I don’t remember closing the garage door.

I’m driving to work, weaving my way around radio commercials and brake lights, when this thought suddenly occurs to me. Of course I closed it. Automatic door. Automatic habit. Do it every morning, sure as I breathe. . . .

And yet, I don’t remember doing it this morning.

Human beings are designed with several built-in practical jokes. Teenagers develop self-awareness and acne at the same time; flatulence provides a honking counterpoint to many an important life moment. Then, as you pass 40, God begins to pull the circuits on your short-term memory. If you’re a guy, that means you can remember who won the Peloponnesian War and how many home runs Jimmie Foxx hit in 1928, but you can’t tell — without looking — if you’re wearing pants.

Or closed the garage door. This happens with increasing frequency. I’m almost halfway to work, and I know — KNOW! — I closed it. Or was that yesterday? Do I remember seeing it close? And if each garage-door closure is a memorable event to me, don’t I need to get out more?

Women get short-term memory lapses, too. But the women I know can pass them off with a laugh and a joke. It’s tougher for guys to admit to these things. That’s why, if you send a guy out for ice and he comes back with wood screws and a video rental, he will very likely tell you a story about how Earth has no ice at this time.

Halfway to work and I’m of two minds, now: On one hand, I know I’m not lamebrained enough to just wander away from my house like a hobo from a freight car. And, at the same time, I can picture the toothless hordes from those Capital One commercials tearing major appliances out of our walls as our big yellow dog stands stoutly in the hallway, hoping at least one of them will pet her.

I turn the car around. I know I shut the damn thing, but when a memory lapse cuts across the Protector Instinct, you have to be sure. There’s not a lot of protecting to do in suburbia — you have to chase off solicitors, and occasionally hit your HOA rep with a hammer. But all guys have to really do is not blow it. You don’t want to be doofus homeowner, standing between the crater and the police tape, telling the TV news crew: “I left the garage door open. That might’ve been a factor.”

The garage door is closed. I circle past my subdivision, and my home is locked and secure. Our big yellow dog is in the window, wagging his tail. I wave as I drive past, and she trades a look with the cat that says: “He did it again.”

Another reason we’re glad dogs don’t talk.

I learned a lot from that episode — so much that I seem to repeat it at least once a week. Everyone has an occasional brain cramp, I guess. But the important thing to remember is . . . well, trust. Something about trust. Or living in the moment. If you live in the moment . . . and trust. . . .

Or just make a weird noise whenever you close the garage door.

That way you’ll remember: Oh yeah, I made that weird noise.

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