Saturday, December 30, 2006

I Can't Remember The Title Of This Post

I’m not the sharpest knife in the block, especially when it comes to my memory. I’m constantly going to the store and buying everything but the one thing I had gone to buy, or forgetting some important detail my wife tells me, or (sadly) forgetting my age and having to do the math when someone asks. And then there are the dozens of passwords and IDs I can never remember for the various websites and work applications and have to write down in an excel spreadsheet, completely breaking down the security that these passwords and IDs are supposed to afford me.

Take yesterday as an example of my poor memory: My ever-responsible wife came in to wake me, as I had tried to sleep late for the remainder of my vacation, and said, “You need to get up. We’re leaving in an hour.” I scratched my head and quickly tried to think of the things I had been planning (eat, sleep, play with the kids, eat some more, and maybe bathe) when she reminded me that we had planned for days to take the kids to an interactive museum. “Is that today?” I muttered. “I thought we were planning to do that tomorrow.” “No,” she said, rolling her eyes, as if to say she wondered why she married me instead of someone more dependable, like the spider plant in the corner.

Short of getting tested for early-onset Alzheimer’s, paying for one of those infomercial products that are supposed to boost my memory “in just two weeks!”, or simply going into a vegetative state that would justify my condition, I instead live with the problem and rack it up to the usual male cluelessness. Maybe it’s all the solvents I’ve sniffed from years of lab work.

Well now Science may be able to help, as reported in Scientific American:

In yet another attempt to better humanity through curious and “shocking” applications of electricity, a study of 13 hapless German college students at the University of Lübeck has shown that application of mild jolts of electricity directly to one’s brain during non-REM sleep can improve memory recall of word pairs the next morning by about 2%. The theory is that these pulses of electricity “exert a synchronizing effect on individual neurons and produce beneficial effects” with no apparent negative side effects or disruption of sleep. Guten nacht!

So what does this mean for me? Hmm. Let’s see. Send jolts of electricity through my brain or continue to appear like a dolt every time my wife sighs and says, “Don’t you remember?” Hard choice. Even a 2% increase in memory could mean the difference between my complete cluelessness and the appearance of mild retardation (a step up for me). Maybe it’s worth it.

I’ll book my tickets to Germany just as soon as I remember where I saved that spreadsheet with my Travelocity ID and password….


Maggie said...

I don't know if mild electric shocks are worth a step to mild retardation. Cant they just jolt you up to super memory status? Maybe you'd change into a woman though!

Not to worry, my brilliant software geek/artist husband has the same problem. I think it has to do with the crowding of the brain with more interesting and important data. It sounds good anyways.

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