Opinion: Please forget to remember that


Last year, I commented in a column how strange it was that an over-the-counter medication touted to enhance memory was produced with ingredients from jellyfish — ironically the only animal on the planet with no brain. They have since scrapped that commercial. You’re welcome.

Now, in every TV ad for Prevagen, you see an elderly couple walking through the woods. Then we see them sitting on their deck talking about their improved memory and boasting about how much they hike every day. And apparently, they always find their way back home. The Prevagen people might be on to something, after all.

Mary Ellen has been concerned about my increasing forgetfulness, so she decided it was worth a try.

“How about you, Mary Ellen?” I asked. “Aren’t you going to take it? Remember, last month we got pizza delivered four times, brought in Chinese food three times and had TV dinners seven times.”

“What does that have to do with my memory?”

“I thought maybe you forgot how to cook.”

For a long time, every time I went to CVS, she told me to buy Prevagen. It kept slipping my mind when I was at the store, which is a real conundrum for the Prevagen people — the kind of marketing concern that Mr. Wonderful on “Shark Tank” would have been quick to point out: “What good is a memory product if consumers keep forgetting to buy it? I’m out.”

I wish I had not asked my wife to take the drug. A month later, she was annoyed at something, and I asked her what was bothering her.

“About six months after we got married, you told me I looked like I had gained weight. Now that I think about it, I’m still angry at you for saying that.”

“That was 39 years ago. What made you remember it now?”

“I don’t know. It just came back to me.”

“Well, Mary Ellen, I just remembered when we first met, you forgot about our date one night and you left me sitting at the bar, alone.”

“Dick, that was 42 years ago. Whatever made you think of that again?”

We then decided to switch from the Extra Strength Prevagen to the regular strength. There were a few moments we wanted to erase from our brains, and we didn’t want to go overboard with this memory thing. I’m writing a letter to Prevagen to suggest they put this on their warning label: “This product will not only improve your bad memory but may also bring back bad memories.” Catchy, huh?

Full disclosure: I have written several hundred columns through the years about Mary Ellen and me. Up until now, every story was based on something that really happened. This is the only time everything in the column is completely made up — assuming my memory serves me correctly.

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