Drabble 183 – Hypermnesia

A black and white photo of a person with their finger to their lips, which are covered in an x made of tape.

I have an extremely good memory for things that annoy me and a significantly worse memory for things that don’t. It’s harder for me to recall the taste of the best meal that I’ve ever had than it is to remember that time someone was rude to me. I don’t think this is unusual, but shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t it be easier for us to remember all the things that make us happy than all the things that have ever made us miserable?

I’m sure there’s some kind of biological purpose to this, like that negative emotions are a lesson learned. But what lesson did I learn from someone being rude? That sometimes people are rude? I already know that from every other negative memory I have of similar events.

I don’t think I can overcome the ease of remembering negative things, but I can spend more time trying to cultivate the positive. Photos, journaling, taking time to really think about what I’m experiencing as I experience it. I’m not always good at this, but instead of remembering how I fail, maybe I can remember how I keep trying.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

HYPERMNESIA

(n.) from Greek  hyper, for “over, beyond, excess,” and –mnesia, likely from amnesia, “memory”

An uncanny or unusual ability to remember things, often stemming from trauma or use of narcotics. 

It started when he was young. Children invent stories, overhear things—but he was punished, and learned to keep his mouth shut about the things he remembered, things he had no business knowing. As he grew older and learned that his parents dealt outside the law, he stopped speaking altogether. Better to have a tongue and not use it than to lose his head entirely.

But a slip here and there could make money. People paid well for information, and even better to keep you silent. With a million secrets locked behind his tongue, he was the richest man on earth.

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