My Greatest Fear #63: Forgetting a Number I’ve Always Known

Tell me if something like this has ever happened to you:

A few days ago, I was asked to provide my social security number (don’t worry, it was legit). This is a number I’ve said or typed hundreds of times, and it’s one of the few numbers that I really need to know.

I started to say it, and then I reached the two numbers in the middle…and I totally blanked. Well, “blanked” isn’t the right word. My brain provided me with two numbers to say, but they felt foreign to me. They felt wrong. But that’s all I had, and I didn’t want to sound like I didn’t know my social, so I said them, and it turns out that they were correct.

What in the world happened?! It was odd and scary and I never want that to happen again.

The only other time this has happened was with my phone number. Very similar circumstance: I was in the middle of saying the number, and suddenly the numbers just didn’t seem right. Weird.

These are isolated incidents. But my greatest fear is that these numbers completely vanish from my brain and I can’t recover them. It’s an irrational, unfounded fear…but what if?!

Do you share this fear?

4 Responses to “My Greatest Fear #63: Forgetting a Number I’ve Always Known”

  1. Joe Pilkus says:

    My “fear” comes from incorrectly spelling a word, especially ones that should prove readily accessible to me. Over the past ten years, however, I’ve looked at hundreds of pages of rules, and tens of thousands of words, many spelled incorrectly, that I find myself second guessing the correct spelling at times.

    • TMac says:

      I immediately thought the same thing you did, Joe! Once in a blue moon, I spell a word and either look at it or think about it and it seems utterly foreign in the moment. It’s always a simple word, yet in the moment it feels like something that’d win a spelling bee.

  2. Ángel Vázquez says:

    That happens to me with my phone number, so I always need to check twice after I said it, I never get it wrong but It felt like I did

  3. Cindy says:

    Jamey, with your recent move, I assume you’ve had higher-than-usual stress levels. Stress can definitely affect memory, and chronic stress is particularly harmful to the brain. So, if it ever happens again (hopefully not), consider if it is at a time when you have high stress levels, and maybe you can make a cause-effect connection.

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