A few weeks ago, there was a buzz in the news about someone new who had recently been diagnosed with Total Recall. Eidetic Memory, they call it. People have been claiming it throughout history, but only recently have there been any tests to determine whether or not they’re just really good fakes.
I swear I heard on the radio the other day that only three living people have been “diagnosed” with this condition, but I can’t actually find any proof of that, so maybe I’m making it up. I did, however, find an article in the Chicago Tribune that gives a pretty excellent report on the horrors of having total autobiographical recall (Hyperthymesia), vis a vis a woman named Jill Price who suffers from just such a condition. Sums it up way better than I could (without plagiarizing).
Total recall. What a terrible idea, and not even all that useful. Maybe I’ll change my mind when the world is perfect again, but even so – who wants to remember an eternity of clipping toenails or cleaning out the fridge? Blah.
But this has made me wonder: would total recall prevent Lost Key Syndrome?
This morning I got up from my desk and walked downstairs to see if a fax had come in for me yet. On the way, I got delayed by a coworker who had a question, which resulted in a trip back up to my desk to get her some information. Then I remembered I was still looking for a fax, went back downstairs and saw the mailman coming in the front door. Hooray, mail! I thought. I was thumbing through it when I remembered I’d come downstairs for something else, but what? Ah! I must have wanted my morning tea. So I prepare the tea, go back upstairs and realize I still don’t have my fax. I go downstairs, realize I left the mail sitting in the kitchen, fetch that, and go back upstairs. Still no fax. I finally get my fax, by which time my tea is cold.
Y’know. Lost Key Syndrome. Do people with brilliant memories do this too, or is it controlled by some deeper, less useful part of the brain? Like a short circuit to prevent us from being overly productive with our days or our lives?