Don't Trust Older Workers

That's the implication of Margaret Wente's current column in the Globe & Mail. She claims that since she's hit 50, she's losing her mind.

I remember that Michael Bliss, the historian, wrote an article about ten years ago saying something very similar but I'm thinking that it might not be legal to say such things in public anymore. Here's Marg:

It's comforting to blame mental slips on overtasking. We lead busy, busy lives, and our brains are buzzing with big ideas and too much to do... No wonder we occasionally find ourselves in the middle of the Staples store and can't remember why we're there.

But secretly, I know that overtasking's not to blame for this depressing deterioration of our faculties. Turning 50 is to blame. That's when the laws of entropy kick in with a vengeance...

After you turn 50, it is dangerous to think about more than one thing at a time. If you do, you will drive right past your own street on the way home from work, the one where you've lived for 15 years.

"You need a minder," my husband said the last time I did this. It was hard to argue with him. The other day I blanked out on the words for "windshield scraper."

My friend Barbara is even worse than I am. "Can you lend me that fantastic novel by Saul Bellow, The Bleeding Heart?" she says, when what she means is The Human Stain by Philip Roth. She maintains that even though the things she says are factually inaccurate, they are generally true, which is what counts.

Barbara's theory is that we only have a certain number of memory slots in our brains, and by the time you reach age 50 they're all filled up... This wouldn't be so bad if the information you already possessed was worth having. Unfortunately, my own memory slots are crammed with useless junk.

It is impossible to delete these files. This explains why I can't remember how to program the voice mail on my cellphone, or recall the name of somebody I met last week.

Recently I went to see my dentist, the one I've had for more than a decade. I spent half an hour standing helplessly in the lobby of a downtown office tower because I forgot his name and couldn't remember what floor he was on.
Find more here

No comments: