I ran across a new study this week that has me a little worried. It suggests that mild memory problems may be more common in men than women.
That may be more obvious than worrisome, but it’s what the study from the respected Mayo Clinic says next that concerns me. It says such “senior moments” could actually be a form of forgetfulness that may lead to dementia as men get older. And I am getting older, as my 10-year-old daughter pointed out the other day.
“You are so 45,” she told me.
I replied that I’m actually closer to 48, but that just confirmed her theory. “People over 45 can’t remember anything,” she said.
This exchange was prompted by a promise I had made. Despite my customary resistance to annoying my co-workers with our kids’ fund raising activities, I had agreed to take our daughter’s Girl Scout cookie order form to work.
Truth be told, I didn’t mind. That’s because Girl Scout cookies transcend the average fund-raiser. They are welcome everywhere. Who doesn’t break into a smile just thinking about ordering a box of Girl Scout cookies?
On the day I was supposed to take the order form, our daughter found it on the kitchen counter. Her disappointment led to our discussion about age and memory.
The form eventually made it to the office, but I’m notorious for letting such things slip through the cracks. And, while my mental lapses may not be as public as Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “oops” moment was back in November, they are just as distressing.
For example, just after our daughter helpfully reminded me that I am becoming a man of a certain age, I stood up a friend of mine for lunch. While I sat at home in my favorite chair, happily enjoying a day off from work, he ended up dining alone. I felt so bad about it that I picked up the tab when we had lunch the following week. I think he was just relieved I actually remembered to show up.
These fresh incidents of forgetfulness come at a time of year when I’m under enormous pressure to keep my head in the game. My wife’s birthday is coming up soon and if I want the chill of the season to remain outdoors, I won’t repeat the mistake I made a few years ago. That’s when I forgot her big day. At the time, my wife let me go far too long before reminding me. When she finally did, it was too late to do anything more than try to make it up to her with a panic buy of flowers and a card.
My wife laughs about it now and she loves to tell that story. But she tells it with so much gusto that sweat starts breaking out on my brow, my hands get moist, my mouth gets dry and I start thinking that maybe more flowers and a card are in order.
“The time I actually forgot her birthday” story is always told at least once this time of year. I think it’s my wife’s way of warning me. She also drops other hints – most of them so obvious even I have the capacity to catch on. Just the other day, she asked me what we should do ON HER BIRTHDAY!
I don’t think she wants a repeat any more than I do. That’s why she, and now my daughter these days, do what they can to keep me out of trouble.
Which reminds me, if you need a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies I can probably hook you up. Just make sure I write down your order and give it to my daughter. Unless, of course, you want a good story to hang over my head.