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I had a delightful interaction with a very old African-American man in the grocery parking lot tonight. Very slowly he pushed his cart, bent and leaning onto it, and mumbling discontentedly. I heard him say as I passed him

“I must be losing my mind completely.”

I slowed and said “yeah, me too.”

He stopped, surprised that someone had paid attention. Very good-naturedly he squinted at me and said “I can’t seem to remember the name of that artist who cut off his ear.

And I’m from New York!” “Van Gogh,” I said.

“Ooooh, YES! Of course! But how am I going to keep that in my head? I just can’t!” he replied, genuinely distressed.

I suggested that he perhaps think of a mini-van starting up and going.

“You know, like ‘van’ and ‘go.’” He turned his face skyward, grinning, and started to laugh deeply and loudly.

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