condition. The condition can be brought on by vigorous sex, as well as emotional stress, vigorous sex, minor head injuries, vigorous sex, jumping into hot or cold water, or vigorous sex. During an episode, a person can’t form new memories or remember very recent events. This could explain my forgetting love events, although it’s more likely caused by my constant head injuries than vigorous sex. Remember, I’m old.
Perhaps it’s just a matter of being together for 30 years and being comfortable enough with each other to forgive and forget. Or to forget and forgive. My wife doesn’t really mind when I forget our love events. As a matter of fact, she kind of thinks it’s funny. Funny enough that she shares it with the whole neighborhood. So she doesn’t mind, but 43 other people think I’m a jerk.
But I’m not forgetting any love events this year. I will shower my wife with flowers, candy, and as much vigorous sex as my heart can handle. How will I remember? I’m going to pin this article to my forehead throughout 2022. Although I’ll probably forget that it’s there.
So Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, and um, Happy Fourth of July. Remember I did this. I certainly won’t. ▼
Michael Gilles is a playwright, actor, and director from Milton, and a regular contributor to Letters from CAMP Rehoboth.