MR WRONG: The past tastes sweet, like orange aspirin


MR WRONG: The past tastes sweet, like orange aspirin

MR WRONG: Forgive My Forgetting

HOW’S YOUR MEMORY? Everybody is talking about our 81-year old President of the United States, who has always been a slurry talker and a verbal gaffe factory, and now they’re getting on his case about his memory because he was saying Mexico instead of whatever country he shoulda said, was it Egypt? I can’t remember.

I can’t remember most of the stuff that happened to me in my own life, and I think that’s normal. There are a few people who have what is called a highly superior autobiographical memory, or Hyperthymesia, which is, as Wikipedia teaches us, “a condition that leads people to be able to remember an abnormally large number of their life experiences in vivid detail,” and I think that would make me sad, because I don’t think it’s just the happy stuff that gets abnormally remembered, you know?

American neurobiologists Elizabeth Parker, Larry Cahill, and James McGaugh (2006) identified two defining characteristics of hyperthymesia: spending an excessive amount of time thinking about one's past, and displaying an extraordinary ability to recall specific events from one's past....

On December 19, 2010, actress Marilu Henner was featured on the U.S. television program 60 Minutes for her superior autobiographical memory ability. Henner claimed she could remember almost every day of her life since she was 11 years old.

A highly superior autobiographical memory sounds like a curse, but in honor of having a Memory, this week, in observance of the Internet thing known as Throwback Thursday, where on Thursday you put up something you Remember. I have been meaning to put this photo up for months, but I never remember to do it until Friday. Here is Throwback Thursday photo of me from my real life:

Young Advertising Executive with a Problem

I’m in second grade here, maybe I am eight or nine years old? I can’t tell. I kinda have bags or dark circles under my eyes. Did I pull an all-nighter? I look like a middle-level account executive who’s recovering from a three-martini lunch or is desperately hoping for three-martini luncheon to begin. Look at my eyes, they are dilated! What the hell was I doing in second grade? Was my mom feeding me sedatives? Again, no highly superior autobiographical memory of enjoying any drugs when I was a child except for the time I ate a whole bottle of St. Joseph’s Children’s Aspirin because I had a cold and I wanted to get better real fast, so if one aspirin was good, then all the aspirins in the bottle would get me there rapido! St. Joseph’s Aspirin is now called “low dose,” or “chewable aspirin,” because the whole Children’s angle was some Questionable marketing, but anyway, it has a lovely orange flavor, you know, for kids! Also, my name is Joseph, and I think that might have tempted me in terms of the product providing results for me, fellow-Joseph. I never had a chance!

I am told I had to be taken to the hospital to get my stomach pumped out after my bout of attempted Self Care. I guess so, I don’t remember. I do remember putting a chair next to the kitchen counter and climbing up onto the counter and then getting up to the top cabinet, where the Good Stuff was, and scoring that bottle of aspirin, but I don’t remember what happened after that.

Also: Codeine, yeah, again, a bad racking-cough cold as a child and I was enjoying codeine, cherry-flavored, what’s with all the delicious fruit flavorings in these drugs? The children’s medicines should not taste good! They should at least not taste like anything, you know? I would drink a bottle of codeine right now, just for the dreamy cherry syrupy taste, that I def remember. Also, it made me itch real bad, coming down off that shit. Sorry, I forgot where I was going, back to my Memory!

I have no memory of the day this photo was taken, or anything about the photo. I kinda remember the vest, because I like vests and in my non-photo-session life I would wear one over an undershirt like a cartoon character or something. I don’t recall the tie. What’s odd to me is this was when I was in Catholic school, and if it was a school photo, I woulda been in my blue St. John The Evangelist uniform from the Greene Uniform Co.; blue trousers with a black stripe on the side and a light blue short sleeve button-down shirt and a blue necktie.

If it wasn’t a school photo, that means my mom dressed me up and took me to a photo studio for this picture? I can’t remember, but jeez, was I gonna audition for Willy Loman in a children’s theater performance of Death Of A Salesman? I can see second-grade me yelling

“I got as far as a little above Yonkers. I stopped for a cup of coffee. Maybe it was the coffee. Biff, I’m telling you, Uncle Charley is liked but not well-liked! Where’d I park the car? Furthermore, how’d I even drive it? I don’t have a license, I’m in second grade!” 


I also don’t remember the necktie. When I was in Catholic school I had the same dopey clip-on necktie from 3rd grade to 7th grade, when I got booted from St. John the Evangelist school because Sister Alice didn’t like me. Also, I didn’t like Sister Alice, she was mean. Sister Alice is the first person I ever thought a profoundly bad thing about. A coupla years after I was out of Catholic School, one of the kids from St. John’s told me that Sister Alice had cancer, and I remember thinking “Good, hope she dies.” I’ll never forget thinking that.

The MR. WRONG COLUMN is a general-interest column appearing weekly wherever it can appear. No refunds. Write Wrong:

A featureless, bright blue sky.

New York City, February 14, 2024

★★★ The remains of the snowstorm had hardened up overnight, and even the smallest opening of the window brought in a harsh draft instead of a refreshing air current. Snow boots didn't seem necessary but a wayward sneaker toe immediately stubbed itself on the ice. The sun was high, with some attending cirrus to make it dazzling; the radiant warmth of it was not quite able to offset the frigid air all around. Caution tape kept people clear of the falling-ice zone around the Dakota. Shadows under scaffolding were impenetrably dark. Hands turned sallow in the cold. The wind squeezed a tear from an eye and sent it streaming along the cheek.


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 219: Doing it because it works.

Tom Scocca • Feb 15, 2024


WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of sandwiches from The home-maker's cookbook, containing true and tried recipes, Collected and Published By The Ladies of The Women’s Missionary Society Congregational Church, Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Published in 1924, now in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

1 snappy cheese
1 hard boiled egg
4 pimentos
1 doz. stuffed olives
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup melted butter

Mash cheese and egg yolk, put egg white, olives, and pimentos through chopper and add to cheese and egg yolks; mix well, then add melted butter, salt and pepper.
—Mrs. Fred Roper

Beat one egg. Add small amount of chopped ham and onion. Mix together and turn into a small buttered frying pan; brown on both sides, then place between slices of bread, spread with thin layer of mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
—Andrew Nichols, M. D.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to


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