Friday, September 23, 2011

Memory: Jotting it Down so it Won't Run Away

Memory is funny.  Funny in the way that the guy at the circus who is performing magic tricks accidentally catches on fire and you're not sure if it's part of the act or not.

For example, I remember that when I was 11, I tried to do a flip off of the swing set.  As my backward movement came to a halt while swinging, I threw my head forward, let go of the chains and tried to flip onto the ground.  As anyone normal would have expected, I landed on my face, broke my wrist, and when asked about it later, I told my dad and everyone else that I had simply "fallen off the swings" because I thought they would get mad at me for trying to do a backflip. I remember being incredibly worried that my dad would find out what I was really doing and get angry with me.  I remember him telling me to walk to the hospital (which was only about a half mile from my school where I had the accident) and I remember the walk.

But I don't remember ever getting treatment for it or even having a cast on my wrist.  If I remember so vividly the lie I was trying to pull off over the span of five or ten minutes, why don't I remember having a tremendously limiting plaster appendage for 6 weeks?  I can't even remember which arm it was, or whether the cast was full arm, or half arm.

Memory is funny.

When I was 18 or 19 (as much as I try, I still can't really place it), I dropped out of college, dropped out of ROTC (and in the process lost my full ride for aerospace engineering), and ended up living on the floor of my buddy's bedroom in Virgina for about three or four months.  I vividly remember turning in my uniform back to the ROTC people, and vividly remember calling my parents on Easter (who had moved away and left me behind to sleep on that guy's floor) sobbing and begging for them to come save me.  I have no idea how it was decided that I would sleep on this guy's floor, why my parents decided to move and leave me behind, or really, what the hell I did for three to four months.  I know I spent a good deal of time at Chili's.  Because, damn - they've got good boneless buffalo wings, and I knew the waitstaff there, so they hooked me up with wings and beer.

And the more time goes by, the more I realize I'm either losing my memories of my teenage/childhood years or corrupting them with influences of my adult life.  So I decided to start writing down those memories.  Which is what this is the prototype of.

I want to be able to look back and be able to really decipher and catalog what it was that happened prior when I was 20. Yes, the memory confusion leads up until then.  Even a little bit afterward, but when I start putting down all the memories, you'll understand why.

These posts will likely not be very funny.  Except, perhaps, in a dark way.  But they'll be cathartic.  Cathartic and revealing.  Because the majority of the memories I have from my teenage years and before definitely do not paint me in a very good light.  And I think it'll be good to get a lot of them off of my chest.  Some of these stories I've been holding onto forever.

And if other people would like to ridicule and reveal unflattering tales of themselves from before they were real humans (i.e. teenagers) perhaps I'll make this into a link-up meme.  Perhaps not.  Because, honestly, who wants to tell awful stories about themselves?

Me.  I do.


  1. I feel the same way. I used to remember much more from when I was little, now it's just bright jewels of small memories in the moronic floating Facebook feed that has overtaken my mind. I often think to myself to make small notes somewhere as to what my opinions are now about getting older (learn new technology, listen to new music, don't use checks at the grocery store) so that I can retrieve them later and still be awesome.

    When you're done writing everything down, clean it up and turn it into a book. I'm really excited about these posts.

  2. I have a friend from middle/high school who remembers my life better than I do. It's spooky.

    We might need to get a meme going on this. I definitely went through a non-human period.

  3. You know, if you made it into a meme, I'd probably TRY to participate. I say TRY because I too feel like I'm losing my childhood memories.

  4. I'm totally guilty of corrupting past memories with more-recent memories. The first 4 bosses I've worked for, plus the guy who worked my job before I was given it, all have become one guy. I, honestly, can't tell you which anecdote belongs to which person.

    And one of my most vivid memories was breaking some for-sale trinket at the gift shop in a NYC museum. A security guard called me on it & I said that I had found it that way. He didn't believe me, so he told who he thought was the teacher (who happened to be the mother of my best friend). Nothing further happened, but I still remember the day more than I can remember 9-11 or the Challenger Explosion or the day I got married.

  5. Hi, listen, I'm pretty new on this blogosphere and Internet thing, so I don't know if there's a sort of "subscription" method that I can use in order to receive notifications of your new entries...? Thing is I enjoy reading your blog a lot and I'd like to be up to date with your posts!


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