Frank Mulligan: To the best of my recollection ...
My dad once told me, “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached.”
I can’t remember what prompted the remark.
He actually may have used it to characterize his eldest child more than once.
But I can’t recall.
Still, over the years there have been incidents that tend to bolster this assessment.
I have cooked Hamburger Helper Lasagna several hundred times in my life, for instance. Yet, the other night I still found myself referring to the back of the box for the instructions and the reminder to “reduce heat, cover and simmer about 14 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender …”
That’s why I viewed with some trepidation the announcement that the branch of the bank I frequent on Saturdays would be closed.
The announcement was printed two weeks in advance. Since I go to this bank almost daily, this gave me roughly 13 days of advance warning. But I knew it wouldn’t be enough. I even told the nice tellers who work at this branch, “You know, I’m going to forget this.”
One recommended I affix the notice to my dashboard, the written equivalent of tying a string around my finger or attaching my mittens to my jacket.
It was good advice that I failed to heed.
I did employ a variation of her suggestion, though, and pinned the notice to the wall of my cubicle at work, where it joined the several hundred other written reminders pinned there that vie for my attention.
One from December 2006 reminds me of the user name and password for a site to download photos, which would have been useful two months ago when I forgot the password.
But I forgot the reminder was pinned to my cubicle wall.
The reason I was uneasy with this particular branch’s closing was that of the four open on Saturday, it stays open till 1 p.m. The other three close at noon.
I imagined that I would forget this branch was closed until precisely 12:01 p.m.
Then it would be off to the supermarket change counter with a bagful of pennies and the neurotic conviction that I was being viewed with derision by shoppers more prosperous than I.
Well, in the sort of self-fulfilling prophecy that makes Greek tragedy such fun, I noted to myself from a leisurely perch on the couch circa 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, that I’d have to go to the bank branch that remains open until 1 p.m. unless I got a move on.
No worries, I thought with all the vitality of a three-toed sloth. I’ll just go to that branch.
Then free association set in.
Hmmm, go to bank, get money, go to office, get some work done, what to do at office, lists of things to do, cubicle wall with reminders … one of which is that the bank open until 1 p.m. “will be closed on Saturday, March 21, due to renovations.”
Unlike Greek tragedy, however, the story has a happy ending. I made it to the drive-through window with a full 47 seconds to spare.
My bagful of pennies remains in the cupboard.
I’m just glad I have a neck.
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media Service’s Raynham, Mass., office and can be reached at email@example.com