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.
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?
multiple times daily.
All of which leads me
to the (two-part)
Are we seasoned
gray matter wear and tear?
Or (more sinisterly)
are we exhibiting
telltale signs of memory loss?
Like it matters.
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
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
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
And laugh, because what’s the alternative?
Plus, it’s kind of funny in a
Except when I rise
from a seated position.
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.”
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
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 BroadwayWorld.com