My memory

Sometimes my memory works like the proverbial steel trap. When it comes to utterly useless trivia, I’m your guy. I can remember the author who introduced me to certain words – and sometimes even the very book! (Examples: P.G. Wodehouse, who had an immense vocabulary, introduced me to fug, opprobrious, bootless, inimitable (in a title), and many others. Farley Mowat introduced me to tyro, among others.) What does it matter, really, where I learned those words? Or what a nictitating membrane is? Or that an eft is an juvenile newt?

On the other hand, I have a terrible time remembering names. Sometimes I even forget the names of people I’ve known for a long time, but haven’t seen in a while. (And no, this isn’t an artifact of my being in my 40’s — I have had this problem since I was in college, at least.) New names? I’m terrible with new names.

I also have a hard time remembering to adjust the seat and mirrors for my wife after I drive her car, while she always remembers to adjust the seat after she drives my truck. There are lots of other things I don’t remember for her, which I should.

And finally, I forget the lessons I’ve learned in life. Lessons which were painful and hard to learn. Lessons which taught me humility. Lessons which taught me about the incredible mercy and grace of God.  Yet God still remembers to be merciful and gracious to me.  (No small part of that grace involves my very longsuffering wife!)

Why is that? Why do I remember unimportant trivia, and forget important things?

Does anyone else have this problem?



  1. Yes.

    (I meant to comment earlier. But I forgot…)

  2. Funny… 🙂

    So… what does it mean that our memories act this way? I certainly don’t do anything to try to remember the things that I don’t need to remember – and I even try to work at remembering the things I should, but which I frequently don’t.

    In the case of interpersonal and spiritual matters, is selfishness at the root of this? Just not being as interested in what other people are saying (or how they feel, or what the Bible says, etc.) compared to what I’m interested in? Or is it something else? What do you think?

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