I have a recurring dream.
In it, I'm in college, walking down the street with my wife (who I didn't meet until after college) and Danny DeVito (who I didn't meet before or after college), feeling tall, when I suddenly remember that I signed up for a class, went once or twice, but have failed to go any more for the semester. And the final for the class is in an hour. And I can't remember where the class is.
I can't really recall exactly what happens after that point in the dream — I usually wake up in a hot sweat, then walk face-first into the closet door on my way to the bathroom. I consulted an online "dream analyzer" about my dream/nightmare and it came up with this reason/result: You're nuts.
A distinct possibility.
But a more probable root is my penchant for forgetting things. It has come to the point that I forget so many things — appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, entire weeks, holiday seasons, my middle name — that I spend a lot of time worrying about what I've forgotten.
Every afternoon around 3 p.m., my mind wanders through the same tired cycle.
"OK, mind, I don't like you and you don't like me, but let's work together for once and remember something that I'm sure we're forgetting," I say aloud to myself and anyone within earshot.
I then begin to think about what I possibly could be forgetting. Have I lost my keys today? No. Have I forgotten to pay a bill today? Of course. Am I wearing clothes? Yes — but what were you thinking? Was I supposed to pick up the kids from school? Uh, oh. Was I? OK, let's go down the list. Oldest child — no. She's in college. Second child — no. He has a car. Third child — no. He has practice. Fourth child — uh, ah, oh my, that's it. I have forgotten to pick up our fourth child from school. That poor kid, always forgotten, always getting hand-me-downs, always left out, always the last thing on my mind.
I get up and start to walk out the door to pick up our youngest, most neglected child. Then my mind finally decides to join the exercise, and I recall that we don't have a fourth child.
So, the good news is: We don't have four children.
But I had to forget something. It is Monday, or maybe Thursday.
Did I forget my glasses? No, I remember losing them a week ago (they are small, round and glassy. If you find something that meets that description — other than Liza Minnelli — please contact me on my lost cellphone).
Did I forget a meeting? Did someone tell me two weeks ago to meet them somewhere about something on some day? I bet that's what I forgot.
Did I forget something my wife told me to do? I don't think so — I would have received a reminder by now (she knows me). Do I have another wife that told me something to do? I doubt it. I can't handle one wife. Even I'm not that dumb, from what I recall.
Should I be worrying about something I forgot that I can't remember? Someone — I forgot who — once told me that worrying is a sin. You should just present your worries to God and let him handle it. Now that I remember that, I'm worried that I'm sinning because I'm worried that I forgot something. Good, another thing to forget.
Exasperated, I put my sweaty head in my hands. I then look down and a sight jostled my old memory glands: I wrote down what I needed to remember on my hand. I'm a genius!
Unfortunately, I wrote this reminder on my hand, which was now sweaty and smeared. The only part I could make out was "Write column about," then a blur of black ink.
Hmm. Now what was I going to write a column about?
Len Robbins is the editor of the Clinch County News.