Jerry Summers: Absent-minded Citizens

  • Thursday, February 22, 2024
  • Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

One of my anonymous sources, attempting to reduce their library stock of publications, has dropped off a copy of the 2006 small hardback “1000 Unforgettable Senior Moments” by Tom Friedman (Workman Publishing Company Inc.- NYC, New York.)

The front cover contains a humorous and candid admission that he “could remember only 246 of the 1000 moments in the title.” Being in the old age category that qualifies one for inclusion in the 157 page treatise I was initially upset and offended by being included in what sometimes identified as the “almost senile” category.

However, my rage and hurt feelings were set at ease when he acknowledged that there are also enormous differences among individuals and their ability to remember no matter what their age, and that “a seventy year old can have a better memory than an eighteen year old.”

(After my high school senior reunion committee meeting helped me recover the discarded copy of Mr. Tom…uh…Friedman's intriguing source of knowledge. I decided to proceed further.)

In the alleged 246 (I lost count at 113) short examples of famous historical individuals throughout America and elsewhere are listed.

Funny examples are printed that justify the purchase of the book and to alleviate any fears that you are the only person that loses your car keys and can't remember the name of a lifelong acquaintance of 60 years and are entering the advanced stages of senility there may still be hope for you.

Republicans Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Tennessean Howard Baker; Democrats Jimmy Carter, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, as well as the historically smartest individual, Albert Einstein, are each portrayed as having an absent minded moment, or the victim of someone else's lapse of memory.

The best entry I think, is in the words of the famous philosopher Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens:

“Mark Twain as he did so often, has perhaps the final word on senior moments: ‘When I was younger’, he said toward the end of his life, ‘I could remember anything whether it happened or not. But my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any other things that never happened.’”

(Any similarity between the contents of the treatise and the ages and mental capacity of the leading presidential candidates of the Democrat and Republican parties and 2024 is purely coincidental.)

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You can reach Jerry Summers at

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