How Ian Holm Saved Me From Alzheimer’s

June 15, 2011

Film, Humor

Last night there was a major breakthrough in the battle against Alzheimers.  What?  No, there isn’t some new medicine, or the announcement that we all now need to eat six pounds of asparagus a day, or anything like that.  Come on.  No, no, what happened was, I was able to remember the name of the actor who played Bilbo in Lord of the Rings, and Napoleon in Time Bandits.

Phew, I know, right?

Sure, you knew that.

Ian Holm, by the way.

So what brought this on?  Well, the other day I was on a long drive.  I had to transport M and a couple friends up to the Portland airport, which is about three, three and a half hours away.  Why, one might wonder, would we go to an airport three hours away instead of the airport about twenty-five minutes away?  Because sometimes the Internet is an awful, awful place.

Anyway, I got very little sleep the night before, drove everyone up, turned around and was headed back.  About two hours in to the return trip, I was muttering to myself about how many more towns there were to drive through before I was home, when suddenly… I couldn’t remember the name of the little, tiny town coming up.  Total blank.  Now, a less prudent individual might have simply thought, “Wow, I’m tired and have been driving all day.”  But luckily, I was able to recognize that obviously, I was getting very OLD, and my brain was starting to turn in to OATMEAL.

I became very, very determined to remember the name of this town.  It was a mission.  This town is not hidden in a hole, it isn’t somewhere I’ve never been – I really, really know the name of this town.  But it was a total blank.

I tried my usual trick for remember something – which has never worked, ever, not even once – which basically involves pushing really hard, as though my brain needs to excrete the elusive term, and/or saying things like, “Now that I’ve passed through Madras, I sure hope I can remember this word before I get to the next town of… ggggg… nnnn…bbbb… DAMN IT!”

Oh, thanks a lot, brain.

The best I could come up with was “Antler” which I knew was my brain just taking pity on me and throwing me something.  Antler.  Come on.  That’s almost worse.  You can practically hear the conversation.

Me: Come on, grandkids, we’re going to Smith Rock out in Antler.

Grandchild 1: There’s no town called Antler, grampa.

Me: What?? What happened to Antler?  Was it terrorists??

Grandchild 2: I think you mean the town of –

Me: Duck and cover, kids!  You hide while grampa gets his ammunition and banana bread!

Grandchild 2: You mean shotgun?

Me: Shotgun? Right! That’s what I meant!  My shotgun!  Got to protect the banana bread from the terrorists!

Grandchild 1:  When can we go home, grampa?

"This one's for the people of Antler, you Al-Qaeda sumbitches! Come on, I'll give you both barrels!"

So I wasn’t able to come up with the name of the town.  Failure.  Ignominous.  Heart-breaking.  As I passed in to the town’s limits and saw the “welcome to” sign, I felt defeated.

The name of the town, it turned out, was “Ian Holm.”  I kid, I kid.  It was “Terrebonne.”  Sure, anTlER/TERrebonne, but that’s pretty desperate as far as attributing logic to my brain’s process.

Since then, I’ve been assigning every pause and hesitation in remembering a word or name as signs that I’m falling apart by the moment. So, last night a friend and I went and saw that ‘One Night Only’ theatrical re-release of Fellowship of the Ring. On the way home I was trying to remember the name of the guy who plays Bilbo.  To no avail, I tried my usual trick – “He was also in AlienAlien came out in 1979.  It starred Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton and… vvvv… ssss… rrrrr… DAMN IT!”  (it apparently didn’t comfort me that I remembered everyone else who was in the film).

Then, of course, I did what you’re supposed to do, and thought about something else for a moment and, like magic, “Holmes… Holm!  IAN HOLM!”  And there was much celebration between me and my brain.

And so I’m feeling much better now, doing crossword puzzles and eating six pounds of asparagus, just in case, but feeling much more confident. And so long as I don’t forget anything ever again as long as I live, I shall remain calm.  As calm as… that guy… the guy who sits there smiling… he’s wise, it’s eastern… the Dalai Lama is the reincarnated form of this person called… thththhth… fffff….llll…

Lunch time! Now... where's my crossword?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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17 Comments on “How Ian Holm Saved Me From Alzheimer’s”

  1. Margie Says:

    My dad gets upset with himself when he can’t remember the name of the town where he saw something or other in 1942… I tell him it is okay, his hard drive is full and his computer is selectively deleting things it doesn’t really need. I tell him that as long as he can remember how to get home from the grocery store, and knows who the women is who lives with him, he is doing okay.


  2. Blogdramedy Says:

    You may be losing your mind but you’re still charmingly good looking.

    You are who I think you are…aren’t you? Bruce? Brian? Maybe you need to pass me some of that stringy looking stuff you’re eating.


    • Byron MacLymont Says:

      Hm, so maybe I can give people some suave wink and smile and they’ll think my weird memory lapses/ word substitutions are the latest slang? Soon all the kids will be losing their keys on purpose and saying “dinosaur” instead of “lunch”? Excellent.

      And, you know, I actually had a moment as I was writing when I thought, what if someone does a google search in a desperate attempt to help someone who’s developing Alzheimer’s, and winds up force-feeding them asparagus? So, let me state here: Kids, don’t try this at home. Asparagus’s healing powers are purely for comedic purposes.


  3. truthspew Says:

    The worst is when you go to use a word and it pops out of your head. That annoys the ever loving crap out of me.


    • Byron MacLymont Says:

      Especially because it’s always mid-sentence. You can’t even decide to just not say anything. It’s always in the midst of trying to sound smart, like: “You know, the problem I have with laissez-faire economics isn’t the core elements of Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” per se, but rather that when one tries to spend… um… that stuff… it folds… you exchange it for goods and services… there are presidents on it… damn it…”


  4. cassiebehle Says:

    This blog gave me a case of the giggles, and quite honestly, I would have been satisfied with just a 12-pack.


  5. the worlds of me graves Says:

    It reminds me of when I forget something. When I remember it, I tend to shout out the word, too. Of course, a lot of times, the time I remember it tends to be at 1:30 in the morning, and I jolt out of sleep and shout out a random word like “effervescent”.

    Or, not getting a joke until the next day, and then laughing at an inappropriate time, say, when my boss is talking about the increased security threats in Morocco.


    • Byron MacLymont Says:

      Maybe your boss will think you’re incredibly courageous? Laughing in the face of danger? That might be overly optimistic.

      I’ve definitely done the “Blast out a random word/name/title” thing a few times myself. The 1:30am element could make it tougher to casually pass off, though, especially if you don’t live alone and the word you remembered is, like “burglar” or “inferno.”


  6. Byron MacLymont Says:

    Yeah, that’s Antelope you’re thinking of, I suspect. Where the Rajneesh cult set up in the early-80’s. That could be the connnection my brain was trying to make – little, high-desert town with something significant? Antelope & the Rajneesh; Terrebonne & Smith Rocks? Hm. No, I’m going to back to random word by my brain…

    Thanks, though. If there was a town called “Antler” I’d feel better and my brain could say ‘I told you so’ and feel smug.


  7. S. Trevor Swenson Says:

    Great blog and something I think many of us over 30 can relate to. Plus I am a huge fan of Ian Holm. I am surprised he isn;t being cast as Bilbo in The Hobbit film due in 2012


    • Byron MacLymont Says:

      I think I read that Holm will have a small part as “Old Bilbo”, probably writing the story or narrating. Martin Freeman is great, but I’d have liked to see Holm again, too.


  8. The Good Greatsby Says:

    I never anticipated Ian Holm would become such an inspirational figure.


  9. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife Says:

    This is so funny, and reminds me of my Mom. She is the most forgetful person I know, and having a conversation with her is a game of fill-in-the-blanks. Also, she used to try and get my sister and I to love the movie Time Bandits, and it was awful. Awful waffle.


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