#2 — Prayers, Robert Zimmerman, and Forgetting

Jeremy Burris
5 min readMay 28, 2021


This evening, I want to cover three thoughts that have crossed my mind today.

1) Prayers: I am not here for a theological or philosophical monologue regarding my views on prayer. Maybe another day. Maybe even another day for a dialogue. For now, I know that, while I do not believe in a “coin slot” God (insert prayer, receive request), I do hold firmly to the concept of prayer as a form of communication with God. I’m also cool if you don’t pray. Meditate, moment of silence, smoke signals, it’s all good with me. Why all this? Because, whatever it is that you do, I have an unspoken (insert method here) request that you do it for a dear friend of mine. God’s got the rest. Thanks.

2) Robert Zimmerman: You fervent fans out there will know this is Bob Dylan. Today is his 80th birthday.

Bob Dylan

I won’t spend long here, but I want to stress a few points regarding Dylan. For starters, I am no expert on his life history or catalog, so you diehards, bear with me. With that in mind, I must admit I am not a great fan of his voice. He took a prepubescent, high-pitched, nasal squeal well into adulthood, and before we knew it, morphed it into a whiskey-soaked bag of gravel. But as a reader, here is what I do love: the lyrics, poetry, and storytelling. When I consider the multitude of musical artists and where they rank upon the echelons, no one touches the fine art of telling a story and producing a poem with lyric. Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen are in company, but Dylan carries the flag. In fact, I’ve used Dylan’s lyrics to teach lessons in class before. Seriously, even if you don’t like the voice, or even the songs themselves, read the lyrics like a poem. Let me know if you want some suggestions. Either way, cheers to Bob for 80 years on this floating, wet rock.

3) Forgetting: I forget. I forget a lot. In fact, next week, I may forget that I wrote about forgetting tonight! One of my favorite writers is Sherman Alexie (if you’ve read anything about him lately in the news, just know that, for now, I want to focus on his literary career, not personal actions, fair enough?). Alexie is a Spokane Coeur d’Alene Native American who tells how, as a child, he suffered from “water on a brain,” which is actually hydrocephalus. Numerous side effects ensued, including forgetfulness, and he was expected to die as an infant. Needless to say, he has made it well into adulthood, but he also attributes this early condition to his stream of consciousness writing style. Sounds like me!

I don’t have “water on the brain,” but I do have some occurrences which may justify forgetfulness. For one, I have suffered three types of seizures in my life. Petit mal, grand mal, and myoclonic. None are fun. The first occurs whenever it likes and you never know it has happened, the next causes you to, in my case, stop breathing and wake up looking at paramedics, and the latter permits you the joy of watching your arms jerk and launch items such as telephones across the living room. I’ve also been hit in the head with a golf club. It hurts. Especially when it’s a driver and your buddy swinging it is a big fella. I can assure you, it hurts no less when it is an accident. Okay, maybe it does, but I don’t want to be on the receiving end of an intentional one in order to draw a true comparison.

So, forgetting. Today, the school calls and asks where my daughter’s lunch is located. Long story short, we forgot to order it. We normally place the weekly order on Sundays so that each weekday is covered. Of course, I call my wife to tell her, and, like me in her own way, she’s panicked that a) we are horrible parents for forgetting to ensure our child gets lunch, and b) OMG, our child doesn’t have lunch, no one at school will give her something, and she’s going to starve to death right there on the spot. I mean, no, not really, but a thousand thoughts occur in the moment.

I talked a bit about children and little people last time, so here’s another thought regarding those beauties: You are going to forget something. It does not make you a horrible person. New and/or soon-to-be parents are going to try, if they are worth their salt, to be as prepared as possible. You’ll be equipped with things that honk, blink, jingle, dingle, warm, cool, wiggle, rock, sing, wet, evaporate, you get the picture. You’ll use about half of it. Some, being the 21st century, you’ll learn from YouTube or some other electronic source. The rest, being life, you’ll learn from grandparents or simply trial and error. At times, I needed a Dummies 101 Guide for Parenting book . . . maybe sometimes I still do. But I can guarantee you this: something will be forgotten. Okay, so we forgot the kid’s lunch. I can top that. One day I fell asleep in my office and totally missed the mark of leaving to go pick her up at daycare. Yep. I’m a hefty boy and I literally (and I loathe using that word, but it applies here) jumped out of my chair when I awoke and immediately felt like the worst father ever. You know what? She lived. To top that, one day I left campus and turned right to head toward home instead of left to go to the daycare. Of course, this must mean I am an absolute, horrible failure. You better bet I felt that way in that moment. But, you know, it was fine.

As a parent, older sibling, friend, whatever of a child, you are going to forget some things. You are going to promise an adult friend something and forget. Forget an important date? Been there. I literally have my birthdate tattooed on my arm (not necessarily to address my forgetfulness, but being multipurpose never hurt). Maybe you’ll be on a work committee and forget something. You’re human. Don’t invest too much time fretting over the minutiae of life. Sure, you don’t want to leave your kids in the backseat; in fact, don’t even leave your animal, but don’t let the occasional forgotten detail ruin your day. But seriously about those animals; I mean, I won’t bust your windshield, but I might call someone who will.

Now, what was I headed into the kitchen after this to do. . . . 😉

Until next time,

- JB



Jeremy Burris

Believer, father, husband, son, friend, teacher, reader, thinker, listener, writer. Mr. Burris to some, Jeremy to all.