The results of a study came out today that suggested that our brains start to let us down at around 45 years old. Really?? I wonder how old the people were that carried out this research? I wonder how they tested the memory? On what kind of information? Because there are certain types of information that no brain can retain for any length of time.

Petrol pump numbers are a good example, it doesn’t matter how short the walk across the forecourt is by the time you reach the till you will be squinting and leaning to read your pump number again. How long has passed? 25 seconds? Shouldn’t be difficult should it? Or when you are in an Italian restaurant and you practice in your head how to say the dish name but when the waiter comes you end up pointing tentatively at the menu and waiting for him to say it for you.


“I’ll have the……………”

“Tagliatelli Carbonara?”

“Yes that’s right sorry I’ve forgotten how to speak”


Or when you are eating a box of chocolates and have to consult “the little menu” every time you want one or risk getting the dreaded coffee one that nobody likes. Even though scant seconds have passed, even though you are, in fact, still chewing the previous one. Why does this information just fall out of your head?  Early onset senility? Well no, let’s not check ourselves in to Dignitas just yet – because I have a theory.


Thirty years ago people prided themselves on their mental acuity, because accessing information once it had left your head was difficult, was time consuming. Conversations in the eighties might go like this




“John, what is the population of the Earth?”

“Oh well it’s erm, it’s about……..”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t know”

“It’s not that, it’s just that I’ve got a book at home”

“A recent book?”

“Well it was printed about 15 years ago…..”

“So it might not help us?”

“Let’s go to the library then, I’m sure they’ll have the information we need”

“Come on then, after all we have nothing better to do”


Today the same conversation would go like this


“John, what is the population of the Earth?”

“Fuck knows. Google it”

“7 Billion. Let’s go to the pub”


You see? We don’t need to remember it because our phones and blackberries and computers are our brain extension, near instant access to the assembled knowledge of man. Why take up valuable head space with stuff we don’t need? How many phone numbers do you actually know these days? Exactly. We place our trust in technology everyday, occasionally too much trust – like the SatNav where you will see grown men pulling out of THEIR OWN DRIVEWAY with it on, consulting the screen as if the geography of the place they have lived for years has mysteriously altered.


So this study showing the brain’s ability to recollect data fades sooner than was first thought doesn’t bother me, I like to save my brain for the important stuff, stuff that isn’t on the internet. Stuff like the first time I fell in love – I remember it vividly, I was caught “getting off” with the telly whilst Anneka Rice was on.


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