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What’s the word? Oh, I can’t think what it is!

I was in my doctor’s office this morning and she asked me which drug store I used: was it Lawton’s downstairs or Sobey’s? No, I said it’s the one across the street. That one over across where your office used to be! Oh, you mean Shopper’s, she said.

While she was looking up some anomaly about my right foot,  we got on the subject of forgetfulness. I said I hated being unable to think of the right word at the right time and, of course, as we get older, she affirmed, it is usually names and nouns which are easily forgotten. She confessed such an occasion had happened to her last weekend, but before she could tell me what it was, I expressed mock surprise that someone as young as she could possibly forget words. Well, she said, then I will have forgotten many more words than you by the time I reach your age! Then she continued with her example.

It seems she had baked fish in the oven over the weekend for her family and had returned extra fish to the still warm oven in the event that someone wanted a second helping. In that event, her daughter asked if she could have some more and my doctor responded, certainly, it’s over there in the .. in the, not the fridge, that other thing over there – the oven!

Forgetting names has been a real fault in my make-up and has been embarrassing on many an occasion. My Beloved and I ran our own Risk Management consulting business for several decades, but I always made sure that she came with me when visiting a new client. All of our clients were large corporations or governments and we would be assigned to report to a particular officer or manager of the client. She would remember that person’s name, his or her children’s names and how many children he or she had. This would prove very useful in future meetings with the client or our liaison. I was never able to achieve a memory such as hers.

Forgetting names is possibly the worst social gaff one can make, as people love to hear their own name, and can be embarrassing. But forgetting the correct word for the occasion, whether I am with people in conversation, or in writing this post is just darned (I’d like to use a stronger adjective, but I make it a personal rule not to swear) annoying. (It’s ironic that in a post about forgetting words when I know I have a broader vocabulary than many people, I choose not to use swear or blasphemous words for the reason that I believe it shows a lack of vocabulary! Oh, well, maybe that will be the subject of another post.)

I have endeavoured to find a word, a definition, of forgetting words or names, but the best I could find was in Wikipedia, which defined such as “tip of the tongue phenomenon“. But perhaps I should not be concerned or even annoyed at forgetting the right word in the right place or at the right time or, as my blog says, From time to time… In researching this subject, I found an interesting BBC article* and I quote two short parts:

Such forgetting is an important component of healthy memory: without some filtering mechanism, our memory would soon become overwhelmed by the details of every piece of information ever experienced, minute by minute. How would you ever remember where you left your keys?

Forgetting is almost as vital as remembering. In fact without the one, we’d have even more trouble than we do with the other. Latest research suggests that some people may have an inability to forget traumatic events and this is what is partially responsible for conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If we’re unable to let memories of terrible events fade naturally, how can we move on with our lives?

One article I found on Google was, naturally, related to dementia and Altzheimers. It listed the top ten symptoms and a short paragraph on each. However, following each paragraph was a title, What is normal, and so, in a lighter vein, I was happy to discover that I fitted into all ten normals, such as occasionally forgetting why I left the room and what I meant to get.

*BBC article site


My Beloved (wife) since 1955 and I are retired from our own Risk Management consulting business and, with our few funds saved during our business years, we love to experiment with foods and wines, either cooking them ourselves or dining out, and travelling throughout North America or other countries. We are also greatly involved in our Anglican church and choir both here and where we have wintered for near 20 years in Palm Springs, CA, USA.

2 thoughts on “What’s the word? Oh, I can’t think what it is!

  1. For the life of me, I do not know why this memory loss, primarily with names, is bothering you so much these days! Those of us “in the know” are well aware of your deficiencies in this area as it is a well-known fact that, although you adored (hopefully, still do!) all 5 of your children, you never could manage to remember their names – rest assured, we loved (still do!) you despite this shortcoming!
    Signed, #2


  2. Well, #2 I am really pleased that you still are able to tease Daddy about his lack of numeracy. In school, I hated arithmetic because it was all about numbers, but loved algebra, geometry and trig, which I treated as puzzles and I was keen to solve them.


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