Muscle Memory


I don’t have a lot of muscles. I don’t have a very good memory. I do have muscle memory. This, for the most part, is a very good thing. It saves time, effort, and frustration.  A simple definition is where after you repeat a behavior for many times, the muscles seem to do it without any effort. Those who play sports rely a lot on muscle memory, as well as musicians. It is amazing to watch guitar players’ fingers fly around the frets on a guitar. Many of you have muscle memory with the keyboard where you are able to process many words a minute, or at least find your pin or password rather quickly.

Muscle memory got me in trouble the other day. I misplaced my car keys, and as always, it is a flight into frustration. I realized they were gone at 7:45 am and I had to be at work at 8:00. Anyway, there is a spare key to the Prius in the kitchen drawer. Problem solved right? Well, the second Prius key is damaged, and replacements run $300-400 dollars. I have decided i can live with a dysfunctional key when it comes to that kind of dough. The only difference between the lost key and the second one is the second one has to be plugged into the dash. Normal Prius keys need only be in your pocket for the car to start and perform. Still no problem.

I get to work, and my muscles on this particular morning may have a memory, but no common sense. My routine tends to go like this: I park the car, pushJim keys the off button, open the door, and then press the lock button. What was failed that morning to be mentioned to my muscles was that usually the keys are in my pocket, not in the dash. So not only had I lost keys, but I then locked the only other key in the car! They were sitting, plugged into the dash with a smirk on their face. God is good though! My muscles always remember to crack the windows, and so with a metal pole, I was able to push the door latch open, and was back to a semblance of normalcy! Later that night, my keys were turned in at the Pop Warner practice, where they had fallen out of the pocket. No muscles involved there…just a Good Samaritan.

So what is the muscle memory message?…Beware! Many times our muscles automatically do something that is not in our best interest. My fork muscle often encourages me to eat too much. Our muscles are all too often used to dropping themselves in the easy chair when we should be helping the spouse with kids or dinner chores. As we get older, we need to train the mind and muscles in different manners. Our muscles don’t want to go for that walk three times a week, but you know your doctor wants you to get out there. Although we may be a phone fixated society, there are often people we haven’t called in a long time. It is good to use muscles in different ways.

jim muscle memorySchool is starting! The kid’s muscles have gotten used to sleeping in, and goofing off. It is time to retrain the muscles of minors back to the rigors of education.  And parents, we need to get back in the trenches of making sure they get their homework done, dress right, and behave in the classrooms.

Although a lot of my muscle messages these days are painful, I have lots of good muscle memories. I hope these last days of vacation, and the coming fall, bring good muscle memories to readers of The Desert Review!