Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Club

I receive, daily, a thought for the day via e-mail from my father.  I love getting these.  He sends them to me, his other son--my brother, and my brother's son, my dad's grandchild. 

My father is an unusual man.   He thinks and writes clearly and  his daily thoughts often send me musing in a direction that yields insights that had either been previously buried or never existed.

Today he was writing about a club that his buddies in the condominium complex claim they are in.  The club uses the acronym, CRAFT.  Group members contend they cannot remember anything.

In terms of short term memory, I belong in CRAFT and deserve to be considered for a high post in this organization. I have walked around the house holding my glasses looking for them.  I do reps walking the stairs in the morning getting items that I have forgotten to pack for work.  I'm in the car and I realize I forgot my tee shirt for working out, I go upstairs get the tee shirt, come downstairs. Downstairs I pat my jacket and say, "Where's the cell phone". Go upstairs.  Get the cellphone. Go downstairs.  Need the checkbook.  Go upstairs... You know the drill.

 But this is just short term. My long term memory is so good that it is startling to old acquaintances.  I've turned a head or two at college and high school reunions by reminding someone of something they've forgotten.

But what set me to thinking about memory after reading my dad's e-mail was not my horrible short term capabilities or accurate long term recalling.

I think that the biggest problem with memory is not so much memory loss, short or long, but the selective recollection of events to permit a comfortable historical narrative.  Let's say you don't want to remember something that would be disturbing to recall. Instead you selectively forget the incident or create another more palatable version.   Then when you get to thinking about the past, you remember the fiction as fact, and bingo, the waves on the water are less turbulent.

Of course, I contend, that the sense of calm sea is temporary or an illusion. Accrued falsehoods lurk in our consciousness and pop up poisoning us like some toxic ball.  Regardless, in terms of every day consciousness, the bogus version is what passes for history.  It's later when we get some sort of sick because of the deception.

My sense is that this selective memory club has so many members that they would have to hold the annual convention in the Astrodome and pipe in the keynote speaker's remarks to those watching on tv in dozens of satellite locations.

Despite the membership, this CRAFT is the club not to join.  When your mother told you not to hang out with juvenile delinquents she should have added "and don't join the Selective Retention Craft Club either if you know what's good for you."

I've written the following before, but it is worth repeating for this  blog.  In sport, you cannot join the Craft Club, if you want to stay with the ball club.  Convince yourself that the reason you lost was because the left fielder is a stiff, when the fact is you can't hit in the clutch--and you are likely not to stay on the team because you're likely not to work on your hitting. The teams that have prevailed in March Madness, the teams that will excel in this year's baseball season will be composed of those who knew the Craft Club, provided only temporary comfort.

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