It's all in there and one day I fear it will all come out!
| Now I can easily spot strangers who will ooze their life stories given even fleeting eye contact, a hint of a smile, or if I'm just stationary long enough to be held hostage as an audience. Can spot them and avoid them like the plague. Lately, however, I've been ambushed by, of all people, my friends! Disclosure is a verbal infection. It's not as if you can simply turn your head, wash your hands, or change your clothes to purge from memory what others are so eager to share. I've become so acutely aware of this for I fear I'm at that vulnerable stage of mental development where what I encode into my long-term memory today will be all that is accessible to me in my "golden years."
Yes, I laughed when a friend related that her husband, who minces no words, wanted to know who that "sawed off little f**ker" was at the party. That "sawed off little f**ker" is my boss's boss. He's vertically challenged alright, but once you get past his posturing, he's an intelligent, witty man. But now I must throttle my inner child's voice that screams "sawed off little f**ker" at the top of her lungs EVERY time I meet him the hall. You see, for me, it takes a great deal of energy to present an outward image of responsibility and professionalism. I've contemplated a defense just in case those dreaded words actually escape my lips. A few well-timed barks, grunts, and tics may support a diagnosis of adult onset Torrette's Syndrome.
My life has not been the same since hearing the following anecdote. A woman whose fat droops in deep folds from her body, revealed that upon checking into their hotel room, she stripped, threw herself spread-eagle on the bed, and then told her husband, "Go ahead. Get it over with so I can enjoy the rest of my vacation." Now tell me, what man could resist that come-hither? As a raving non-practicing heterosexual who has not had sex since hell froze over1 I have no vivid mindtapes to drown out this disturbing visual.
What has happened to good ol' embarrassment? Do people think that life is literally a stage? Are they unaware Jerry Springer Is NOT on every channel? If life is to become a TV talk show, I demand a mute button! One day "V" chips very well may be surgically implanted so our synapses won't be totally defenseless against such verbal and visual assaults.
Scientists now say we really don't forget2; it's all locked up in there-- it's just a matter of retrieval. This may, in part, explain why we often hear of the elderly, much to their loved ones' chagrin, doing and saying things totally out of character. Could it be a breakdown of our mental defenses in keeping in check all the accumulated verbiage and distressing images heaped upon us unbidden? And, as a consequence, are we witnessing nondiscriminate retrieval coupled with the collapse of well-worn neural passages to the familiar territory of the brain? Circuits never allowed to fire, go crazy lacking the customary governor.
So please have mercy on your friends when you feel you must share information that could have uncomfortable social or professional implications. If you're just burning to blabber out obscene snippets of life, seek out an elderly citizen confined to a nursing home. She will enjoy and appreciate your company, and, with her short-term memory already shot, won't be able to retain it anyway! That way you can regale her with your tale as many days as you need until your system is purged.
So in, hopefully, the distant future, if you encounter an elderly Southern woman with a gleam in her eye who spouts off "sawed off little f**ker" at every man who walks by, please remember she once presented a rational and calm veneer. The misplaced seeds planted before the millenium's end are doomed to sprout sometime.
1 As in the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over tour
2 At the time this was written, this was a viable theory for memory.