Strawberry Dreams

There’s something insidious about the Internet. Well, actually, there’s a lot insidious from the threat of identity theft on down. But what I have in mind this time is the way ads stalk you and pop up at the most inconvenient times.

An example: You’ve checked a site that sells fancy dipped strawberries, and in fact have returned several times to the site trying to decide just which fancy dipped strawberries to send as a gift. Then as the never-ending Great Recession continues, you decide to check a site for bankruptcy lawyers, just in case it comes to that. Up pops an ad for fancy dipped strawberries. It is a morality lesson right before your eyes. If you hadn’t spent a lifetime being tempted by such things as fancy dipped strawberries, you would not be possibly in the market for a bankruptcy lawyer.

The morality lesson continues when you switch from looking for a lawyer to checking your email where you find the United Farm Workers urging your support for strawberry workers in California. The workers protested unsafe working conditions and won, the UFW says, but now are being discouraged from unionizing to assure further protection. And I just contributed to their woes by buying those fancy dipped strawberries. So we can add guilt to my sin of avarice.

My daughter explained how those pop-up ads work but my short term memory loss that comes with old age deleted the information almost immediately. Something about cookies, I think, and there are good cookies and bad cookies, unlike in real life where cookies are both good and bad – good tasting but bad for the waistline. But probably very nice with fancy dipped strawberries.

We seniors  ̶  isn’t that a wonderful term? makes you feel like you’re back in high school  ̶  apparently suffer short term memory loss because we don’t get enough sleep. Or the right kind of sleep, the kind that helps store short term memory. A friend sent me a test (on the Internet of course) in which you look at two groups of faces and then report whether you remember ever seeing those faces before and, the hard part, where you’ve seen them. I scored 100 percent on the first part and exactly at the average mark (for old people) on the second. That explains why here in Los Angeles I keep seeing people who look vaguely familiar but can’t tell where I’ve seen them. They could be actors I’ve seen in movies or on TV – or someone from the supermarket.

The people who devised the faces test say I could improve my short term memory by sleeping more soundly. And that, I’ll bet, would come by not thinking about the Great Recession With No End. Or strawberries.

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