Memory Glitch

Memory is an odd thing. There are happenings from my past that I remember with certainty, and I’d argue vehemently with anyone who suggested that my memories might be corrupted by time or experiences pre- or post-event. Or even that the memory wasn’t even my memory.

The truth is, though, that memories are subject to outside influences. Perhaps we’ve heard a story so many times that we believe we actually were part of the story. We’ve incorporated the ideas into our own psyches. I knew of this phenomenon, I just never had real evidence of it until recently.

Studly Doright and I were reminiscing the other night about an event that occurred twenty years ago when we lived in Great Bend, Kansas. Our dog had developed an infection in one of his toes and I walked him over to the veterinarian’s office just around the corner from our house. Our daughter, Ashley, accompanied me.

The vet took us back to the examination room immediately and looked at Snapper’s puffy paw. Apparently the dog had gotten some sort of seed embedded in his nail and it had become inflamed and contained a hefty amount of pus that needed to be drained. I held Snapper while the vet swabbed the dog’s paw with antiseptic and Ashley looked on, the scent of alcohol heavy in the room.

All went well until the moment the vet lanced Snapper’s paw and blood-laced pus came pouring from the infected area. I heard my daughter moan and watched her eyes roll back in her head as she began falling to the floor. I was holding the dog and grasping for my daughter’s arm to keep her from hitting her head on the floor. Meanwhile, the damned vet stood there laughing!

Somehow I managed to slow Ashley’s descent without dropping Snapper, as the vet calmly told a story about watching a big strong cowboy faint watching his horse undergo a similar procedure. Ashley still ended up on the floor, but not at full velocity. The vet bandaged the dog’s paw as poor Ashley lay unconscious. She was only out for a few seconds, but woke up thinking she’d overslept and missed a band concert scheduled for that evening.

We paid the vet (who I never took any of my pets to again) and slowly walked the block and a half home. Ashley, other than being a little disoriented, didn’t seem to have sustained any injuries, and we related our story to Studly Doright in full gory detail when we returned home.

Over the course of twenty years, Ashley and I both have told the story dozens of times. Never once has Studly Doright been at that vet’s office with us, that is, until he told the story during our little trip down memory lane. According to him, he was the one holding the dog. He was the one who kept Ashley from hitting the floor. He was the one who became exasperated by the vet’s silly nattering. No amount of arguing with him could convince him that his memory was false. Hell, I began wondering if I was the one with the faulty memory.

Then while at Ashley’s home in Illinois for Christmas I asked her to recount the story. She did, almost word for word the way I wrote it above. Studly couldn’t believe his ears; although, in the face of such strong evidence he began to realize that perhaps he had internalized the details of our story to the point he’d convinced himself that it had happened to him. He won’t quite admit that he was wrong, but he is no longer adamant that he was there.

It’s kind of fascinating, isn’t it? That the brain can trick itself into believing something. It makes me wonder what memories I have that aren’t accurate, or that aren’t even my own. Like that memory I have of Han Solo and me kissing on board the Millennium Falcon as we evaded Imperial ships on our way to Cloud City. Don’t you dare tell me that never happened!

Peace, people!

Minimalist Challenge, Puttin’ on the Ritz Day 26

Last night Studly Doright and I were watching the University of Kansas basketball team play Texas Tech for the Big 12 championship on television. It was a great, too-close-for-comfort game, and Studly worked up a powerful hunger while cheering for the Jayhawks.

Late in the second half he asked, “Do we have any snacks? I feel like I need to eat something if we’re going to win this game.”

Rather than throwing something at him or telling him to get his own damned snack I hoisted myself out of my chair and went in search of some munchies. The first likely snacks I came upon were several boxes of Ritz cheese crackers and a few more of the peanut butter version.

We don’t normally keep these on hand, but I recalled buying them in preparation for hurricane survival last summer. There’s nothing like a Ritz cracker to see you through the dark times, am I right?

Before asking Studly if the crackers would fill the bill for his snack I thought to check the expiration dates. November 17, 2017, was stamped on each box. So while they didn’t get to fulfill their destiny as snacks, the crackers were pressed into service for today’s minimalist challenge.

Twenty-three packages of Ritz crackers plus three of the boxes in which they were stored makes a total of 26 items for February 26.

I found Studly another snack, and the resulting energy revived him enough to power the Jayhawks through to a two-point victory over the Red Raiders and KU’s 14th straight conference championship. I doubt they’ll publicly thank us, though.

Oldie #6: Whatchamacallit

Words amuse me. After visiting Ireland I find that I’m even more interested in colloquialisms and regional sayings. Learning just a smidgen of Irish Gaelic had me scrambling to find this old piece from the early days of my blog. Fittingly, I couldn’t remember what I’d called it. Go figure.


Imagine, if you will, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Suddenly, a storm of epic proportions descends on the cobble stone streets. Encased within, the makings of a mighty funnel cloud barreling along and scooping up everything in its path. Angry bulls, frightened runners, petrified spectators, toreadors, picadors, and matadors enveloped in a…Gorenado!

Several days later and thousands of miles away, in Great Bend, Kansas, a group of students enjoy their after lunch recess on the playground of a small elementary school. On duty staff notice a shift in the winds and begin calling the students to wrap up their play. Darkness rapidly descends and rain drops the size of mushrooms speed the children on their way to safety.

A lone librarian rushes to assist a kindergartener who has fallen in the rush when from the sky drops a raging bull, head lowered, ready to charge. The librarian places the child behind her and they begin backing away from the bovine. The bull snorts and paws the earth. There is no way for the librarian to get the child to safety in time. Death seems imminent. Until a mighty matador descends from the cloud, waving his cape and diverting attention from the woman and her charge.

With the bull’s focus on the brave matador, the librarian scoops the frightened child into a protective embrace and runs for safety. The students and staff have gathered at the cafeteria windows to watch wide-eyed as the matador sweeps the bull under his cape of crimson. The librarian especially cannot take her eyes from the skilled Spaniard. When the bull is calmed and subdued through a variety of humanitarian maneuvers, the matador secures the now docile animal to a basketball goal.

The librarian rushes out to thank her savior, her emerald green eyes glistening with unshed tears of gratitude.

“Thank you, sir. You surely saved my life and the life of the child.”


Realizing the handsome matador knew no English, the librarian said the only thing she could, “Gracias! Gracias, señor!”

He bowed and took her small, white hand into his large tan one, planting a gentle kiss on her dainty knuckles. In the background, the bull snorted contentedly.

Would love follow for our librarian and her matador? Would more bulls drop onto the Kansas plains wreaking havoc and spurring desire? Would gorenados supplant sharknados as the new scourge of the earth? Questions that can be answered only in “Gorenado 2; It Only Hurts When I Sneeze.”

Peace, People!

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