How We Store Information

I don’t know if I could vote for Rick Perry, but I sympathize with him today. It’s a hard moment when you can’t come up with a piece of information. There you are, trying to think of a name or a date, while the person or persons you were talking to wait for you to finish your thought.

To have it happen while the cameras are running is worse.

The worst problem of this sort I ever had was with the name of Walter Matthau. Long before the internet, when he was still alive and making movies, I could not keep his name in my memory banks. I would be able to think of the movies, I could see his face, quote lines from the films, and still his name was in some dead spot I could not access. It didn’t happen once, it happened so often that my wife would bring him up just to watch me struggle.

I finally wrote his name on the wall of the hall closet. I would just get up, go open the door, and read the name. Then I was okay, I could hold onto it while we talked. After a while, it got so I could just think about opening the closet and reading the name written on the wall and I could come up with the name. That was 30+ years ago. We were renting that house. But I still had to imagine walking around the corner by the bathroom, opening the door, and looking at the words I had written to come up with the name for this post.

He was a funny guy, I liked him as an actor. You know the one, ummm, ummm, did the “Odd Couple” and the original “Taking of Pelham 1-2-3”. What the heck is his name?


4 thoughts on “How We Store Information

  1. I felt his pain (Perry's, I mean).

    I was once giving a presentation to a customer's team at our facility, & right when I was getting to the critical info, I zoned. Blanked out. Moved to Mozambique. Gone.

    Very embarrassing, & it took me a few minutes (loooong minutes) to regain my composure & get back to it.

    Watching that video brought that moment right back…

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