I’ve been thinking about how I’ve never seen any good movies or TV shows where someone loses their memory. Sure, every once in a while, a series will have a standalone episode where a main character comes down with what appears to be a permanent case of amnesia. They struggle to face the world, which they no longer recall, all while being guided back to some sense of normalcy by friends and family members constantly trying to free their memories. But then just as the situation looks all but incurable, just as the whole cast makes amends with their new situations in life, the memory loss is reversed – “Oh I’m sorry,” the doctor might say, “I was looking at the wrong CAT scans. You’re going to be fine!” – and never mentioned again in any subsequent episodes.
No, I want to see a TV show where a main character loses their memory, but it doesn’t come back at the end, and it becomes a reoccurring theme as the series goes on. I find it pretty hard to believe that nobody’s come up with this already. Just imagine how much longer a tired and stale series could be kept going. Right now I’m picturing Dwight from The Office becoming an amnesiac but somehow still keeping his job as a paper salesman. Everyone could play all of the same pranks on him from earlier seasons, and even though we would all know the expected outcomes, Dwight would fall for everything all over again as if it were the first time he were getting tricked. It would be hilarious. If they rotate cast members, or just give a new cast member amnesia every season, they can theoretically keep the show going indefinitely. I really wish I had some connections in show business.
Sometimes I wish I could experience amnesia, but only for a little bit. I would really love to be able to go to work and not just automatically run through my day like a mindless robot without ever even thinking about what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Maybe I would be fascinated by my surroundings. Maybe I’ll go to work tomorrow and just pretend that I have amnesia. Customers will ask me if we have Coke or Pepsi products and I’ll just answer back, “Coke? Pep … si? What are these strange words you speak of sir?” And my customers will feel so bad for me that they’ll leave me great tips. And my boss will feel so bad for me she’ll give me paid sick leave. And my coworkers will miss me so badly that they won’t know what to do with themselves. But then when I return from my sick leave, I’ll just pretend like the whole thing never happened. I’ll act all confused, “What amnesia?” but then theorize that I must have gotten another case of amnesia, but this amnesia made me forget all about the first amnesia, thus having a weird sort of paradox effect, returning me back to normal.
I hope that in the future we can temporarily induce amnesia for anyone willing to pay for the experience. I’m envisioning clubs where people might go and spend some money to forget about their lives for a while. There’s going to be this great game that people play, where two friends or a couple go into a room. One of them has had their memory temporarily wiped, but the other person, who actually retains their memory, will act as if theirs had been erased also. The point of the game is that a group of the couple’s friends will be watching the whole interaction either from some sort of a live feed, or maybe right there behind a two-way mirror. As the two people in the room act all confused, the group of friends will all be taking bets trying to figure out which one has amnesia and which one is faking it.
Now that I’m thinking about this, now that I’m actually writing it out and describing it, it sounds like a lot of fun for everyone involved, except the person who has actual amnesia. For that person, it sounds like a very confusing, very harrowing experience. I’m sure they’ll get some sort of a discount. But then couldn’t they just check their receipts to see who paid more and thus end the game really early? Oh wait, amnesia, duh, they would have forgotten all about the receipts. Well, the real amnesiac anyway. The other person will just have to pretend. Have I made this clear enough? I’m reading it back and now I’m wondering if all of this talk about memory loss hasn’t triggered in me some sort of temporary self-induced amnesia, because I’m feeling a lot more confused now than I usually am when I’m writing these things. But that sounds a little dramatic. I think I can remember everything. Except for like years zero through three of my life. I don’t remember those at all. No memories of getting breast-fed, which is probably good, because those would be weird memories to carry throughout life. But that still sounds like classic amnesia to me. That counts, right?
I think the best amnesia anyone could ever hope to come down with would be a type of very selective amnesia that comes and goes in waves. “Rob, did you remember to take the garbage out?” “What? Who are you?” Stuff like that. But then ten minutes later it will have passed and I’ll remember that The Walking Dead is going to be on in half an hour. And when it comes on it would be all like, “Rob, you promised we’d watch Glee tonight!” And I’ll just say, “Where am I? I’m so confused!” I’m making it sound like I’d just be this huge dick, but it would really be a serious medical condition, worthy of everyone’s sincere sympathy.