Yesterday I caught a news story highlighting people who are born with amazing memories. If prompted, these unique individuals can tell you what day of the week a date long past fell on, what they were wearing, the events that transpired on that day, and how they felt. Researchers are isolating this small pod of humans and examining what occurs in their brains that does not in the majority of the rest of us populating the planet. How strange. Most of the people, including Mary Lou Henner, of Taxi fame, consider this phenomenon a gift.
This put me to cogitating about how I would feel if I was included in their numbers. Born to remember all events in my life in vivid detail, the good thrown in with the bad. On one hand it might be a blessing, on the other perhaps a curse. Some things such as the birth of my children, their first words, their first steps would bring me joy to picture in vivid detail. On the other hand remembering the labor pains associated with having children might really rein in the population explosion if all expectant mother’s were blessed with such a talent.
How full must your mind be with all these experiences to sort out and categorize. Is it possible they have something extra in their brains, sort of an internal hard drive, where all these memories are stored? Going through your life from the time you can remember, which in their case might be floating in the umbilical fluid, holding onto every feeling, thought, date, experience might be overwhelming one would think. However, listening to them talk I didn’t hear one individual say they would change being given this gift. Interesting.
Gifts are bestowed upon us in so many forms. Sometimes we are given one gift while another is withheld. Andrea Bocelli, for example, cannot use his eyes but when he opens his mouth and sings it is hard to imagine angels executing the notes any more beautifully. Many incredible artists suffered with illness during their lifetimes, both physical and mental. Some dealt with devastating depression or other forms of mental illness. Edvar Munch, who created The Scream, was afflicted with extreme anxiety his changing moods often reflected in samples of his work.Yet, these men and women were given a gift for recreating life on canvas in such vivid detail as to be humbling for those of us who can wield a pen at a far smaller level of expertise or not at all.
My family leans on my memory often to pull up a family story or fill in the details of a trip we took or the name of a family member or friend long since gone or relocated. It seems I have more of a selective memory these days. I can recall the color of the shoes I wore to my birthday party when I was three, but my short-term memory is showing some signs of wear. If you asked me what I ate for breakfast, I’d have to pull the dish from the dishwasher and send it out to the forensic team at CSI to give you a definitive answer.
Some things, I must admit, would be nice to be able to pull up. People who I have lost along my journey whose voice I can no longer hear in my mind, their faces and the times shared fading into the abyss where old memories disappear into.
There are many vacations I wish I could relive. Sinking my toes in the warm sand on Lahaina, traveling across the U.S. when my children were little, standing in front of the Tower of London on a cold and foggy day, or landing in Vancouver for a family reunion with family members now moved on. Unfortunately, I would assume along with the plethora of lovely memories I could dance through would be those less pleasant to wade through. The two-hour ordeal in the dental chair having oral surgery, for example, or the day I hopped on my son’s skateboard to show off and broke my tailbone before you could spell stupid. There was the time I nearly drowned on the Colorado River when our boat sank, or when my car slid off the road in West Virginia and into a snowy ditch leaving me suspended in the air by my seat belt in 16 below weather. I could go on and on about these experiences and never run out of gas. Perhaps in my case, I’m better off with the selective memory supplied with the original packaging.
Recently I read a story about a man who suffered a severe head injury. When speaking of the accident he recalled seeing a bright light and then feeling different somehow. Not long afterwards he picked up a keyboard, and without any musical background suddenly found he was able to play, and play beautifully. The diagnosis, acquired savant syndrome. Scientists don’t know what causes this phenomenon but are studying what causes the changes in these individuals leading to their newly acquired talents. Perhaps each of us has an undiscovered genius lurking beneath the surface waiting to be unleashed. In my case, I certainly haven’t seen any bread crumbs leading me in the direction of where this might be. Something tells me it’s pretty far below the surface and might not be unleashed any time in the near future.
The average person uses about 10% of their brain power with those more gifted maybe achieving 20%. Imagine if we could tap into the unused resources. Intergalactic space travel would be the norm, and disease would be left behind in the dust. For now, we seem to be doing quite well with what we are putting into use. I think I’ll watch Jeopardy after dinner and remind myself how much of mine isn’t at the forefront.
This tuna is chock full of savory yummy flavors. On a night when I need something quick and delicious a can or two of tuna always does the trick.
Savory Deli Tuna Melt
3 5 oz. cans tuna drained and flaked
3 Tbsp. finely diced onion
3 Tbsp. finely diced celery
3 Tbsp. finely diced bread & butter pickles
2 Tbsp. finely diced pepperoncini
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp. lemon infused olive oil (optional)
Black pepper and light dusting of salt
4 large slices sourdough bread, toasted
4 Tbsp. low-fat Thousand Island Dressing
4 thin slices Swiss cheese
2 tomatoes sliced thin
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Avocados to garnish
Mix together tuna, onion, celery, pickles, pepperoncini, curry powder, dill, garlic powder, mustard, mayonnaise and lemon olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper. Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to broil.
Slather each piece of toasted bread with 1 Tbsp. Thousand Island dressing. Top each slice with 1/4 of tuna mixture, 1 slice of cheese, and 2-3 tomato slices. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is bubbly.