That Thing You Do

“Hey, thanks for that thing the other day,” she says to me as I’m standing in the hallway.

I flash an uncomfortable smile as she follows me onto the elevator. I quickly pop in my headphones so I can buy myself some time.

Thanks for that thing? What thing? Which other day?

I have absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. This has been happening to me a lot lately. Absentmindedness. Disorganization. Conversations and events all becoming blurry outlines, like trying to recall the details of a dream.

Lately, I’ll leave people voicemails, and when they call me back a day later, I have no recollection of why I called them. So now, I mostly send emails to give me a written record of what I so desperately needed from them.

It started to worry me a bit, but then I read this article about brain decline, and I realized that it’s not my fault.

According to this study, my mental powers peaked at age 22, and now, only hours away from turning 38, apparently the only thing I have left to look forward to is being able to retain my vocabulary until I hit 60. After that, people should expect nothing more from me than rhythmic tongue clucking.

Back on the elevator, I pretend to busy myself with my iPod but really I’m racing through my mental archives to unearth some memory of what I possibly could have done for this woman.


It was something she needed. Something important enough for her to make a point of mentioning it again. I must have gone out of my way. Probably wasn’t even my responsibility.

For that thing.

A sales report maybe? An article on a competitor, perhaps. Did I do a research project for her? That’s what we have a research department for. I don’t report to her – why is she giving me busy work?

The other day.

So it couldn’t have been yesterday, or she would’ve said yesterday. That means it was probably last week. Maybe even longer. Was this from February? And she’s just now getting around to thanking me?
So I bust my ass to pull together a huge research project for her – which isn’t even part of my job description, by the way – and clearly must have gotten it to her in record time, or she wouldn’t have been smiling, and all it warrants is a hallway thanks? This is bullshit. Utter bullshit. I’m telling you right now – I know I’ve probably said it before, but this time I mean it – this is absolutely the last time I do a thing for her.

18 Responses to “That Thing You Do”

  1. claire Says:

    Well, what I take from that is:
    Have an absolutely FRAKKIN’ AWESOME Birthday!!!

  2. claire Says:

    p.s. it’s after midnight here, so I’m going to start celebrating your bday right now.
    I try to avoid snacking post-midnight these days, but for a special occasion, I’ll make an exception. Perhaps a smoothie shot and… ooh… a few dark chocolate-dipped almonds dusted with black cocoa from Trader Joe’s. And maybe a little Twix bar. I love your birthday!

  3. brandon Says:

    as a woman ages, her body releases more and more of a hormone known as rohypnol which results in a craving for COUG MEAT. aww yeah
    happy b

  4. Dave2 Says:

    What a total bitch! Next time you should TOTALLY do all her work, but this time mess it all up so her ungrateful ass gets FIRED! w00t! Revenge for imagined slights are a dish best served with rohypnol.
    And happy birthday. :-)

  5. jenny Says:

    claire: thanks… it is (almost) my birthday. T minus 4 minutes. but why are you eating way better treats than me? i need to go find a twix, pronto!
    brandon: i’ve felt something changing inside of me lately, just like in that afterschool special. [runs to couch to sharpen claws]
    dave2: thanks! that’s the best plan i’ve heard all day. i think. i can’t really remember.

  6. eric Says:

    ah, such beautiful logic. i love it, need to incorporate that more into my daily life.
    i’m sure the memory lapses have nothing to do with tequilacons-past or any sort of sleep deprivation. maybe combine those, go on an all-night bender (in celebration of your birthday?), and see if that helps things. :-) must be nice to have an extra reason to drink around St. Patty’s day!
    have a good one!

  7. vahid Says:

    It’s finally the 18th in my timezone, so on behalf of the west coast I’d like to officially say: HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNY!

  8. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    Brain power peaks at 22? God, that is such horseshit. These brainy 22-year olds in the PhD program with me can take the hell out of a test, but ask them to do something involving life skills and they start running into walls and weeping openly. Studies like this make me want to walk down the hall and punch a neurologist.
    Happy birthday, homegirl!

  9. David Says:

    Hey there,
    I have another theory: perhaps this lady of yours is completely jealous about your still amazing mental prowess, so she’s trying to destabilize you. I have a bunch of people around me having a go on that. But they will not succeed, oh no Admiral, they won’t…
    Great blog. I’ll be visiting :)

  10. Karl Says:

    Happy Birthday!

  11. Carrington Vanston Says:

    Happy Birthday to my favorite as-yet-long-unmet (but-will-meet-soon-at-TequilaCon) blogger!

    It’s not that I forgot to get you a present. Oh no, nothing like that at all. I have it right here on me. It’s, um… it’s a video of an adorable otter:

    Yeah, um, right, I fed that otter in HONOR of your birthday. Heck, I almost claimed it in your name, and was going to smuggle it a swimming route map so it could get to you, but then I thought about the cost of otter food. Which probably is much more than cat food, because otters each using the metric system. Or something like that. I wasn’t really paying attention to be honest. Anyway, best just to look at its cuteness and move on. Move on, Jenny. You can’t dwell on the past.

    Besides, my long-past-22 brain has essentially atrophied so even just this birthday comment is probably more than either of us should have reasonably expected from me. Next year I’ll just be banging my head against the keyboard and grunting. (At least I’ll still fit in on the Internet.)

    Happy Back On The Side Of The Sun You Started On Day.

  12. shari Says:

    I love birthdays! Especially yours, because: a) I think you’re awesome and any day that can be responsible for bringing you to the planet has to be the best day ever; and b) as long as it’s your birthday, it’s NOT MINE! Hooray!
    Hope you have a dram of single malt to celebrate this lovely day, and I’ll have one over here to celebrate with you. Cheers!!

  13. tori Says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I have a sucky memory but I blame it on my kids. I say they sucked my brain cells out when I had them.

  14. jenny Says:

    eric: i’m definitely going to take your advice!
    vahid: thanks! give it up for the west side!
    sir: when *don’t* i want to punch a neurologist? this just gives me one more reason.
    david: OMG – you’re totally right! she’s trying to gaslight me! thank you!
    karl: thanks, karl!
    carrington: wait… are you *really* coming to Tcon, or are you just trying to trick me like all those other years?
    shari: i opted for red wine, but there will definitely be scotch in my future. thanks!
    tori: thank you! see… at least you have the kids to blame!

  15. churlita Says:

    Oops. It sounds like I missed your birthday. I hope you had so much fun that you forgot what you did. Wait. According to this post, you don’t have to have that much fun to forget what you did. So, I hope you had a ton of fun, and remembered it this time – just for something different.

  16. carrington Vanston Says:

    Well, of course I’m *trying* to trick you, because I am mischievous in a dashing rogue sort of way. But in this case, I’ve got a flight already booked so if I trick you I also trick me. How’s that old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, still shame on you. Fool me three or more times, hey quit it with the fooling. Something like that. I was never good with adages.

  17. Cheryl Says:

    I think the most obvious explanation is that you have a doppelganger. A Jenny clone who’s running around making phone calls and doing favors for people. Just be glad she’s helpful, not evil.

  18. Jen&HerBoat Says:

    Ahh! Happy Jenbirthday! (These are much more special than regular me.)
    I’m coming up on 40 this year and… I should tell you… oh… well, I’m sure it’ll come back to me. Maybe at 3 am.

Leave a Reply