I Have a Memory Like an Elephant. But Do Elephants Really Remember All That Well?

Ma Smash forgets things all the time, and then forgets that she forgets them. A few years ago, before my sister got married, we had what can only be described as a ghetto throw-down, in which she stole my shoes and I took a razor blade out of my mouth and threatened to cut her. OK, actually, there was just a lot of very careful hair-pulling and name-calling. Mrs. Piddlington said it was the saddest fight she’d ever seen, in fact, and that we had our hands in each other’s hair, but weren’t exactly pulling because we didn’t want to hurt one another.

My point is that a few years later, she actually said to me, “My favorite part about Meg’s wedding is how calm we all were. No one fought at all!”

And I had to say, “Yeah, except for that time when you and I danced around the kitchen for ten minutes, trying to figure out how to smack each other without leaving a mark, while Meg wept and tried to keep us away from the kitchen knives.”

And Ma Smash said, “No! Did that happen?” And then, “You know, I sort of remember that.” While Meg and I rolled our eyes.

A short of list of other things she’s forgotten includes the following:

1) The sexual orientation and/or marital status of most of my friends, including people who have been coming over to her house for 20 years.
2) The dietary preferences of her children, including the fact that I find pot roast sort of scary. It looks like what is it: A big lump of gray muscle. And it skeeves me out.
3) Probably, at this point in this entry, why she ever taught me to read or write.

I almost didn’t write this piece, because I was afraid she would take it the wrong way. I even talked to Mrs. P about it, just to get her opinion.

“I think she’ll be OK with it,” she said. “It wasn’t like a real fight.”

“Well, also, if she’s mad, she’ll just forget!”

Pause. “You should write that.”

So I just did.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

5 thoughts on “I Have a Memory Like an Elephant. But Do Elephants Really Remember All That Well?

  1. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Mom’s pot roast is the bomb-diggidy. In fact, I just had some about an hour ago. I’ll bring you some in a little baggy this weekend, if you like.

  2. Ok, Missy. Let me just inform you of a couple of things:
    1. I forget the unpleasant things. It’s part of my well balanced emotional personality. I have NOT forgotten about your drinking thing in High School which landed you in MY emergency with MY friends, causing me to turn down your IV and give you the biggest hangover any child has ever suffered. Why don’t you tell your readers about your finest hour?
    2. I’ll have you know that my pot roast is a thing of beauty. I have just had many compliments from my loving family about dinner tonight. Also, see Meg’s comment. You have a nice little present heading your way this weekend.
    3. You are a writer and as such you tend to exagerate. I recall the incident at the wedding and in my mind we had a lovely discussion about shoes over a bottle of nice wine.
    4. Just who do you think your many readers will believe,eh? You or me.

    You will pay for all this this weekend when Megs and I arrive at your house. Just remember, insomnia aside, you have to fall asleep sometime.
    Love, Your own Ma Smash

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