Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My old Dell kept going blue on me so I bought another refurbished desktop, this one from Walmart because you can get 'em really cheap and I wasn't looking to unload a ton of dough.

Fine. This one is reliable--it doesn't suddenly go all midnight on you, and it's got Windows 7, not XP, which is nice because so does my laptop. Okay.

Moving is fun, but it means writing new addresses in eleventy-seven million places, some of which you forget to notify.  Every last credit card has to be told the new address or you run into fat red slashes every other day. Moving computers means writing passwords in eleventy-seven million places and some of them, believe me, you just don't remember, not having used them since the pilgrims came to Plymouth. 

So you end up writing new ones, some with one digit and one upper case letter, some at least eight letters long, some six, you know.  You type some in and the website says "weak" or it won't even give you the dumb thing--"try again," it'll snicker demonically.

It's almost impossible to know how many passwords I have to use if I want to end up where I want to go--a dozen, maybe more, most all of them three alternatives with different complimentary numbers and letters. I write all this info down in a little notebook in my desk--three of them actually, which doesn't help.

Well, sometime I write them down.

Sometime I just forget.

Okay, confession. Ever since I picked up this Walmart Dell, I have spent something akin to the Hundred Years War re-upping and re-doing passwords, only to realize the next day I had no clue what I'd filled in the day before.  "Forgot your password?--click here."  You know.  I must have done it three dozen times, I swear.  And I have--sworn that is.  More than once.

Not long ago I read that forgetfulness meant you simply had too much in your head. The brain that's chock full isn't good at incidentals, which is to say, by my translation, the wise forget easily.  Comforting.

But not sustainable.  Unremitting truth is, I'm getting old.  I could list telling signals as long as my arm and yours and Bill Russell's, and one of them for sure is a leaky memory.  I had a class last night for which I spent probably too much time preparing. Because I had so much to do, so many different segments, I had everything written down and three-hole punched in a binder, neat as a pin, something I'd rarely done in 40 years of teaching.

I got to school, where I realized immediately that I left it home. Home used to be two blocks away, now it's 20 miles.  

Or this.  I've told writing students for years that keeping a notebook of ideas that come up and whack you hard is a good idea.  Flannery O'Connor called something akin "the habit of being."  "Write it down," I've said.  I do.  Sometimes. 

These days, my porous memory vastly less responsible, I've tried to listen to my own sermon.  I write things down.  Lots of things.  Even on my computer.  My Kindle has lists because I bought a two-buck app that lets me write in things down as if the cover were paper.  I'm learning.

And then this.  On my way home from the airport last week, I was listening to Mars Hill Audio off my iPod and through my radio, when someone said something really memorable, if I had a memory. I'm tooling down the highway, late at night, and I can't reach back into my suitcase, so right beside me there's a Casey's napkin that couched the donut I had with the coffee I bought when I left for the airport, way early the Friday before. 

There's a pen in the cubby hole, so I scratch out a note as I'm driving, something worth remembering, you know, something worth a good blog post.  A half-hour later, something else.  I scribble it down too on the napkin on the passenger seat.

See the photo? --a used Casey's napkin scribbled with tortured lines that are for the most part illegible.  I was driving, for pity sake.

Here at my desk the next morning, that crumpled napkin tried to speak to me and I had not a clue what it meant.  "Chesterton's feet"?  Good night, what is that?


Woe and woe and woe.  

Oh yeah--atop the waste basket right beside me is a three-ring binder full of well-reasoned notes for last night's class.  It hasn't moved.

Just shoot me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wecome to the Wise Ole Man's Club. When you forget something just pull out that contemplative look and gaze upwards. But don't ever forget your wife's birth day, unless she is older that you.