Keeping the Mind Afloat

by Marty Parisien

While sitting with Rich Aaring and Marji Clune at Rich’s office hours a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised by how often each of us started a sentence with the words, “I forget who, but….” 

Pay attention the next time you are hanging around EYC and you will hear, “I don’t remember,” “I don’t recall,” “I forget,” and other like phrases so often one can be forgiven for thinking they are in the middle of a congressional hearing. However, ask anyone at EYC how they did on a Thursday afternoon race in 1992 and you will receive a level of detail that will make you wish that you forgot to ask the question. 

Why is this? Why do we forget so many important details of our daily lives but remember so much about sailing? I think perhaps we tend to remember times and events in our lives connected with happiness and joy more often than less pleasant moments. Regardless of our personal politics, careers, or a propensity to wear blue hats, one thing we all share is a passion for being out on the water in a boat.

I ran my theory past my wife Kiyoe. I asked her to think about that time in April, 1995 when we enjoyed a spring day in a rented canoe on the millrace canals just across Franklin Blvd. from the U of O. Then a couple of months later, after our June graduation, we went sailing on Mission Bay, San Diego in a 16 ft Hobie Cat. “Can you even remember a significant moment together between those two times we spent on boats?” I asked her. “Well, there is that time we got married in May”, she grumbled.

We even use things connected with our boating lives to help us remember important details of our terrestrial lives. Raise your hand if your sail number is the passcode for your mobile phone!  Yup, mine is. You want to break into the Facebook page of an EYC member? Try the name of their boat with a “1” or “!” after it. You know you’ve done this. Go ahead, admit it. You will feel better, I promise.

I have an idea how we can all do a better job of remembering more: we simply need to spend more time on our boats. Let’s all give it a try this season and see how it turns out.