Leonard Pitts’ June 18 column (“Remind me, again, of what exactly we were talking about . . .”) must have struck a nerve with many of us in this, the oldest state in the country. If my calculation is correct, I’ve got about 10 years on him, and I’ve experienced most of his sometimes scary lapses.

Yes, short-term memories seem to recede as long-ago memories leap to the front. Yes, we lose easy access to common words and have to resort to work-arounds. Yes, we enter a room and forget what we came in for.

But, though they may be getting more frequent as the years pile up, none of these phenomena are unique to old age.

Word-finding can be a problem for anybody at any age. Short-term memory can be a challenge for younger people (“Honey, have you seen my keys?”).

Walking into a room can erase anybody’s memory. (That problem was discovered among young college students; it even has a name: “threshold phenomenon.” I’ve had that particular problem since my 20s. Hint: Go back to where you started. The memory comes back.)

One cliché I hate to hear, mostly from people over 50, is “senior moment.” As if age alone would excuse us from our lapses. I prefer the more universal “brain cramp.” (Or maybe a “Dan Quayle moment”: “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind … .”)

I teach courses and edit the newsletter at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a senior college affiliated with the University of Southern Maine. Last year I started a monthly column called “Senior Moments.” It celebrates learning institute members who have published a book or won an award.

Let’s celebrate another cliché: With age comes wisdom. Hang around with us, you youngsters. You might learn something.

Tim Baehr

Portland