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Running Memory Laps by Gary D. Crawford

We talk about memor y all the time, don’t we? “Oh, heck, now what was her name?” “My memory isn’t what it used to be.” “I’m having a senior moment.” “It just slipped my mind.” “I came in here to buy something ~ but what was it?” A lmost from the beginning of consciousness, we are aware of “memory,” that curious ability to recall (or not) something we once knew ~ names of things and people, events, explanations, advice. Isn’t it curious, then, that we know so little about memory itself, about what it is, exactly, and how it works? We recall things constantly, and without giving it much thought, until it doesn’t work and we have a memory lapse. I

define that as a something we know but cannot immediately recall. Most memory lapses are just temporary and annoying, though they sometimes can cause big trouble: “I didn’t forget, Mrs. Pritchard, honest! The doggie ate my homework.” Of course, it is easy to confuse a memory lapse with a lack of concentration, of being so distracted by what you are doing that you “lose track” of something impor tant. When I was four years old, my Dad suddenly needed a new hacksaw blade to finish a project he was working on. So together we drove over to the hardware store, a place I really enjoyed exploring. When he returned home 20 minutes later, Mom asked, “Where’s Gary?”