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Aisle Seat: Do I Have "Crone’s Disease"? My Memory is a Blank!

By Naomi Serviss / New York City

An informal girlfriend poll

about forgetting stuff

was both comforting and alarming.

Comforting because I realized

it wasn’t just me.

Wasn’t the only one vexed

by memory issues.

Alarming because

it hit me that

our collective brain cells

have been shedding like

Goodwill fur coats.

Retention skills are deteriorating.

We’re blanking on

favorite unsung actors

(Bruno Kirby? Oh, THAT guy!)

and we didn’t recognize

a primary care physician

on the subway.

(Who I’d been going to for years!)

What’s that about?

Friends report

frequent discombobulation

over misplaced




which produces

mini-panic attacks.

multiple times daily.

All of which leads me

to the (two-part)

universal question:

Are we seasoned

sage oldsters

merely exhibiting

gray matter wear and tear?

Or (more sinisterly)

are we exhibiting

telltale signs of memory loss?

Like it matters.

My husband

has not been spared, either,

contrary to his denial.

Eagle Scout, (age 15!)

Lew’s been a prepared kinda of guy

since kidhood, family lore reports.

Lately, he’s been

“misplacing” his stuff, too.

His reading glasses.


Misremembering the theme song

from F Troop.

Inability to identify

a familiar-looking character actor

Bruno Kirby!

That guy!

Not to be confused with Richard Kind,

an Upper West Side neighbor

and actor in a million movies.

Lew’s theory about the poll participants

(including ourselves):

We’ve all come down with Bruce Willis Disease.

Not to make light of

Willis’s recent aphasia disclosure

and retirement from acting.

But it does have a nice ring to it.

So we shoulder shrug

and call each other’s cell phones

as well.

And laugh, because what’s the alternative?

Plus, it’s kind of funny in a


feel-like-that-college-girl way.

Except when I rise

from a seated position.

Three laminectomies,

one hip replacement

and two surgeries on my feet later,

I’m a mindful standee.

I’ll never again feel compelled

To wear my glasses

hanging on a sad, beaded necklace.

Another facet of

my diminishing (gray-matter) returns

is lack of focus.

Deadlines loom but, oh look! Cows!

Being virtually trapped

in our one-bedroom nest

for nearly two years hasn’t helped

my attention span.

So while trying to focus

on a current deadline,

I may have to check tracking

for that birthday gift

sent to my daughter-in-law.

Expensive distraction is a screen away.

There’s always the online shopping

or “monitor shopping”

as in “window shopping.”

I power-browse,

scrolling pell-mell through categories

like I’m working the five-cent slots

in Atlantic City.

Black tank top tempts for five bucks.

Added to cart.

Then the same in fuchsia,

white, tan and seafoam

also carted.

Spent enough for Free Shipping!

Then I almost almost almost

place the order.

I silently ask

Do I really need four more tank tops?


Who needs more stuff?

Recalling George Carlin’s classic bit on “Stuff”

reminds me how

unnecessary more clutter would be.

Rarely do I place an order.

Instead, time for a visit

to my Buy Nothing Facebook group.

Neighbors give away unwanted merchandise

to eager members.

During my ongoing clothing purge season,

I’ve unloaded some fancy frocks

and plenty of schmattas.

Problem is I’ve accumulated more…

this, that and whatnot to boot.

As I creep towards my seventh decade

an upcoming 50th high school reunion

has been on my mind.

Schmoozing with all those 68-year-olds!

How do you make small talk

with someone you crushed on in 10th grade?

What do I have in common

with those old geezers?

They better have name tags.


Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including

1 comment

1 Comment

Jun 19, 2022

Loved it. You made me laugh… at myself. 😂

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