You may recall this photo from yesterdays Photo Safari report. I honestly have no idea what this is. I'm guessing a sort of moth primarily due to its shorter, thicker body and general fuzziness but on the other hand, it is a little more colourful than the average moth so I cannot be absolutely certain. Perhaps it is some sort of butterfly/moth hybrid. A Moth-erfly or a Butter-oth if you wish. Or maybe it is of an altogether different category, as yet unnamed. That would be cool. New creatures are discovered all of the time and somebody has to name them. And I don't mean name them regular names like, Harry (or perhaps in this case, Hairy) I mean the newly discovered species requires an identifying name.
There is a word for everything. And considering how many things there actually are, it's an overwhelming notion. Somebody (actually many people) had to think of a specific, unduplicated, identifying word for every single thing that exists in the entire universe. And as more things are discovered, new words. Holy Cats!
There are the names of things you already know, like table, dog, apple and greeting card. But there are also things that you perhaps never considered having an actual name, which of course, do have one. Like that little plastic bit on the ends of shoelaces. That's called an Aglet. The facial lines that run from the nose to the mouth we refer to as "smile lines" but actually they are the Nasolabial Fold. A Placket is the part of a shirt or skirt or trousers that forms the closure. It's the bit that always needs to be ironed flat but when closed nobody sees.
I love that I actually knew those things right off the top of my head. So many delicious and amazing words! It is wonderful and astounding and frankly, I want to learn them all. Which is not to say that I will remember any of them when I need to.
I am the person in this household most likely to refer to something as a "thingie" or a "doohickey" or "jobberdo". My Nana was big on a "Thingumabob". My mother was more the sort that would gesture in the general direction of the object in question until we figured it out for ourselves.
My dad didn't start to now and again forget a word until probably his early 80's. His brain was incredible. He was razor sharp 99.9% of the time even as he got older. But every once in awhile he would blank on a word, and there would be a long pause followed by, "Damnit, I know that!" And we would rush to fill in the empty spot. It was very frustrating for him. Which I totally understand.
My difficulty with words began much much younger. I actually remember a morning when I was in what is now called Middle School (then called Junior High) when I was informing my father, over breakfast, that my clock radio wasn't working properly. I was trying to ask him if he would please take a look at it when he had time. Only I couldn't think of the words, "Clock Radio". So the conversation was sort of:
Me: "Daddy, if you have time later would you please have a look at my....ummmmm..... My.....ummm... it's not working properly."
Dad; "Your what isn't working?
Me: "The ummm...thingie..." I began miming changing stations and the general size and shape of the object, "Ummmmm.... it plays music and tells time...the...ummmmmm"
I remember that conversation vividly. Mostly because I got teased about it a lot. But it was also of concern to me as I got a little older and had small children. I do recall a cold snowy afternoon when I was kneading bread in the kitchen, one baby sleeping, one toddler playing around my feet and the oldest boy just past toddler age asking where a particular stuffed toy was. "Oh honey, I think I saw that in the...ummm...in the....you know..the...ummm..." And I lifted one floury hand and pointed toward the living room. My son happily tottered off to the living room to retrieve the toy. I internally cringed. I could not think of the words, "Living room"? That's scary.
When it was still happening, not every day but here and there, once in awhile, by the time I reached my early 40's, I asked a doctor friend of mine if I needed to be concerned about this being a sign of early senility. She went from being a friend to a professional is .6 seconds and then she began asking some excellent questions. At the end of our conversation she laughed and said it was nothing to concern myself with. She said that it was a kind of aphasia and apparently it's just the way my brain is wired. Nothing to worry about. Whew! That's a relief.
And while it has continued, it hasn't gotten any worse. But it hasn't gotten any better either despite eating properly, drinking loads of water, exercising and having rockstar blood pressure and cholesterol levels. I read voraciously, I do those "brain games" on the computer, I have engaging conversations with interesting people. And still, I find myself occasionally supplementing my conversation with "whatchamacallits" and "doodads" now and again. Or perhaps it's just a long pause until the proper word I'm looking for pops back into the gap. Its unsettling.
And it's how other people now perceive it. When I was a kid and I couldn't think of the word, people thought it was funny. When I was a young woman and I was calling something a "what'sit" people thought it was cute. But now I am a (ahem) mature woman and the assumption is that I'm just old and forgetful and well on my way to the Memory Center of the local Skilled Nursing Facility. (what an ironic name). When in fact, my occasional inability to immediately recall the word for which I am searching is no worse now than it was when I was 13.
That's the part that is frustrating. And if I even attempted to explain it away, I would see a whole lot of doubt on their faces and hear oh so dubious agreement. Have you ever heard that incredibly sarcastic, "Sure" from someone who does not believe you? It is so aggravating.
Other than talking less (which would certainly hide it), I am not certain what the answer is. I just know that I cannot possibly be the only person with this issue.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.