Jellyfish

Yesterday my hairdresser, Amy, was worried that since her father has Alzheimer’s, she might come down with it too.

It’s a horrible disease. One day you’re a person, running corporations, finding the car keys, and the next—parts of you disappear.

Like my dad who can’t remember that the house he lives in is his own, or that the man who takes care of him is his son.

I told her about this great supplement I’ve been taking for several months. I was enthusiastic because it has noticeably improved my memory, especially my vocabulary.

I used my hands to try to describe what I was saying. “It’s the one made out of that—you know—that blobby thing on the beach. Like a—” the stretching in my brain hurt— “a sea … creature.”

She looked at me intelligently. “I know exactly what you’re trying to say, but I can’t remember its name either.”

Then, like sludge going down a drainpipe, the sea creature’s name finally penetrated the soft tissue in my head and I cried out:

“Jellyfish!”

“Oh yeah. I’ve seen that ad on TV,” Amy smiled. “It really works?”

“It’s great. I’ve noticed a big difference since I started taking it, so that my—that my— you know—when your memory goes away. What’s that word?”

Her brows puckered. “It’s on the tip of my tongue,” she said. “I can see it right in front of me, but it’s not coming out.”

“It means senility,” I said. (I was impressed with myself for remembering that word.)

My forgetfulness was distressing since I used to be a marketer for retirement communities. I even ran one for seven years. The word that I had forgotten was the raison d’être (the whole excuse) for this multi-billion dollar industry.

Amy and I fought for clues to unbury this mystery word, one I used almost everyday to describe other people’s condition. Finally, after ten minutes of describing it and coming up with synonyms, Amy tentatively said, “I think it starts with duh …”

Like a lightening bolt, the word popped into my head and I cried out, “Dementia!”

“Yes. That’s it!” she grinned.

We did it. We remembered the word. We congratulated ourselves. We laughed.

Life can be so frustrating. I have an extensive vocabulary, but just can’t remember any of it. Thanks to modern science, however, I’m walking proof that this miracle supplement works because I can snap out difficult words like “dementia” in under 15 minutes.

Now, if I could only remember the product’s name …

 

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