Tell me a story.
I have an average memory. I struggle to remember jokes. I can’t recall specific periods of time. Large chunks of my childhood are missing. I forget details.
I know it is all in there. When the memory pill is invented I will get it all back.
Since my boys could talk they have always wanted to hear stories. Initially it was fairy tales. Now they want to hear real stories about their mum and I. They want to know how mum and dad hooked up. They ask about my school and family life. They ask me about growing up in Scotland. They want to know how I was as a kid.
I think they do this so they can compare their own experiences with ours and see if the things they are experiencing are normal. Seems to be a comfort thing.
But I have run out of stories. Or more accurately, I just can’t remember them. I know I have lots of stories. I have seen and done lots of things.
We recently had our 10 year wedding anniversary and at dinner my wife recapped what we did for each of our anniversaries, in order. I wish I had the same memory recall. I struggle to remember the past 10 days.
I have always been intrigued as to how we remember things. How we can recall details. How sights, sounds and smells can trigger even the oldest memories. I have looked into memory recall techniques with the hope of bringing back some long lost tales. Recently on a long car trip we played a game where the first person picked a word beginning with A. The next person says the word beginning with A then says a new word beginning with B and so on. I was dreading this game. But I used a spatial memory technique ( http://tiny.cc/rd1cqw )that requires you to create a story in your head with the words you are trying to remember . For the first time I remembered every word. 26 random words in order. I was thoroughly impressed with myself.
According to one site I looked at, Orators such as Cicero used exactly this technique to give seven-hour speeches under intense heckling in the Roman senate.
But I prefer to take photos. They help trigger memories and events. Blogging is another way for me to record my memories.
In the age of digital cameras it is easy to take a huge number of photos and store them on your computer or in the cloud. I remember pre-digital when you had to have your photos developed at the local pharmacy or petrol/gas station. You had to decide whether to get an extra copy of the whole set or wait then choose the ones you wanted copies of using the negatives. A couple of years later you got your photos!
Now I have thousands of digital photos, filed into years and months. I figured it would be easy in years to come to look back and see what was happening at specific times. Problem is if I want to look back at photos of a certain event, I can’t remember when the event was.
Mums are good at remembering stuff. The birth weight of their children, names of the kids in the class and their parents, birthdays, anniversary dates, address of favourite jewellery store, husband’s credit card number, last time partner bought them flowers. Dads not so much. I can tell you what time I’m off to the footy, where the best Indian restaurant is and the time I won $450 at the Casino. (I did play very well!)
But now as I can’t remember any more stories I have started making them up. I think they know they are made up as they always involve 2 young boys called Max and Zak in an array of weird and wonderful places. I never know how these stories end. I could never repeat them – maybe I should start to write them down after I have told them. Some of them are quite good!
There is now a pattern in the stories. While most will involve the boys, more often than not they will have an underlying theme relevant to the pressures they are under. It seems to be a good way of getting a message across without appearing to lecture them or give advice.
At the moment ‘girls’ are the most talked about topic. In school I hear about this person ‘going out with’ that person. Max did invite a girl in his class bowling when they were ‘going out’. But the relationship ended because she bowled too slowly.
They do watch a lot of television and see relationships develop before their eyes. Big Time Rush and iCarly are particular favourites. This has peaked their interest in kissing. They would never kiss a girl though – too many girl germs. To their disgust they see me and my wife kiss.
“eeeewww look… they are kissing on the lips…..”
Their cringing masks a genuine interest. I have no doubt they think and wonder about it. When will they kiss a girl. How do they kiss a girl. What does it feel like. What does it taste like. Will I do it right.
They have just started asking questions about kissing with tongues.
“dad…dad…they are kissing with open mouths”.
“can I try it on you dad?”
And so begins a serious conversation on who and what is appropriate to kiss.
I advise them to stick to their pillow.
So at the moment my stories revolve around first kisses and dates with girls. They lap it up. It is exactly what they want to hear.
The story of mum and dad’s first kiss is a particular favourite. Which, at the risk of giving away too much, was the classic in-the-car-at-the-end-of-the-first-date move. I won’t say too much more other than to say I felt it was a particularly Bond-like moment. I think I was classy and smooth.
Bec says I was more gassy and boozed.
If only I could remember.