(Sadly, the following story is completely true.) As I age, I routinely am reminded that my body – and my brain – are slowing declining. I will never again grace the cover of People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue, and I’m pretty, were I to have my IQ re-evaluated, it would no longer be anywhere near 250.
Not long ago, I was looking at a small, furry rodent nibbling at something in a park – a type of critter we’ve all seen before. Small with brown stripes and an adorable button nose, kind of like a squirrel but browner and smaller. For the life of me, I could not think of the name. A total brain freeze. Then the next day, sitting with my wife on the couch, it hit me and reflexively, I blurted out CHIPMUNK! Naturally, my wife was startled, and more than a little confused, as that has never been one of my pet names for her.
Last month, I walked into our garage to retrieve something. But by the time I got there and turned on the light, I had no recollection of why I went there in the first place. And then there was the time last week, when I logged into Netflix on my computer and it asked for my password. Something I have done a thousand times. But in that instant I had another deer-in-the-headlights moment, completely blanking out as to my password.
What makes this even crazier is that my password for every website is the same: SmellyButt#1776. And just moments ago, I have this vivid memory of having shared my universal password with anyone reading this article. So, enjoy my Netflix account, everybody, I guess.
What was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t. And that brings me to the point of this article. It’s about what happened the other day. Consider the following Exhibit A in the case that I must be losing my mind.
Ever since I turned 45, I have worn glasses. All the time – except when I’m sleeping, and even then, sometimes I go to bed and forget to take them off. I entered the local IGA grocery store, wearing my glasses and, of course, wearing a mask due to Covid. (At least I remembered to wear a mask this time.)
As often happens when I wear a mask, my glasses began to fog up. So I pushed my glasses onto my forehead so I could see, and I continued with my shopping. After about 20 minutes of shopping, I placed my hand to my forehead. That’s when I noticed, oh crap! My glasses were no longer on my forehead. So, I retraced my steps from the previous 20 minutes, reversing the path I had taken, as best as my faulty memory could recall.
I should add that my glasses’ frames are clear, so they would easily disappear into the floor, making them a particularly vulnerable target for any shopping cart or shoe. After 30 minutes of searching high and low (but mostly low, since I assumed they were on the floor and not on the top shelf of the candy aisle), I gave up. They were nowhere to be found.
I went up to one of the cashiers and asked if anyone had turned in a pair of glasses. “I do have a pair of glasses, sir. Could these be yours?” he asked. But, even without my glasses, I could immediately tell they were not mine, as mine had clear frames and the ones he showed me were pink, with what looked to be a Hello Kitty design. “Thanks anyway, but no, those aren’t mine. I guess I will keep looking.”
Then another friendly young cashier chimed in. “Could you describe them? Do they look anything like the pair you’re currently wearing?”
I felt my face. There they were. I had been wearing them the entire time. At some point, I must have absentmindedly pulled my glasses down to inspect a package and forgot to push them back onto my forehead. I turned red with embarrassment and immediately proceeded to issue a loud public announcement for all around me to hear, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to bring your attention to the biggest idiot in the entire store – That would be ME!” (I actually said it. What’s more, no one refuted it.)
What makes this story even more ironic is that when my two daughters were young, I often made up bedtime stories for them. My favorite such story was one I told my daughter Rachel when she was just three years old called Rachel and Her Missing White Hat. The story I wove was about Rachel’s favorite white winter hat that she loved so much she wore it everywhere.
But one day she could not find it and, as I yarned in my meandering story, she looked everywhere: throughout the house, all over her school, at the farm, and yes, even the grocery store. She could not find her favorite hat anywhere, I would tell her – UNTIL she finally looked in the mirror, and, voila! It had been on her head the entire time.
So, there I was, in the grocery store, literally re-enacting the very children’s story I had told to my toddler at bedtime countless times.
They say that as you get older, you start to revert to your childhood. I didn’t realize they meant it quite so literally.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.