Ya, being in the twilight years leads to memory lapses of biblical proportions. Like parking the car at the mall and having my kids find my way back to it! Or, talking to someone with these gems, "you know" the "watch-you-may-call-it", "what his name had one, I think or maybe it was that guy from that there place over by, well you know what I mean!"
Seems like I have a mind like seive!
Mind Like A SieveMan, I don't believe it. How could I do it... again.
I'm beginning to believe what they're saying about me. You know, that I'd forget my head if it weren't attached. The way this school bus is vibrating, I'm sure my head is about to pop off anyway.
You see, it's all very clear in my mind. I see my black binder, crammed with loose-leaf paper, buried at the bottom of my locker. My science homework screams to a deserted corridor. "Help! Let me out! Jacob forgot me again!"
I guess I'll just have to face the music when I get home. For now, I'll turn up the volume on my CD player and blast some alternative music into my brain. Dad says these tunes will turn my brain to mush. Well, at this volume, I'm working on porridge. I close my eyes and silently mouth the words to the song.
"Hey, Jake!" A muffled voice breaks my concentration.
I feel a warm body at my side. I open my eyes to see that B.J. has slid over to sit with me.
"Hey, B.J.!" I shout.
"Turn the volume down, Jake," B.J. smiles. "You're screaming at me."
Flipping up the left side of my earphones, I roll my eyes and smile. B.J. Jackson is my best friend. We've been friends ever since we did a volcano project in the fifth grade.
"What's up?" I ask.
"Found a new fishing spot last night, Jake." His eyes glisten with excitement. "Caught four lunker bass. All keepers!"
I slide my headphones over the back of my head to hang around my neck. I'm thinking about that new fishing tackle I bought with my chore money. One hundred and fifty dollars of pure fishing machine. Three months of slugging bales of hay on my uncle's farm have financed a lot of our adventures. I've been aching to try out my new gear. B.J and I are fishing fanatics.
"Hey, Jake, maybe we could get your dad to drive us there after supper?" B'J.'s hands are on my shoulders. He's shaking me gently. I know he's concerned about the blank expression on my face.
"Can't," I blurt.
"Geez, you're grounded, again?"
"Will be," I whisper. "Forgot my science assignment."
B.J.'s face transforms from a beaming Ace Ventura clone into a fiendish Count Dracula. His hands flop to his sides.
"I thought you wrote a reminder on the back of your hand."
"Did that," I respond. "But that wasn't the problem."
"What then?" B.J.'s expression mirrors his confusion.
"Brain freeze." I sigh.
"Brain what?" B.J. asks.
"I forgot my locker combo. My brain went completely blank." I knew B.J. would appreciate this one. My words gush out like water from a garden hose. "I was thinking of calling Jennifer tonight after she winked at me last period. Mr. Campbell blasted me for daydreaming. Kept me back for a mini-lecture. I knew I'd be late for the bus. Then zap, instant brain freeze. Couldn't get my locker open."
"Been there, done that." B.J. says, nodding his head. "You're toast ain't ya?"
"Ya, my Dad says I have a mind like a sieve," I say with a sigh.
All I could do was sit there with a smirk on my face. I felt as low as a slug in a rainstorm. Life as a fourteen year old certainly has its ups and downs.
"Hey, Jake, you got anything to eat in your book bag?" B.J. breaks the silence. He knows the thought of food usually brings me out of my doldrums. My stomach grumbles it's approval.
"Ya, I've got some cheese sticks left over from lunch." I reply.
"What are you waiting for? Let's chow down!"
I quickly unzip my book bag. Reaching inside, I'm careful not to dig too deep. You never know what decomposing lunchable might be found in a dark corner of my bag. I hand B.J. a cheese stick and dig in for another treasure. I feel something unfamiliar. Whatever it is, it makes a crackling sound when I push on it. Could it be paper?
"B.J., B.J.!" I shout. "I did remember."
"Remember what?" The cheese stick protrudes from the corner of his mouth.
"My science homework!" Triumphantly I hold up the crumpled piece of paper.
"Awesome!" B.J. says. His body language has gone fishing written all over it.
"Man, I even forgot that I remembered to remember." I try to explain. "Must of stuffed this in my bag the first thing this morning."
"Whoa, baby!" B'J' screams.
We both jump from our seat and whoop a collective, "Yes!"
The high fives become infectious. We slouch in our seats muffling our guffaws with our hands. No sense putting the bus driver on red alert. With a sudden lurch, the bus screeches to a halt.
"My stop," I announce. I slap the back of B.J.'s head with the back of my hand. "Coming off with me?"
"Why not," he replies. I know he wants me to ask Dad the big question. Will it be fish, or no fish?
We scramble up the aisle to the beat of familiar catcalls from our friends. I'm feeling positively flushed. Yes, mark this down as one great victory for The Sieve. As we bound down the steps of the bus I see that my father is up to his usual after work antics. He's down on his knees yanking the tiniest weeds from the flower garden.
"Hey, Dad," I call. I suspect that he'll pounce all over my after last nights lecture. My hand clutches the homework paper deep in my pocket. I'm armed and ready.
"Oh, hi there, Jake," he replies. "Good to see you, B.J."
The deep pools of my father’s eyes tell me that he is reaching for something deep inside his cranium. I use this pause to my advantage.
"Think you could drive us over to the Eighth Concession after supper?" I'm full of confidence now. "B.J. says there's some awesome bass in the pond out there."
"Oh, sure, no problem." The strained look on his face is familiar. I know exactly what he's thinking. He knows there's something he needs to ask me, but he doesn't remember what it is. I slip my hand out of my pocket. The assignment stays put.
"Thanks, Dad," I say. B.J.'s expression is all raised eyebrows.
"What about the homework then?" he whispers as we slip away up the sidewalk.
"He forgot about it." I'm all smiles as we walk past the corner of the house."I'll get it done before we head out."
"Man, seems like forgetting runs in your family." B.J.'s grin is humongous.
"Seems so," I reply. "It's like losing your hair. We could call it male pattern forgetfulness."
"Oh, geez!" B.J. slides to a stop.
"What's up?" I ask. B.J.'s expression mirrors my Dad's. His deadpan look spells trouble.
"I can't go fishing tonight," he says. "I forgot that I've got a baseball practice at six."
"Mind like a sieve, eh?" I say with a chuckle.
"Seems so," B.J. sighs.