The opposite of total recall

Posted: May 7, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are two things (OK, maybe three) I’ve grown to enjoy from the ongoing TVFury project: That it has spawned a nickname for my wife – JVFury – and allows me to read Fury copy on a regular basis.

The guy is a memory machine. Always has been. Take Thursday, for example. In a single post, he recalled:

A) details about Stephen King novels he read maybe 20 years ago
B) the way he felt about those books
C) the order in which he read them

And that’s not an anomaly. Fury can recall similarly vivid details about old Sports Illustrated covers, playing roto-baseball with childhood friends and about 1,479 other topics in between.

It makes me feel like an idiot or, to borrow a line from Home Alone, what the French call “les incompetents.” More precisely, it makes me realize I’m either not into memories – which is possible, if strange – or that people simply have different capacities for recalling the parts of the past that didn’t necessarily change their lives.

This is an actual picture of TV and his defective brain.

I wonder …

Do people have different capacities for storing information? Almost certainly. It’s probably no different than varieties in intelligence levels, if not necessarily related.

Do some of us have an aptitude for memory, just as we might have, say, a way with words or numbers? That seems logical, too.

And some eat more carrots. Wait. That’s an eyesight thing, isn’t it? OK. Um … some of us are elephants?

I also think a percentage of folks excel being in the moment, soaking in specifics and storing them like state capitals or something – plain facts. And others probably create sensory correlations, connecting events to unforgettable emotions. I’m pretty sure my wife, the aforementioned JVFury, does this, especially when it comes to our kids.

I think that’s part of my problem – I’m fixated on facts, have a tendency to overlook feelings. (It’s one of my few male traits.) Plus, I’m almost unreasonable busy (or claim to be), and don’t put enough energy into the past. That is, I’d probably be able to come up with fine points from an evening with childhood friends if I sat down and gave it some thought, if that was the task of the moment. Except I never do that, and that might mean I don’t cherish the present the way I should.

If that’s true, it’s a problem. Maybe I should hire Fury to store my memories or to provide me with memories the way that Cosmo Kramer did for J. Peterman. You remember “Seinfeld,” right? I do. Just don’t ask me what happened in real life last Wednesday. Weird.

  1. shawnfury says:

    If you write in your memoir about how your car was towed on your first night in New York City, then, yes, I will be starting the Vandrovec Reality Tour.

    You might have a healthier relationship with your memories. It could be that you are doing a brilliant job of living in the moment and not dwelling on what happened in the past. You’re savoring life as it happens, even if years later it doesn’t resonate as much. I like to think I don’t romanticize all of my nostalgia but that’s probably inevitable at some level.

    Part of it is probably just some biological thing like you talked about as far as certain brains maintain information in different ways. Also, over the years, I’ve written like 500,000 words worth of emails with my three main friends growing up (and they’ve written similar emails about old times) so the stories have always been kept alive. Plus, many memories are linked with sporting events so I remember something that happened at home because the Lakers beat the 76ers on the same day, those connections help with recall.

    • We should set up some sort of in-office memo (at TPS report?) for exchanges like this.
      See? I can recall quotes from Office Space, but can’t tell you what I did 12 hours ago.

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