Forgetfulness is the act of failing to remember or inadvertently neglecting to do something. Of late, I admit to being more forgetful than I used to be. The excuse for older people is that they experience ‘senior moments’ when their grey matter does not tick as it should, causing situations where instant retrieval of facts locked away in the mind is not possible. Such irritating happenings can be highly frustrating, not only for the one who cannot remember, but also for those waiting for an answer or a resolution to a problem. You rush up the stairs to do something important and when you arrive on the landing you have forgotten what you intended to do, which means you have to return to where you were when you thought of the action, in order to remember what it was you forgot! Then you kick yourself, because you immediately remember what it was you had forgotten.
The brain is an amazing computer comprised of systems devoted to logical actions and responses to information processed by it from the five senses; in addition to the above, there’s a repository of information received through those same senses. Somewhere deep within the cerebrum a process takes place almost instantly where data stored is equated and compared to information being received from the senses so that an individual can make appropriate responses, perhaps with words, physical expressions or other reactions, some even being reflexive responses, such as the blinking of an eye or an emergency stop when a person is faced with an unexpected hazard while driving his car.
Despite the fact that the brain is fearfully and wonderfully made*, there are times when it falters; maybe when a person is tired or under the influence of alcohol. Age can play its part too, because all body cells, including those of the brain, deteriorate over time. The linking mechanisms between the cells, likewise can fail. Additionally, the brain is susceptible to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; many of them are progressive, bringing about a gradual declension towards a condition of severity, so that the person cannot function without outside help.
No one wants to suffer the ignominy of a having a brain that does not function efficiently and the prospect of having to be cared for in a home because of dementia would be a terrifying thought. I can only hope that my recent forgetfulness is not a precursor of brain lapses in the future as I grow older. Meanwhile I shall continue to match my brain with those of the ‘Egg Heads’, arguably the most distinguished TV quiz contestants of our time. I am an ardent enthusiast of the team who continue to win game after game with hopeful challengers for the £47,000 prize or more, should they succeed. I also enjoy ‘The Weakest Link’ compared by Anne Robinson, who despite her age, manages to entertain with intelligent, but often sarcastic wit.
• Pslam 139:14