Breathing Lessons

By Sam Bob Ralph Pete … wait wait I’ve got it right here in my wallet.

    I was driving home the other day practicing a relaxation breathing technique I recently learned.  You breath in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, then breath out through your mouth for a count of 8.  You must hold the tip of your tongue just so against the ridge at the back of your upper front teeth.  That part seems a little overboard to me.  These rule makers always get carried away with irrelevant details.  Like those galloping nincompoops who stipulate you can not use white for a watercolor painting.

    The breathing method did seem to calm me down.  So much so that I nodded off for a brief period while driving west on the 118.  As I started drifting across lanes the blaring of horns brought me back.  I awoke feeling refreshed and ready to finish my drive. 

    I was so excited about this easy, drug free (that is the downside) way to relax I started rehearsing in my mind how I would explain it to my friends friend.  But, I couldn’t remember where I had learned it.  My friend was not going to listen to me if he thought the idea was my own.  I had to come up with documentation.

    Where did I learn it?  Was it the Dr. Phil show?  Perhaps the Dr. Drew show, the man who treats loadies.  I watch him faithfully to see if I can kick a few or more of these bad habits without actually paying for treatment.  Maybe from one of those Oprah books?   Then it came to me; I heard it on one of the CDs my daughter got me on improving your memory.  Well, I guess you could say it was sort of working.  I did remember eventually.

    On the way home I stopped at the gym to take a muscle conditioning class.  While picking up my mat I passed by a woman I knew from the gym and said, “Corrie, how’s it going?”  I have known her name for years.  We could not really be classified as even casual acquaintances as I only know her name and nothing else about her.  I have been saying “Hi, Corrie” for a long time but we never talk before or after class.  She knows my name from hearing the various instructors call it out over the years.  BiLLLLL, what are you doing, we are on another exercise, or BiLLLLLL where are you going now?  I have a list of stock answers; I need a drink, I have to pee, this exercise looks like it may be hard, etc.  One instructor used to start her class by saying if there are any new people in here and you need some water just follow Bill, he takes a break every 10 minutes.

    I got of track a bit there.  So the class started and I was going along Ok until I glanced over and saw Corrie in the mirror.  I don’t know why my mind felt the need to remember her name but it did.  It could be that some diagnostic part of my brain knew there was a problem, a memory leak.  I could not think of her name.  Well this is bullshit, I knew it moments ago.  Forget about it who cares.  Doesn’t work that way.  I started on my usual technique to remember a name.  This technique seldom works but I tend to forget it doesn’t work.   Ann, Amanda, Amy, Alison, Barbara, Betty, Bonnie, Camy, Cristine, Debra, Dorrie, … and on down the alphabet.  Sometimes I quit before getting to the Z’s and start over.  BiLLLL, what are you doing, we are working out here.

    Her name did not come to me for a few days by which time I had lost interest and forgot that I had new brain damage.  But when it did I leapt on it like a lion with my newly learned memory techniques.  You are supposed to form a vivid, detailed image connecting the name and face.  So I now have her stored in the remaining undamaged part of my brain as cutting away the good part of an apple and eating the CORE..Y.

    Only time will tell if this works or not.  Meanwhile I’m thinking that I may have used up a goodly portion of my brain to remember something I really have no use for.

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10 Responses to Breathing Lessons

  1. Wouldn’t it be even easier to write it in your “little black book?” Paint a wallet size picture and put it next to each name! (I know a professor who took pictures of his advisees for his files. He claimed his neurons weren’t firing well any longer! :D )

  2. kevmoore says:

    This technique is all well and good…but if you’ve used up the apple for remembering Corrie’s name, how will you ever remember Gladys Knights backing band is The Pips. Corrie in the UK is the nickname of a long-running soap opera. I dont know if this helps.
    In an attempt to assuage your fears about your brain dying, I should point out mine began this process many years ago. Outside of my immediate family, that is, my kids, and my sisters kids. I have not only no idea of the names of my cousins offspring, I have no idea how many there are, nor their sexes. Birthdays? Forget it. Proof positive that the brain starts dying seriously around 18 years is the fact that I remember my three best childhood friends birthdays perfectly. I believe they now have children. They could be martians for all I know.

  3. wrjones says:

    Kev – I think I’m way ahead of you on forgetting.

    1. I dated a woman steadily for a year then didn’t see her for a month. Ran into her having dinner with friends and they asked me to join them. I could not remember her name (of course now I do, Francis). I kept waiting for someone at the table to say her name at the same time racking my damaged brain to see if I could find it on my own. I was so concentrated on trying to come up with the name I couldn’t listen to the conversation. Thus they had to repeat everything for me when I would say, sorry I missed that? I excused myself to go to the bathroom and searched every nook of my wallet to see if there was any scrap of info on her; none.

    2. I worked with a woman for 5 years. Every day we had coffee, etc. Went to lunch many times. After I left that job and saw her a few months later at a Cosco, I had to hide in the parking lot until she left. Of course now, 15 years later, I remember, Gloria.

    3. Over the same 5 years I worked with a young man; after leaving I ran into him somewhere and in circumstances that forced me to admit I could not remember his name. He did not believe me. “I’m sorry, but your name escapes me at the moment.” “No, it doesn’t.” “Yes, it does.” “No, it doesn’t.” “Look, I can’t remember your name.” “Yes, you can.” Of course, now I remember, Tom.

    So after writing these I’m seeing a strategy. I will say, “Hey, don’t think I’ve forgotten you; your name is working its way to the surface as we speak. Let me get back to you in oh, say about 15 years.

  4. kevmoore says:

    Wow, you’re pretty far gone there. At least I know what I’ve got to look forward to. I met the new neighbour yesterday, introduced Miki and I, forgot her name within 30 seconds. Its gone. She told me it, I can remember seeing her lips moving, but I’ve got so much other stuff rattling around in the ol’ grey matter, how should I find room for new stuff. On a subconscious level, I reckon the brain knows I’ll never have to speak to this woman again, except to say “hey! get your car outta my space!” so it simply discards the useless data. Who’s blog is this again?

  5. kevmoore says:

    Wow, you’re pretty far gone there. At least I know what I’ve got coming down the line. Only yesterday, I met the new neighbour. Forgot her name within 30 seconds. Its gone. I can only assume that the brain subconsciously realises I’ll probably never speak to this woman again except to say “hey! get outta my parking space!” and disregards the useless data. Who’s blog is this anyway?

  6. kevmoore says:

    See? I wrote it all again. Was that wordpress, or didnt I remember doing it the first time? Now I’m getting paranoid. I need a lie down. If only I could remember where I lived….

  7. wrjones says:

    Jeeesus H. Christ, Kimberly, er Kev (I re-read your name and copied it to here / which means, if you think about it, I can remember long enough to cut AND paste.)

    Maybe we could share a room at an assisted living home in Spain. Miki could come visit us. She could watch while I painted to make sure I didn’t eat any.

    I avoid my neighbors except to steal their flowers in an effort to never hear their names. I don’t see any sense in tormenting myself.

    As another recent reminder of my downhill slide; while getting Corrie’s name back in my leaking mind, I forgot 3 of the gym instructor’s names. No big deal you might think, but these are the three with breast enhancements. So now when they ask me why I’m leaving class in the middle of an exercise I will say I’m going to the certificate wall to see who the hell they are. I guess all the gym names were kept in the same area of brain that has suffered some trama. It could have been caused by my rejection by Surface and Surface. They have such a good lifestyle I asked them to adopt me. I even said I would take care of all the paperwork.

  8. gypsy-heart says:

    Well, I guess get me a room at the assisted living home too …because I am terrible with names. Especially all my ex-husbands. well..maybe that is intentional. hee, hee.

    I like the painting!

  9. Miki says:

    Keep on dreaming, Bill, but you won’t get my Kevin! Senile or not, I want him with me!
    But of course you can come to Spain and live in an assisted living home and we will visit you. But please, when you come, don’t forget to take Ramona with you, our Paco is dying to see her alive.
    Lisa is welcome too, of course, and her dog too, Kevin can take care of it while she is painting, he has suddenly discovered his love for dogs…

  10. wrjones says:

    Gypsy – let’s start a home for memory challenged painters. I think I will need government sponsorship as I’m not selling anything. Ok, maybe we could just have an area under a bridge where we all gather for the night (if we can remember).

    Miki – honestly, I wasn’t planning on having Trixie and Bubbles at the home. Still, if they should drop by, Kev and I would have to be gentlemanly hosts.

    Sadly, Ramona is no longer with us; had to try out the new grill.

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