Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thanks (?) For the Memories

That Marilu Henner---she remembers everything.

No, really---she does.

The actress Henner, 60, is one of 12 people on this planet who has been diagnosed with hyperthymesia, which has nothing to do with temperature, though it sounds like it does.

It has to do with memory.

Henner can literally recall every day of her life after her baptism. Give her a date, any date, and she can tell you details, no matter how mundane.

A skeptic might say, "Well, how do we know that she's just not making the memories up?"

I think that's a fair question.

But only 11 others have this ability/condition/skill, so there must be some tests that are conducted to prove hyperthymesia exists.

Henner, without hesitation, recalls the day she found out she got the part of Elaine on TV's wildly successful "Taxi."

She tells Inquisitr.com, “It was June 4 of 1978. It was a Sunday and I found out at the ‘Grease’ premiere party. ‘Taxi’ is so vivid to my mind. The very first rehearsal was July the 5th of 1978. That was a Wednesday and our first show was shot the 14th, a Friday.”


Impressive but not unheard of, to recall such a significant moment.

But that's the rub. Those with hyperthymesia can recall every single day of their lives, landmark moment or not.

Henner describes it thusly: Whenever she's given a random date in her life, Henner sees “all these little movie montages, basically on a time continuum, and I’m scrolling through them and flashing through them,” she says.

That either sounds very cool or kinda scary; not sure which.


Elephants have nothing on Henner


Possessing such an iron clad memory would seem to have its downfalls. I don't know if I'd want that many memories clogging my brain, like an overstuffed file cabinet.

But Henner must not mind, because she's eager to talk about it and has written a book, "Total Memory Makeover." In fact, to her, hyperthymesia provides Henner with a sense of self-significance.

“It’s that defense against meaninglessness. I’m not just occupying time.  There’s some significance to what I’m doing and how I’m living my life," she says.

I remember watching actor Ed Begley, Jr. on David Letterman's show years ago and he has the ability to tell you the day of the week of any date in history, within seconds.

Very impressive, but that's mainly a mathematical formula that Begley uses. It's not true memory.

Marilu Henner can recall everything, of everyday of her life. Without fail.

Despite her proclamations to the contrary, I still say, "Better her than me."

After all, Henner can never say that something slipped her mind.

That's too much pressure!

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