Well, it finally happened; my head is full. I can’t put another thing in it. I thought it would be names that would put me over the top. But it was numbers that did it. I discovered the issue when I went to the college swimming pool after a seven-month absence. I had to renew my membership to get in. “What’s your old entry code,” I was asked. “Uh, I think it is les.”
But no, that wasn’t it. I had to start from scratch: full name, driver’s ID. Then my code popped up – les1942. I’d forgotten the “1942.” I paid up and made it over that hurdle.
It was similar to what happens when you check into a motel and they ask for your license plate number. I never know mine. We have two cars and I can’t remember which plate goes with which car. THAT’S A LIE! I don’t know either plate number. As I started out saying, my head is full.
Anyhow, I got registered at the pool, headed down the hall to the locker room door and punched 756 into the keypad; nothing happened; the door wouldn’t open. Wrong number? Back to the main desk to ask if I remembered the code correctly.
“Oh, we changed it; it’s now 648.” Off I went chanting 648, 648, 648. I didn’t want to have to go back to the desk and remove all doubt of how much of an idiot I really am. I made it into the room, got into my suit, and using a combination lock, secured my clothes, wallet and cell phone inside the locker. My combination is 7-28-5.
That didn’t come out of my head; it came from the back of the lock. I never removed the sticker that came with it. I knew at some point I’d forget and wanted to avoid going to the front desk, dripping like a drowned rat, to ask if the janitor might have a set of bolt cutters to cut open my lock.
That’s the issue; all those numbers in my life, in everyone’s life. Three sets to go for a swim. Four digits to get cash from an ATM. Go to the doctor and be asked, “What year were you born?” Knowing your name isn’t enough to get you into the exam room. It’s not a problem for me. I may not know how old I am, but for some reason I never forget my birth year. I guess it’s because I use it all the time to figure out how old I am and then gasp in shock.
When cell phones went mainstream, society got a reprieve. The phones took over the task of keeping track of the numbers we frequently call. But it only lasted a few years. Eventually, a bunch of new numbers to remember came our way. Now I can barely remember my own phone number. I can retrieve my childhood, five-digit number along with several others from that era. They are deep inside my brain and apparently insulated from memory lapses.
We’re inundated with numbers and codes: ATM pins, Social Security IDs, passwords, library card IDs, license plate numbers. It’s a long list and a challenge to keep track of them. I hope I’m not involved in an emergency; even 911 is getting difficult to extract from that swamp between my ears.
Think it’s not a problem for you? Have you dated a check or a document this year and found you’d written 2019 instead of 2020? No? Then your head’s not full yet. But it will be.
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