One of the much-touted benefits of aging with a spouse is that, together, the two of you often make a whole brain. You can complete one another’s sentences, tell parallel stories with wildly differing details at the same time and help one another with dates of birthdays and anniversaries, as in, “No, that one was born the year we had the roof replaced.”
On occasion, you can even help provide missing punchlines for one another’s jokes.
The husband starts a familiar one saying, “Do you know why men with a pierced ear are well-suited for marriage? Because — now what was it? Men with a pierced ear are well-suited for marriage because … because —”
“Because they’ve already experienced pain and purchased jewelry.” I say.
It’s a good system in general, and I’m all for helping one another fill in the blanks, but the husband has gone too far, which is why I will no longer be fielding questions from him, or anyone else for that matter, with more than one compound word beginning with “some.” Something, somewhere, someone, somehow, somebody, sometime are officially off limits — and I mean all of them.
Increasingly, as others play Name that Tune, we play Name that Person.
Last night it was, “Do you remember someone whose name was like royalty, and he used to play something brass and they moved somewhere with South or North in the name?”
At least I had decent parameters to work with on that one. Answer: “Jim King played the trumpet and moved to North Carolina.”
Other times, the questions are so vague I don’t have a clue, such as, “What was that funny story someone told about something that happened in some national park?”
With a structure that loose, I’m grappling with whether we’re talking animal, vegetable or mineral.
It’s not that the man is forgetful, it’s that — like every single one of us these days — he has SHS (Selective Hearing Syndrome). I made that up, but doctors should really use it (only after they pay me for naming rights, of course). He tunes in to the constant barrage of information and noise when he wants to tune in and then uses me as his personal Google search engine for the details he missed when he tuned out.
He’s not the only one who does it. One of the grandkids asked if I would make a dessert I made not long ago.
“It was something yummy, something chocolate and you made it when everyone was here and you said you’d make it again sometime.”
Well, that narrows it down to big family gatherings, major holidays and the dessert section of 30-plus cookbooks. I’m going to need WikiLeaks to find that one.
I was going to tell her to get back to me when she had a few more clues, but instead I told her to run it by Grandpa and see if he could remember something. Somehow. Sometime.
Lori Borgman is an Indianapolis columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.