Next time your memory fails, try punching in an ‘8’


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By Lori Clinch

I am truly not one to suffer in silence. Although there are some who will state otherwise, I do this so those who suffer from the same afflictions can feel normal.

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It’s a sacrifice, I know, but we must all sacrifice for humanity. My affliction is this: I have a less than stellar memory.

I don’t remember conversations, smart decisions or where I parked the car. Thankfully enough, our sons remind me about my bad memory all of the time, otherwise I would forget that I ever had a memory at all.

The only thing that keeps me from worrying myself sick is that I surround myself with friends who are around my age and suffer from the same complaint.

Take the other day for instance, when I was enjoying the afternoon with my good friend, Nellie. Nellie’s smart phone had died and after a complete recharge, she powered it back on.

“This is odd,” she said as she looked at the phone. “My phone won’t take my passcode.”

Being one to frequently forget common things, I asked the obvious question. “Are you sure you’re entering the right passcode?”

“Seriously?!” she said as she reacted to my question. Then, with an emphatic eye roll she added, “Who would forget a passcode? It’s not like I don’t enter it like a bajillion times a day.”

“Power it down and then back up again,” I suggested.

When that didn’t work, I asked her again, “Are you sure you have the right passcode?”

“Not sure it’s the right passcode, huh? That’s the best you got? Who forgets their passcode? I might be old, but I wouldn’t forget my own passcode.  You’re old so you’ll forget your passcode, but I am way too young to forget a thing as common as my passcode. Seriously,” she added to complete her rant, “like one would forget their passcode.”

“Well,” I answered, “I forgot my son’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary and recently I wasn’t so sure how old I was. I’m not one to judge, but I could totally see me forgetting my passcode.”

“Your passcode is 6888,” Nellie said with conviction.

“That’s good to know,” I replied. “I should write that down.”

“Maybe my passcode is 3888,” Nellie suggested.

“It’s not,” I said with confidence. “I would know if it was because my passcode has eights in it.”

Nellie and I are nothing if not sheer geniuses.

“Do you have your passcode written down anywhere?” I asked.

“Yes!  In ‘Notes’ on my phone!”

“That’s about as helpful as locking the combination inside your safe.”

“Thank you Capt. Hindsight.”

“Listen!” Nellie said to her husband when she called him from my phone. “What’s my passcode?”

“I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with eights,” Henry replied.

“That’s all that you remember? You remember useless things all the time. You know scores and stats from every sporting event across the nation. You can do mathematical equations in your head with great accuracy and it’s my passcode that you forget?”

“Try all eights,” Henry suggested.

“I know there’s not an eight in it, Henry. You think I wouldn’t know that?”

Nellie’s phone was making her wait longer periods of time between guessing her passcode and she was up to a full 35 minutes between attempts. She had no choice but to use my phone and call the service provider.

After following the prompts and pushing every possible numerical conglomeration, Nellie was finally in touch with a real live support tech who was sincere, nice and willing to help.

“Are you sure you’re entering the correct passcode?” the technician asked.

“Are you implying I would forget my passcode?” Nellie retorted. “Because if there is one thing I am certain of, it is my passcode. I might forget the simple things, but my passcode is my right arm, my go-to, and one of the few things I know that I know.”

“I’m thinking it’s the universe that’s messing with me and not my memory,” Nellie said as she placed a hand over the receiver.

Just then, Nellie’s oldest son walked into the room. “Roy!” Nellie said in desperation. “What’s the passcode for my phone?”

“It’s all eights,” Roy answered.

Nellie makes me happy to be me.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to

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