The Strange Man in Pajamas
“Hello, are you there?”
“Hello thank you for calling The Memory Management hotline this is Angela. How can I help you?”
“Ok good. I lost my memory. Have you seen him?”
“I understand sir. Where did you last see your memory.”
“I…. I’m not sure. I can’t remember obviously!”
“Ok sir calm down. Please give me your name and address so that I can send over a memory specialist.”
“Look, I just told you that I LOST MY MEMORY! How am I supposed to remember my name and address?!”
“You must have lost him a while ago because your short-term memory should have held that information… OK. I got your address from tracing your phone signal. Please hold tight and wait for the specialist to arrive.”
Angela hung up the phone and rolled her eyes. “Bill! We got a memory retrieval at 228 Sycamore Drive. You’re up!”
“Thanks Angie. What’s the status of his short-term?”
“Gone. All gone.”
“Great.” Bill sighed. “Looks like I’ll be gone for a while.”
Bill exited his car, walked up the sidewalk to the front door of 228 Sycamore Drive, and rang the door bell. Shortly, a man dressed in pajamas answered.
“Yes?” He said with a blank stare.
“Hello sir my name is Bill with Memory Management. I am here to help you find your memory.”
“What are you talking about?”
Bill groaned. “I was afraid of this. You see, you called a few minutes ago and told us that you lost your memory. So, I was sent right over to help you find him.”
“Well I don’t remember calling…”
“Oh! I see your point. So what can you do about it?”
“Well first I need to ask you a few questions.” Bill said as he pulled a notepad and pencil out of his jacket pocket.
“What is your name?”
“I don’t know.”
“How old are you?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did you last eat?”
“I ate a salad.”
“Yes I guess so.”
“Ok. That gives us a start.” Bill finished jotting the last note down and stuffed the pad and pencil back in his pocket.
“So how did those questions help at all?”
“It’s hard to explain. Basically, your short-term memory is in your head. It can hold basic things like what you last ate, and things like that. The thing is, it only lasts about 30 minutes. Based on my questions, it seems like the furthest your short-term memory goes back is to the time when you ate salad for breakfast.”
The man in pajamas scratched his head. “So you know I ate salad about 30 minutes ago… but again how is that helpful?”
“It means that you were in the kitchen recently! So that is where we will start looking.”
“Looking for what?”
“Oh that’s right.”
Bill walked quickly through the house, followed closely by the man in pajamas, until he found the kitchen.
“Ah I was afraid this was going to happen. You have stainless steel appliances. It will make it harder to find your memory in this. I’ll be right back.”
The man in pajamas waited as Bill walked out of the room. He heard the front door open and close, and then open and close again a couple of minutes later. And Bill was back in the kitchen, holding some kind of device.
“What is that?”
“It is a memorydetector. Sort of like a metal detector but for memories.”
“What is a metal detector?”
“That’s not important.” Bill chuckled. “What is important is that I have a lot of work to do. Just stand still and I’ll let you know if I find your memory ok? Hm… I guess I’ll start with the refrigerator.”
Bill walked up the refrigerator and held the memorydetector up to the shiny steel door. BEEP.
“Shucks that would have been nice and easy.”
“But it beeped!” Said the man in the pajamas.
“Yeah. One beep means nothing. Two beeps is what we want.”
And so he continued to hold up the device to other objects in the kitchen. Microwave — BEEP. Oven — BEEP. Toaster — BEEP. Dishwasher — BEEP. Coffee Maker — BEEP. To the horror of the man in pajamas, Bill then started opening all of the kitchen cupboards and drawers, pulling out the contents, and scanning everything with the memorydetector. Dishes and containers, bowls and knives, everything shiny needed to be scanned. After a long time, and after relocating the entire kitchen to the floor of the next room, Bill set his device down on the kitchen counter and wiped his now sweaty forehead.
“Good grief! Looks like you really did lose your memory!”
“You mean you didn’t find it in all that mess?!”
“I didn’t find him. No. Wait a minute… Where did you eat your salad?”
“Oh er… I think it was over there on the couch.”
“The couch!” Bill sprang over to the place the man pointed to. “Aha!” He exclaimed. He bent down and grabbed an object from the seat. As he turned around with a grin, the man in the pajamas saw that it was the fork he had used to eat the salad. Bill brought it over to the memorydetector and pushed the button. BEEP BEEP!
“Wait, hold on.” Said the man in the pajamas.”My memory is a fork?”
“No!” Laughed Bill. “Your memory is hiding in the fork!” He held it up. But all the man in the pajamas saw was his reflection.
“I just see me.”
“Yep. That him.”
“Wait… my memory is…”
“Your reflection! Why do you think we have mirrors around everywhere. Whenever we look at our reflection, we deposit our short term memory and stay synced. It’s like saving information to a hard drive.”
“So what happens to memories when we stop looking at them in the mirror?”
“No body knows… some people think that they just disappear. But recent studies suggest that our memories actually have their own lives on the other side of the reflection!”
“They don’t know that they are memories?”
“Nope. They think that WE are the reflection. Kinda funny huh?”
“I guess so… but it seems a little strange.” Said the man in the pajamas.