Thursday, September 18, 2008


One Sunday, several years ago I attended my sister's Ward so I could be there for the blessing of my niece. It was a nice day and most of my family and extended family were there. After the service one of my in-laws stopped me and told me that she knew of a company that was hiring technicians. On her suggestion I applied and was accepted at the company that I now work for. I remember this event very clearly. It was very important to me both because it was my sister's first child and it was the because it is the moment that changed my career path from barely scraping by at REI to becoming and engineer for AT&T.
But there is one big problem. In spite of how my brain remembers it it simply couldn't have happened. You see my niece is only 8 years old now and I've been working at this job for 9 1/2 years. How could I have more seniority at this company than my niece has on this Earth if her birth proceeded my employment there?
In the past couple years I've been studying quite a bit about false memories and how fluid our memories actually are. Our brain is not the running video of our lives that we'd sure like it to be. Instead it grabs emotions and concepts and sometimes it links event by the emotions and feeling felt and combines them into the same event. This little trick of our brain has caused people to even confess to crimes that they didn't commit. When I first read about this phenomenon I didn't quite believe it. Perhaps just like everybody thinks they are better drives than the rest of the world, I thought that I was a better "rememberer" than everybody else. This memory of my niece's blessing has forced me to reconsider how fallible my memory actually is.
Logically I have come to the conclusion that I had gone to my sister's Ward a second time, a few years before my niece was born and that was when I got the tip about the new job. I can't for the life of me figure out why I would have been there, but I'd be willing to bet that since I forgot why my brain filled in the blanks by combining the two trips and now I remember then as just one event. Even though I know they could not have happened as one event I still can't separate the two.
Just something to consider the next time you take a stand and are absolutely positive that something happened exactly the way you remember it.


  1. So does this mean we can go back to disagreeing about when our first day actually happened? ;)

  2. I don't think those events are actually in dispute. The dispute was just over the semantics of what each of us defines as a "date".

  3. Does it ruin your post if I tell you Rebecca is 9? But you are right that you were already working as an engineer because you and your partner came to the house in your work truck to see her. But now I'll be racking my brain to figure out what other reason you may have been at my ward.

  4. Dr. Who could figure it out. Heck, I'll bet he was even there with the Tardis. Ask Eve.