The Family Memory

There has long persisted a myth that one side of our family has the most diabolical memory known to man, or as it is more commonly experienced in our family, known to woman.  This myth has persisted because none of us can remember if it’s true or not, or why we keep finding our purse in the fridge.

Not everyone in our family suffers from “the memory”;  Thing Two you are lucky enough to have inherited yours from Daddy’s side.  Bad news Thing One, I think maybe it comes with the ADHD.  …Although I forget why I think that.

A poor working memory doesn’t have to be a disability though.  Over the years I have discovered a few handy tips to cope with it.  I’ll impart these to you now, in writing – because…   well, I forget why but here goes.

Never trust your memory – Write It Down

“Of course I’ll remember my best friend’s new baby’s name!  It’s SO them, it’s unique, it’s beautiful, it’s…    shit what is it?!”

Keep an address book, preferably brightly-coloured and too heavy to move.  Write in it, methodically, all the important details – especially addresses and phone numbers, and especially that one number you are 100% certain you will remember tomorrow – you won’t.

Keep a calendar, somewhere highly visible, a place where you naturally glance every day is ideal.  If the screen of your gaming PC is a little inconvenient, maybe try on the back of the door.

Post-its AND Technology – Two-Pronged Attack

“Oh-my-God I’m so excited, the finale of my favourite show ever is on tomorrow night, I can’t wait to find out what happens with the dragons, and the White-Walkers and the…   Last night, it was on last night! That’s why all these spoilers are on Twitter.  Arrggh!”

Set a reminder on the TV, AND stick a post-it next to the telly, or the door, or on the fridge, preferably all three.

Also, TOP-TIP, marry someone with a better memory and get them interested in the programme.  Make sure they’re the kind of person who won’t start watching it without you (*gives Daddy serious side-eye*).

Explain It – Friends Will Understand

I mean pick your moments obviously.  A job interview, for example, is NOT a great time.

Once you’re safely out of the probation period of a job (having narrowly survived on post-its and Outlook reminders) that’s the PERFECT time to let the cat out of the bag.

It’s good to tell friends early days so that they are more understanding when you remember every word of a Star Wars film but can’t remember that today is their birthday.

True friends will probably overlook the occasional lapse BUT, true friends are also worth making the effort for.  Employ all of the above techniques to do everything you can to remember their stuff.  If only, to show them how important they are to you.  By the time you lapse, hopefully they’ll have seen you turn up to a night out in your slippers enough times to have made their peace with it.

It’s a Handicap, Not an Excuse

Everyone has something they don’t do as well as others, it doesn’t detract from what they’re great at, and this is just the same.  It’s not a get out of jail free card though – literally, I’ve checked with a policeman.  It’s simply an area we have to work harder at to achieve the same results as others.

Most of the time, with a bit of effort we can function just like everyone else, standard hit and miss, except that when we miss, we don’t remember the embarrassment. Win-win.


At any one time there are at least three family members concerned they have dementia, but this is only because they don’t remember that their memories have always been this terrible.

I have checked the Dementia leaflets in the doctor’s surgery several thousand times and the gist of the thing is this:-

If you know who you are, where you are and who you’re with, it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember: why you went in there, what for, or the word for the thing you’re trying to tell them about, which you’ve currently misplaced.

I’ve also heard people say that people with bad memories don’t get dementia.  I don’t know if that’s true or if, as I strongly suspect, it’s just impossible to tell the difference.

Now, what did I come in here for…

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