Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

They swear it does, but I’m just not sure.  I guess I have to proceed assuming it will.  After all, if it doesn’t balance out, I certainly won’t be aware of it.  Or much of anything else, probably.  My youngest son says I need to be nice to him because he’ll pick out my nursing home.  I say “give it your best shot.  I’m not going to know.”

Reports promise that the more we study and learn new things and the more we read, the less likely it is that we’ll suffer dementia. You may disagree with me and wonder if I can find my own way to the bathroom.  But, I’m not sure it matters what you do.  I don’t think the apple strays too far from the gene pool.  If you come from a family plagued with high blood pressure, you better buy stock in oatmeal.  If your tree has a solid history of dementia as family age, then I say don’t sign up for any long-term education courses in those golden years.  And, please, don’t take a trip by yourself.

However, when “they” said reading improves your chances of keeping mentally sharp, I planned 10 trips a day to the library. We read a lot.  A really lot.   (I won’t share with you my reaction when they said daily consumption of wine strengthens your heart.  Let’s just say mine is preparing for a marathon.)

We also like to experience new things. Friends recommended a wonderful DVD course in classical art that consists of 40 30-minute programs.  We love it.  Our biggest issue, it seems, is remembering where we store the DVDs.

If you follow the theories of the studies, with all our cranial activities, we should be on the A-team of memory-loss-fighters.

But, I’m not convinced.  I seem to have encountered a pattern that refutes the studies.  When I learn something new, I’m likely to forget something else.  If you learn to paint but forget where you put the brushes, then I’m not sure you’re ahead of the game.  If you read two books a week but have trouble not mixing up the plots later, then maybe you need to rethink this.  I read a British mystery and an American historical novel and told a neighbor that I’d just finished a book about George Washington being murdered in an English garden by the family butler.  He said he hadn't heard that.  I recently studied the Italian language, but forgot where I was traveling.  Go figure.

So back to the art course.   I ‘m doing better with that.  After watching the lesson on Northern Renaissance art, Brenda asked me which artist from the series I liked best.  It was so comforting to be able to discuss the classics n such an intellectual light.  “The short fat painter with the goatee who painted the picture of the woman wearing a red dress in the room with blue and green wallpaper.”  “That’s not what I meant,” she said.  “What was his name?”  “Name?,” I countered.  “You know that!  My name is Bob.”

Date of Blog Story: 
March 24, 2010

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