Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fuzzy Thinking



 

For those of us who arrive, with no small surprise and absolute horror, in the Land of Old People, one of the most important things we must learn to balance is the great amount of wisdom we have and want to impart to others, along with that other thing, that fuzzy thinking thing, which reminds us that Alzheimer’s is just an overlooked Sudoku puzzle away from our deteriorating brain cells.

I was reminded of that balance just this past week and it unnerved me.  In my defense, my brother had just died and I was exhausted, not only from mourning him but also from celebrating his life.

Some background info: The reception following my brother, Sandy’s funeral was at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD.  I was in High Cotton, folks.  Out of my element in my Macy’s easy-pack ensemble, I found a sofa to sit on while holding tightly to my Diet Coke, as the over 300 attendees visited the open bar and the buffet table and commiserated with each other,  remembering their friend and colleague.  I did find that, after a few minutes, folks started coming by my couch to tell me how much they loved my brother.  One such person was an older man in a wheel chair.  This man introduced himself as my brother’s one and possibly only Republican friend and told me of the great times he had had when Sandy and his wife, Katherine, visited at his vacation home in Jamaica.

It was later when I thought to ask Katherine what that Republican had done in his life to pay for the vacation home in Jamaica and she reported that he had been Goldwater’s “money man”.  Although I didn't quite know what that meant, I chuckled and put the shiny tidbit of info in my brain to consider at a later time.

That later time came when I was talking to Melissa, my eldest, on the phone after I’d returned to Atlanta.  Since my darling Melissa, in what has to have been an early and catastrophic mid life crisis, has made a hard right turn in her political leanings, I though she would enjoy hearing about her Uncle Sandy’s one Republican friend.

When I got to the Goldwater’s “money man” part, I figured Melissa, although a definite right leaner, wouldn’t be up on Barry Goldwater, since, unlike me, she didn't grow up during the Goldwater era.  That’s where my wisdom, based on my long life well lived, would come in handy.  I'd spent several summers as a child with my grandparents who lived in Phoenix and I'd sat in on many a debate between my liberal grandfather and his more conservative friends, debates often centered around old Barry.

Melissa took the bait.  “Now, who was Barry Goldwater?”   

And, I'm sorry to say that  this was the point at which my great wisdom (and my opportunity to articulate it) ran head on into my fuzzy thinking.  With all of the certainty that comes from being there and seeing it happen, I said, “He was president,”

“What?  Barry Goldwater was president?  Of What?” asked poor young Melissa.

“Of the United States.”

That’s when I heard the “Oh no, here we go” tone in Melissa's voice, the tone that said we need to start looking into "homes".  She hesitated and then said, “Mama, I don’t think Barry Goldwater was president of the United States.  I’m looking him up here on my IPad and it’s says he was a senator from Arizona and he ran for president but didn’t win.”

Really?  Hmm.  Maybe he wasn’t president. Damn those IPads where whippersnappers can look up everything just like that.

Okay, I know Barry Goldwater wasn't ever president of the United States.  I should know.  I was alive when he wasn't president, unlike that smart ass Melissa with her IPad.  It's just that, in my fuzzy brain, my full brain, sometimes things get all mixed up together.   Nixon, Agnew, Rockefeller, Reagan, all those Bushes.  So many Republicans, they just all run together (as do many of the Democrats).  

So, as I like to say these days:  I know a lot; I just can't remember any of it. Maybe a Sudoku puzzle would help.  The only problem is where I put it is a bit fuzzy.

18 comments:

Linda Myers said...

Well, I laughed, but with a bit of uneasiness. Fuzzy thinking, you know.

Rhonda said...

My first chemistry lesson was during Goldwater's campaign- AuH2O. Loved this!

Olga said...

I so wanted to chickle through your post, but some things have stopped being funny--fuzzy thinking being high among them. You, know, maybe we should start supplementing our great wisdom with an iPad near at all times.

Nancy said...

Well, funny you mention Barry Goldwater -- remember him well. I went to my first political rally in Warner Robins, of all places, to hear Goldwater speak. I really don't remember much, except that being a good southern girl, I was horrified that some people actually booed!! And to this day, I have no idea if my parents were Goldwater supporters or not - I just remember the rudeness!!

Wisewebwoman said...

Well the first things to go are the nouns.

Then facts.

I'm with you.

And I also love to reinvent the past.

But those Ipads and their misinformation have got to go.

XO
WWW

Dianne said...

What was life like without IPads and cell phones?

marciamayo said...

Diann, you mean back in the time when Goldwater was president?

Vagabonde said...

I remember Goldwater well. At the time I lived in San Francisco and could not vote as I was still French and not an American yet. But I marched against him as I knew Johnson was against racial discrimination and Goldwater was supporting the Southern white views. Although Johnson escalated the Vietnam war… Though I have read that if Goldwater would have run now he would not have obtained the republican nomination as he would not have been extreme enough! (Goldwater’s grand-daughter was at the Democratic Convention this year.) We all have our senior moments, but some people more than others. My husband was diagnosed with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) which is – no short term memory. This can lead to Alzheimer (and it has.)

Celia said...

Ouch, some of my conversations with my contemporaries are half made up of a community effort to fill in the blanks. We laugh but are also uncomfortable, how much more fuzzy thinking does it take to begin the slide? I remember thinking Goldwater was a ferocious hawk, and now he looks mild compared to some.

rosaria williams said...

A good one!~ Yes, we can't just state anything now without being challenged, and fact-checked too!

joared said...

So sorry for the loss of your brother. Glad you could be part of the celebration of his life. Still the sorrow takes its toll.

I recall Goldwater well from our few years living in Scottsdale area where his family dept. store was popular, as was he. The nuclear mushroom cloud political ad his opposition ran against him pretty well did in Goldwater's effort to become president.

Yeah, as we get older we become much more sensitive to the instances in which our memory lets us down -- even when similar instances may have occurred periodically throughout our lives.

joared said...

So sorry for the loss of your brother. Glad you could be part of the celebration of his life. Still the sorrow takes its toll.

I recall Goldwater well from our few years living in Scottsdale area where his family dept. store was popular, as was he. The nuclear mushroom cloud political ad his opposition ran against him pretty well did in Goldwater's effort to become president.

Yeah, as we get older we become much more sensitive to the instances in which our memory lets us down -- even when similar instances may have occurred periodically throughout our lives.

M.R. said...

Life's short - we might as well laugh?
RIGHT ON, SISTER! - I'm with you.
:-)
And that's even though I'm down here in Sydney, Oz: I'm still with you (in spirit).
Love your site, and will be visiting the rest of it throughout the weekend.
As you say in your neck of the woods - you go, girl!

Terra said...

Cute story and I am right with you on the aging path.

cile said...

This post set me to thinking about how it seems like (and I say this with the shallow surprise one would expect from a teenager) the world is going too fast to follow all the facts. ["presidential"...click, click, click...."Goldwater"... click, click click...= saying the stupid thing: DING!] I think every 50th birthday should come automatically with an iPad with all the fixin's, frankly. It is only fair. Take comfort in the fact that Melissa's iPad connection will drop at some juncture and she will "get it" because we are ALL required to think and process information these days at break neck speed..

Steve Kent said...

At least you can reflect on this moment of "fuzzy thinking" with clarity and humour. It's a valuable attitude to have.

schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

NO matter who runs the show, the Baby Boomers will be there for a very long time yet. All my life they have dogged my every step. Now they are growing older and flooding all the programs that supported older folks for a very long time.

God help us in the future, however, if we are senile or demented we won't whar's happening.

Left-wing, Right-wing, this bird can't fly.

Enjoy what might be your last clear moment, which can come at any time. I can't even work a SUDUKO puzzle any more, although I did get my computer working yesterday...or the genie that lives inside it did!!

I can beat the hell out of the computer when we play Scrabble but Solitaire is a bust.

Have a very Merry holiday, whatever you do. Thanks for your friendship this past year. I really get a thrill when you check in at my blog. Dianne

naomi dagen bloom said...

How about distraction in aging, Marcia? Reading this wonderfully insightful post, it was the Goldwater button that started me thinking about campaign ornaments. Next Bethesda. Why does everyone I'm meeting lately have a connection to suburban Maryland. What are they all doing in Portland, Oregon?

And so it goes.