Monday, November 27, 2006

The Memory Pill

Gamey smelling turkey leftover in the fridge, a few pieces of pie still lying on the bottom shelf and a few pumpkins left over from Halloween still sitting in the same spot. I need to throw them out. There’s an eerie calmness after a holiday. On Thanksgiving, it’s more of a tranquil feeling. There’s still an exciting energy due to the next holidays coming up. Is it excitement or anxiety? I’m not sure.

Wayworn travelers cluttered bumper-to-bumper on the freeways trying to make it back home from relatives’ houses and/or shopping sprees grumble and honk their horns at other motorists, fearing never getting to their destinations. Department stores packed with agitated shoppers and their toddlers screaming and crying begin to settle on your last nerve.

“I need a drink.”
“Okay, let’s head to ‘Friday’s’ for a cocktail.” Amy suggests.

We head over to the big square bar that wrapped itself almost around the entire room. The tables on the side were filled up with overtired and hungry people guarding their shopping bags with their life.

“What kind of pinot noir do you have?” I ask the bartender, hoping to find one I preferred.
“We have a really nice pinot grigio that you may like.”
“No. Any pinot noirs—wait—what red wines do you carry?”
“Oh, cabernet or merlot.”
“Cabernet please.” I said, exhausted from thinking. Amy looked over at me after she ordered a nice easy Amstel Light. She didn’t want to bother boggling the mind of a young eighteen year old who didn’t know a thing about wine. Beer was her thing. Shots were her specialty. Besides, who orders wine at a chain restaurant? Surprisingly, the young bartender brought over a huge beautiful goblet of cabernet…which was actually pretty good. It wasn’t pure vinegar.

Five fish bowl goblets of red wine and two trips to the loo later, thoughts of the past started sinking in. Each Christmas holiday is different for me. As I grow older, I’ve noticed that my relationships with people change somewhat, my location of celebration alters, as well as my attitude towards the holiday itself- it’s become a huge business. The whole meaning of “Christ”mas is lost, due to pressures of gifts and what to get who this year. It should be much like Thanksgiving- family and friends getting together with good cocktails and delicious foods. We also think about those we lost in the past, who have celebrated Christmas with us many times before. It makes you think of who else we’ll lose.

The holidays start becoming more of a reminder of who and what we lost during the course of our lives. People become angry, sad and depressed over the holiday, instead of happy, jovial and appreciative. I’m trying to keep that “holiday spirit’ in check, but it’s hard when you have things to remind you each time you do something to celebrate. During this time, there are more suicides and suicide attempts. People tend to be more depressed. Is it because of their memories? It’s not necessarily bad memories that make them depressed. It’s the good memories too, that make them long for the good ol' days. “Christmas won’t be the same without him/her…” Whether through a break up or a death, it still hurts knowing that special someone won’t be there this year. Divorces are especially hard when it comes to the kids. Who do they spend it with? Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas day with the other? I’m not sure how the other holidays are sort out as far as dates go, so that’s why I’m referring to Christmas right now. It’s what I know.

They recently just came out with ‘the memory pill’. This pill is known to erase tragic events that took place, and can erase unwanted memories. There’s a huge debate about it. One debate explains that it may decrease our learning capabilities. For instance, if you make a fool out of yourself at a party, you can erase that memory and forget about it. But what about the learning process behind it? It’ll make you remember what you did, leaving you to only do what’s best…to not do that again. It makes sense. But then you have the debate, where a woman was tragically raped. It replays over and over inside her head. They showed this on 20/20 last night. She has been living with this horrific memory for thirty years! They gave her the pill, and it detached the emotions that went with the memory. So now, whenever her husband goes near her, she doesn’t hesitate or become distant. She is so thankful for this pill.

Researchers believe that if they do put this out on the market, people will get doctors to sign a prescription for those who are lying about a certain memory. Instead, they wipe out a tragic thing that they did themselves. What if a pedophile can’t resist his/her temptation, and completely wipes out the memory of their crime so they don’t feel guilty? What about in court, when the person can’t remember the crime they committed and on the lie detector it shows they were telling the truth, only because they can’t remember it anymore due to this “wonder pill”?

Our memories are there for a reason. If we don’t go through certain things, like bad relationships, rough break ups, deaths, losing a job or any other negative experience, how are we supposed to handle things in the future better? It would be as though we were going through it for the first time. And remember our first time in a bad break up? Remember our first relationships? I know for me, I have learned a whole lot about myself through bad relationships and what I “wouldn’t” do today. I personally feel that this memory pill is not only dangerous, but it’ll make us na├»ve and careless in life.

Your thoughts?