Today I had a lovely and lively lunch with two professors from Grinnell College and together we discussed among other things the ways in which memory must be understood in broader terms as an active engagement of the past and the present–much in the manner of mythological intelligence. WE were thinking of this along the lines of recent theoretical work in autism and with the associated sense that autistic people remember things not merely as “the past” but they see that past as static and very much a part of the present. This was a smart conversation and then as my friends drove away I thought in a more low comedic fashion about all the dreadful junk that’s stored in my memory banks (and yours too I may venture) and I remembered the horrible visage of the 1950’s TV humanoid figure known as Speedy Alka Seltzer. He was a dancing plasticine boy with an oversized curl of plasticine hair that fell over his bulbous forehead; he had an Alka Seltzer tablet for a torso and another tablet poised atop his immense head–so that it resembled a sailor’s hat. He was a dreadful apparition then and now and if I was possessed of a sharper memory I might never be able to put this little rascal out of mind. I’m glad sometimes that I’m not as smart as my friends who have autism. I can forget Speedy Alka Seltzer for moments. I can hum to myself something from the Tales of Hoffman instead. One may suggest these are the same thing. I can’t say.I could however use an Alka Seltzer right about now.