First, let me be clear. This pensée today is not about dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s also not about marketing and the forgetting curve (see above link) or even trace theories. No, my thinking about forgetting is about what is forgotten and then remembered. We forget a lot of things in a lifetime, but we also face little triggers along the way that help us recall, often in vivid detail, what was ‘forgotten.’
The general principle of forgetting something is that the ‘something’ is not very important as to be crucial to our existence. Case in point, opera singers. Ashot Arakelyan has a blogspot called https://forgottenoperasingers.blogspot.com/. It struck me as odd, but just think of all the opera stars that once had brilliant careers. In the great scheme of world history, however, some opera singers just didn’t change the world. They were fantastic in their time, but their time has come and gone. Sad, but true and also true for all of us.
If you enjoy watching old movies, you will often see young actors who were just starting in the business, taking whatever roles they were assigned by production companies. The other day I saw Edgar Buchanan (remember him?) in an old, old movie. I would not have known him until I heard him speak. It was the voice of Uncle Joe as I knew him on Petticoat Junction, a television series that was part of an industry trend to highlight rural life (for good or for bad) in America with shows like Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Lassie and Flipper.
What a delight to be reminded of Uncle Joe whom I had forgotten or was in the process of forgetting. He was still there somewhere in my subconscience, ready to be plucked out not by way of his image, but by the sound of his voice! All we need is a little trigger. Forgetting is not so bad as long as it is only temporary.
Now some will say that if you can remember something by way of a trigger, it cannot be truly said that you have forgotten it. I claim the opposite, I had forgotten Uncle Joe…never ever think of him because there is no reason to recall him. What I did not forget, however, was the trigger to him…his voice. To illustrate this, I admit that I had to google a Petticoat Junction cast list to relearn what I had forgotten or never knew: the name of the actor, his last name in the series was Carson (totally didn’t know that!), the years for the series ran, etc.
The trigger was the voice which was never forgotten; it was just floating in my head waiting to be recognized in an old movie, which was made before I was ever born. This little missive reminds me of the proverbial question, “Do you remember me?” and the usual answer, “Of course I remember you. How could I forget?” This response is a clue that the other person will engage you in conversation until he or she finds a trigger. Until then, you have been forgotten.