Amongst the myriad things that happen as age takes its toll is the increasing awareness that memory is a fleeting and fickle thing.
Once I could carry three, four or many more ideas in my head at any one time and pull facts from the back of my subconscious rather like a conjuror with an entire warren of rabbits in a large top hat. These days I am much more likely to stop in the middle of a sentence and demand of my audience if they can remember wotsit or whojamacallit or what’shisname.
Worse still, my audience then mirrors my confusion and muddleheadedness with ridiculous suggestions that simply exasperate me. Finally – sometimes several days later – I will break my train of conversation and blithely tell my audience that I have remembered who or what it was I had been trying to recall.
This is sadly all too often accompanied by blank looks on their faces. That is when I realise that I have committed yet another of age’s foolish crimes. I have transferred conversations from one group to another. This particular group do not give a damn about what the others and I had been relishing.
So, next time you see an apparently charming person being stared at with looks of pity or confusion it is probably that they too have been involved in a similar conversational transfer.
In my case this is compounded by an increasing desire to do silly things, just for the hell of it. This is when “Dishonest Abe” makes his appearance. The original D.A. is a character from a book by Alfred Bester – I would tell you the title of it, but sadly the first problem of memory lapse has struck me once again. Should I remember by the end of this piece then I will let you out of your misery. The book is quite superb so do your Googling and discover a classic fifties author.
As Dishonest Abe I will happily encourage someone to believe some quite wild nugget of information. In fact the wilder and more unlikely the piece the more compelling it becomes to assure my listener that it is strange but true.
The phrase “A little known fact” is often included and is a sure warning that yet another untruth is about to spill from my lips. There is nothing to gain from all this, so why on earth do I do it?
Any suggestions from you would be gratefully received, certainly by Da Boss, as she is heartily sick and tired of trying to excuse my antics to friends and acquaintances. I have no problem either, if your explanations are as farfetched and wild as any I can come up with. In fact that would be an added twist to the history of Dishonest Abe, so please do wrack your brains for any convincing explanations.
And finally I will admit to you that I did in fact know the name of the book by Alfred Bester – it’s The Demolished Man. That was yet another example of Dishonest Abe suddenly making a cameo appearance.
As an aside, I have taken to carrying a notebook with me when I am out. I also keep one by the side of the bed, so that when an idea strikes me I just jot it down for future use. The only problem is that I can never find the blasted notebook when it is time to refer to it. Probably Abe has stolen the damned thing!