Forgetting

“They tell me I shot myself in the chin, shot somebody else, too, but I don’t think that’s right.  What happened was I fell off a fruit wagon.”

That’s Dr. Wagner.  He’s a pharmacist, had his own small town pharmacy out in the Valley for years, seemed fine they say, until this happened.  I’m his occupational therapist.  It’s my job to determine how well he can perform his activities of daily living, things like brushing his teeth, making out a checkbook, but right now I’m conducting a cognitive screening called the O-Log.  Checking for orientation to place, time, person, and situation.  He’s not doing too well.  Problem is he’s lobotomized himself with an old German Luger and can’t recall that two weeks ago he shot his wife and their twelve-year old daughter, then turned the gun on himself.  So he does what they call confabulation, makes up something that seems probable in the moment, and even believes it.  Would be funny except.

Race home from work and get dressed for my brother’s birthday celebration at our sister’s house.  Leave in a huff halfway through after getting into an argument over the Confederate statues, which he has decided he worships now.  Where did that come from?  Out in the driveway, our sister wags her finger along the lines of,  “You don’t remember much of when we were kids do you?  You messed with him relentlessly and now you think he’s going to listen to your shit?”

“What are you talking about?” I ask.

“You know,” she replies with that drum roll of the eyes sisters are so good at.

Next morning at the hospital I monitor the old pharmacist dressing and grooming.  He manages fine, functioning on remote control, stuff he’s done without thinking his whole life.  There’ll be an ugly court fight about this.  The cops stationed outside his door may lead him to jail or to a mental hospital or maybe even just to a nursing home and none of it will matter a whit to him.  He’s got a confabulous new story for every situation and it’s all just a walk in the park no matter what, which I guess is the beauty of blowing out your frontal lobes.  If you don’t remember it, did it ever even happen?  And if it never happened, what can you make up that might have, that at least for the moment anyway explains it all?

Space Aliens Come Upon the Dictionary Page that Starts with Colonel Blimpism and Ends with Colorway

Discovering that

a phenomenon

of light or perception

is how we distinguish

otherwise identical

things, and that this

flourish named

color is often used

among humans

in that way.

 

Though some are

color-blind, it seems

and others call others

colored, and those

without color – because

the definition of color

excludes the phenomenon

of light we call white

these whites block

those with color

(But why? And how?)

from participating

in various activities.

 

Color bar/color line.

 

Why would the

colorless — ie,

pallid, blanched,

dull, uninteresting

do such a thing?

What activities, exactly?

Colonic irrigation?

 

And how do they

distinguish anyway?

Is that what this thing

a colorimeter is for?

Are there colorists

who decide?  Do they

fear those with something

called color temperature?

Blackbodies that can emit

radiant energy to

evoke color?

 

That’s it!  (They say.)

We’ve got it.  The key’s

right here on this page.

Now we know what moves

them.  And the word we’ll

use when we go down

to colonize.