A Memory Like a ….?

I was watching Grey’s Anatomy last night (ya, ya, keep your judgements to yourself) and for some reason it reminded me that for a brief period in my life I thought I wanted to be a doctor.

There are many reasons why this would have never worked, but probably the most basic is that I have absolutely no memory for proper nouns. I never have. Even as a child it took me forever to remember someone’s name. Names, places, dates (hahahahahah dates!) all are mostly inaccessible from my brain. (My amazing grandmother could tell you every date in our family history…births, deaths, major events. I guess as far as that lineage goes, I am, as Scar would say, at the shallow end of the gene pool.)

I’m fine with common nouns I use every day, but anything out of the ordinary takes ages to remember, if at all. Can you just imagine me in a medical situation?

The patient is coding, the nurse turns to me and says “Doctor, what should we do?” I look at him and say, “Inject his central line with…, um, yeah, you know, that thing that will keep him from dying.”

I managed to make it through school as I have quite a good “extended” short-term memory. For a day or two I can carry facts around like a water pitcher filled to the brim. Carefully I would make my way to school, only spilling a few nouns on the way, and then sit down to the exam. I would open the exam book with gusto and pour the knowledge all over the page. And then it was pretty much gone. Oh, I’d soak up a few drops of information from the saturated paper, and these facts would even occasionally jump on the synapse train to make it into my long-term memory (mixed metaphor!). But mostly, the information was completely gone.

I do have a fantastic memory for concepts, and am also talented at taking two concepts and finding a connection between them that is interesting and useful, so things like English Literature and business management are fine. But anything where I’m responsible for a schwack of proper nouns? Forget it.

But I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Even you. Yes you, over there. Whatever your name is.

2 Replies to “A Memory Like a ….?”

  1. I distinctly remember sitting down for an exam (any exam), and spewing forth what was in my brain onto the paper as fast as I could, before the information left my brain.

    Any time I walked out the door of an exam room, I could physically feel whatever remained in my brain empty out.

    Glad someone else feels the same way. Makes me feel less stupid. 🙂

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