I have always had a bad short term memory.
Strangely enough that was why I was chosen to do a memory act when I was in my late teens and part of a skiffle group (music group).
We all belonged to the Magic Circle as well as our band so we could entertain with music and magic and keep audiences happy for long periods of time. See 'Boy did we have some nerve.'
Of the five of us in the group. My brother did slight of hand magic and was very good at it, our base player liked the larger stage type magic.
Our lead singer had such a good voice that he sang different types of songs with just my piano accompaniment as a break from the full group.
This left my dad and me with a spot to fill if we wanted to keep our end up.
The memory act went like this.
I was blindfolded on the stage facing the audience and my dad asked the audience for names of things that could be listed from 1 to 20. He wrote the items on a blackboard behind me. We weren't fussy what the audience came up with and they did come up with some bizarre things.
After the list was finished we went through calling numbers with me giving the item and then finished off with me listing everything from 20 to 1.
The audience and certainly people who knew me thought it was a trick but in fact it was simply word association and I did in fact remember each item. The reason it worked so well for me was that I could do two shows a night and not get mixed up because I honestly didn't remember the last show.
Without word association I would have only remembered the last two items. It has always been that way with me. If I take a phone call without a pen and paper handy only the last one or two things in the conversation stay with me. As you might imagine I am terrible with names.
This part of my memory gave me the most trouble in school. Luckily I was good at math from a very early age because I have yet to fully learn my times tables. I was a little slower in class when I had to stand up and recite my tables because I had to work each one out in my head rather than just quoting from memory but I did notice that I was a lot faster on the single questions.
My biggest problem, and the reason I dropped history as soon as I could in high school, was that I could not remember dates. I guess to my subconscious, which pretty well controlled what I remembered, they were not important so they had to go into the conscious memory area where only the last couple of things were stored. It wasn't that I didn't find history interesting but I would never pass exams if I could not remember dates.
Now that I am getting older my short term memory gets shorter and shorter. The last couple of things used to stay with me for several minutes. I never used to have to write down why I was going into the kitchen.
I think that our memories must be very similar to our computers and when we dream we are actually defragging. That is why we get so many mixed up scenarios in our dreams. The problem with my memory is that someone like Bill Gates has programmed it to categorize things the way he thinks it should be done but I am locked out of the 'Personal setup' part of the program. I can remember a ton of useless information but forget the important stuff.
The other evening I got up in a commercial and headed for the kitchen. My wife had beaten me to it but stopped as soon as she got through the door and I bumped into her.
"Why did you stop?" I questioned.
"I forget why I came in here." she replied.
"Well move aside so that at least one of us can do something." I said.
She turned to me with a funny smile and asked. "And what would that be?"
Smiling back I admitted, "I have no idea. Let's go back and watch TV. Do you know what we are watching?"