Associative Thinking

This little 'story' might raise a chuckle

If there is anyone else besides me

Who has run afoul of 'associative thinking'.


My husband and I married in Ottawa, Canada,

And honeymooned with my parents in Tokyo.

Dad was a security guard with the Canadian embassy,

A position related to his early army career.


We were made very welcome in the embassy circle,

Graciously included in all social activities

And local travel experiences,

Making friends everywhere.

With so many new faces and diverse circles

I began to falter with remembering names.

So, I decided to be more adept,

With the hugely popular technique

Of 'associative thinking'.

And it worked a treat – mostly.


Another young couple invited us

To share an overnight in a small hut on straw mats

At the foot of Mount Fuji.

We were thrilled!

The young woman was Miss Graves.

Of course, she had a given name

But it was surnames that really mattered.

'Aha!' I thought. I'll not forget that name,

'Cemetery', I'll connect 'cemetery'.

And so I stored it away if ever needed again.


Which never happened until two years later.

Back in Ottawa, deep in teaching and college studies,

We were invited to an embassy party!

It was a wonderful surprise.

Our mixed marriage had been highly noted

During our honeymoon travels,

Mostly with smiles and good wishes.

One ranking gentleman in particular

Wanted us to participate in this social circle,

'To catch up with you.'


So, once again, in the smooth flow of government society,

The same young woman,

Looking even more elegant on home turf,

Came straight over to welcome us, hand outstretched.


My mind flashed, 'Think! Think!

Ahhh – cemetery!' and I clasped her hand.

'Miss Tombstone, how lovely of you to include us

In this gathering.'

The gentleman at her shoulder snorted

Like a walrus heaving up on an ice floe.

'Ah', he gasped, 'Ha! Ha! It's Graves, Miss Graves!'

And he was off again. 'Ha Ha Ha Ha!'


I know we had a good time.

But the party itself isn't even a blur.

I remember NOTHING.

From that moment a total blank.

So unlike me, with a memory like an elephant.

Well, I remember hissing inside my head,

'Associative thinking!

Oh, My God! Never again!'


Cynthia Buell Tomas, 2020



First Job, First Day ►


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Wed 22nd Jul 2020 23:02

The gentleman at her shoulder snorted

Like a walrus heaving up on an ice floe.

'Ah', he gasped, 'Ha! Ha! It's Graves, Miss Graves!'

And he was off again. 'Ha Ha Ha Ha!'

I loved it! Not your embarrassment, of course, but this gentleman’s response and especially the phrase “Like a walrus heaving up on an ice floe.” That’s one of the best lines ever.

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Paul Sayer

Mon 8th Jun 2020 21:17

Morti fied

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Trevor Alexander

Mon 8th Jun 2020 15:34

I bet it was about then you wished you'd taken up tombstoning! 😂 I might resort to that technique, except I wouldn't even remember the association! Enjoyed your mortification though. 😀

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 8th Jun 2020 12:56

I really hope I'm not boring people to death.

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