Object permanence?

While researching ADHD I came across the concept of object permanence difficulties. It was explained to me like this

when someone with ADHD puts an object in the cabinet, they immediately forget it ever existed. Vegetables frequently rot in the fridge, they end up buying eleven jars of pasta sauce because they can’t remember if they have any, if a friend doesn’t talk to them for long enough that their contact slips down off the recent messages screen they totally forget they can still talk to them, they feel alone and friendless if they haven’t had human contact yet that day.

This is all me to a T, and I was wondering if this is really an ADHD thing or just a normal thing that happens to everyone?


I don’t forget that it ever existed . . . But I often forget where it is . . .
Either way, this phenomenon is definitely an ADHD “thing” . . . But . . . not exclusively!

I think this can happen with Dementia . . . Concussion . . . Anxiety . . . Panic . . . High fever . . . Trauma . . .

So while we are special (:sunglasses:) . . . We are not unique!!


It happens to me all the time like where did I put my phone when its in my pocket or under something


All of those are so totally me. It works with information, too. I’ll write down an appointment and forget all about it, including the fact that I should look into my calendar.

If I can’t include the object/information /person in some kind of flow, it’ll be months before I think about them. It won’t even feel like a problem on my end: It’ll feel like it’s only been days, but not all of my off-radar friends would agree.

That’s why habit-shaping and some sort of reminder culture are so important.


I deal with that all the time. i have even lost friends who think i am purposely ignoring them. Its very hard to explain that i don’t mean to forget and ignore you… its tough and i completely understand.


I think this is a fairly normal thing, but not to the extent that most ADHDers deal with. That’s why the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” exist but also why the term “object permanence” exist in the first place…
I explain it like this: most people put an old jacket at the back of the closet and forgot about it, that’s normal. But if I set my glasses down, I can’t find anything! If I’m doing math and drop my pencil, it’s gone forever. If I move my cup out of the way during dinner, water might as well not exist. That’s not normal.

So like @Brooklyn said, it’s definitely an ADHD thing, just not exclusively!


I… think that’s normal, too? Depending on how much you need the glasses?

But yeah, I get the point. All the times I sat down with a book and a pencil to mark the major bits and when it came to doing that, I had no idea where that pencil was…


Ahh that’s true :joy:

I can’t even imagine all the half-filled notebooks about the house that I’ve lost


Hey Max! It’s been a long time between drinks… Hope you are well!

Speaking of object permanence, I was swapping bass player jokes with a mate, and I was explaining your cartoon to him. The one with the sinking ship and the bass player…

I saved the artwork somewhere, but yeah… It may as well not exist. The object is permanent… Just permanently somewhere I can’t find it.

Any chance you could post it here? If you’re not too worried about intellectual property rights, putting food on the table, paying bills, that sort of thing…

Otherwise, I’d happily pay you for a copy of it, once I get back on the hamster wheel that pays my bills.


Hi Smoj! Long time indeed! So long that I looked up your profile a while back to see if you’ve been online in the meantime or if I should send you a mail and it always said something like “online: 5d” so I thought that’s okay then - until I noticed just recently that’s not the time since we’ve been on the forum…

Yeah, I guess I should start tagging my cartoons or something. Here it is - I’ll just link to it because even by this forum’s standards, it’s a bit off-topic…

My cartoons are one thing I can find easily, so tagging never comes to mind when I’m in site-edit mode. Then again, there has been more than one occasion that I’d look for the English version of a months-old entry and find out that I completely forgot to publish it right after the German version was out…


I’m guessing that most likely bass players swap bass player jokes . . . But then I recall violinists swapping viola jokes . . .
So what motivates your joke swapping?

Now careful . . . I was a TUBA player (55 years ago in HS!) :rofl:


Bass players tend to swap drummer jokes… :smiley:
Such as:
How do you know if the stage is level?
The drool hangs out of both sides of the drummer’s mouth. :drum:

What do you call somebody who hangs around with a group of musicians?
A drummer…

But really, most times you can just replace the word “drummer” with “bass player”, and the jokes still work, which is kind of rough for a bass player. :joy:

So object permanence applies to the cloud as well, aparrently. :smiley:

See? On topic.

Thanks for that. I’ll send it to the arch enemy of the bass player - the guitarist. You have done bass players of the world a great service Max, and we appreciate it.


That’s a bass joke too . . . As far as a cymbal goes . . . :rofl:


Boom boom! :+1:

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Yeah, that’s the first bass player joke I heard. And the fifth. And the seventh…

I still don’t think it’s funny. Actually, I find it offensive - not as a bass player, but as a cartoonist. It just doesn’t meet even the lowliest criteria I have for what makes a joke work. If you can just replace the punchline with anything else without losing any of the “jokiness”, that’s always a dead giveaway. I take offense at having to listen to bad joke craft!

It kind of works as an insult, but only just. I’ve heard better.

This one isn’t much better in terms of replacability, but at least it’s solidly crafted:
The drummer walks backstage and finds the bass player close to a nervous breakdown.
“The stage hand has detuned one of my strings!”, the bass player cries.
“So why don’t you fix it?”
“He won’t tell me which one!”



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I like it because the punchline is not inherently obvious. You have to connect the dots a little…

It’s not so much a play on words, as a play on meanings.

“Oh wait… So the drummer/bass player isn’t considered a musician?”

Yes, it’s insulting. But it’s tongue in cheek. It gets away with it because everybody knows that without the bass and drums (the engine room of the band), it would just be left to show pony ego-driven hacks like singers and guitarists to produce a thin sounding squeal that only vaguely resembles real music. :wink: