Just Another Marble in the Brain Jar

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of memory.

Mainly, because my own memory sucks.

What was I saying?

Oh yes.

Some of this memory loss is, I think, is a hazard of having put in a few years on this ol’ planet. Over time, one tends to collect a few things in the closets like bottle tops, tattered paperback books, and stacks of memories, both good and bad.

I sometimes think of my brain as a big storage device. Lots and lots of space. Too many bits of memory get shoved in there, and it’s time for an upgrade.

But maybe that’s a little too Silicon Valley for my tastes.

Let’s try another metaphor.

Maybe my brain is more like a big glass jar filled with marbles. Some are large, some small, some are in between. So as I go about living this crazy mixed up life, these marbles roll their way toward the jar and drop in. These new residents tend to push out the old when I’ve run out of space.

There is only so much room in the jar, of course, and once filled to capacity, something’s gotta give.

As I was getting my hair cut last night, I spent the color “cook time” working over this particular visual metaphor. Unfortunately, I was thinking about it while also pouring over the pages of the current “People” magazine.

Without my consent, some fresh, small marbles found their way into my jar.

For example, I don’t really need to know that one of the Jonas brothers broke up with his girlfriend. *plink*

Or that Jon and Kate plus 8 lady just celebrated the birthday of her sextuplets. *plink*

That some blonde chick named Heidi needs “time alone” from her overbearing husband. *plink*

And that weird Svengali-like husband of that sad, tiny, actress that recently died has now also shuffled off this mortal coil. *plink*

These are not vital memories. These don’t need to be kept in the jar. If they do manage to stay in the jar, then other, better, memories have to slip out.

Oops, there goes making Thanksgiving turkey drawings by tracing my hand onto the paper.

And there goes the name of my childhood friend who lived by the park, across from the swimming pool. We took gymnastics class together at the YMCA. What *was* her name?

Don’t tell me a Jonas brother shoved my friend out of the brain jar!

I suppose the trick is to let those lightweight worthless marbles flow in for a moment and then find a way to shove them right back out.

If I get too many of the trivial marbles, there’s no room left for the big meaningful marbles to find a permanent home.

Of course, some of those big marbles are so heavy, they can’t possibly be washed out. My wedding day. Holding my oldest goddaughter for the first time (I cried). Cracking jokes with my pops while he was in the hospital.

The big ones stick around, no matter. The middlin’ sized tend to go all floaty without my permission. They are the hardest to hold onto.

But I try. Oh I try.

Let’s just hope that at the very least, I can manage to hang on to most of my important marbles.

Because I surely would hate to, you know…lose my marbles.

Photo from the KM&G-Morris public Flickr photostream.

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  • Anji

    Thanks for the explanation – now I understand why mine is full of such useless clutter.

  • Karen Fayeth

    LOL, Anji! Glad my metaphor worked for you!

    May all your marbles be good ones! The kind you want to stick around!

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