Wednesday, December 31, 2014

no one remembers; no one forgets

Thin as a piece of toilet paper, the local newspaper arrived today stuffed with New Year's Eve recollections. "Stories that Endure" read one headline. "Pictures of the Year," said another. An applause-o-meter for 2014 and a lot of news organizations do it ... telling me what I have forgotten and perhaps would like to remember. Also, of course, a lot of news staff are off, so cut-and-pasting what is already on hand is easier than gathering news.

But the recollections have a strange flavor. Yes, there were high moments and low, but to say that they "endure" is to overstate the fact that I would hardly need a reminder about a story or event I actually did remember. "Endure" is congratulatory, but it rings hollow as well.

No one remembers anything accurately. True, there are scars or touchstones to mark past events. There is something that is brought forward, but the fact that it is brought forward means it is not remembered accurately. It has become a story and as such is, in one sense, as flaccid as a dead fish.

World War II forgets World War I.
"We will never forget," say some Jews of the Holocaust.
"It's as if it were happening all over again," says the veteran haunted by memories of combat.
"It was the happiest day of my life," say others of all sorts of circumstances.
"We laughed and laughed...."

But at the same time that no one remembers accurately, they also do not forget. There are scars and blue ribbons to mark the accomplishments and failures. Somehow, I am the sum of my lifetime -- a lifetime I cannot remember and cannot forget. In the congratulatory or derogatory recollection, there is a truth that is exemplified in the falsehood of remembrance.

If an example is needed, I always think of the pregnant woman giving birth yet again: In the midst of the current anguish, what woman doesn't think, "I will never, EVER, do this again!" It's too much, too painful, too wracking.

Until it's time to give birth anew.

No one remembers pain or pleasure accurately. How boring life might be if they did. No one remembers. No one forgets.

I'm not sure what to make of all this outside the fact that I think it is worth noticing and getting used to. Stories that "endure" do not really endure ... but it may be useful or fun to think they do because, after all, they do, somehow, endure.

I remember....

I forget....


I guess I should remember that I forget, if that seems memorable.


  1. Olcharlie's mac died, and this borrowed pc, even with all of the google cookies enabled firefox can't seem to connect my confirmed login on blogger by this link, with this page. Google chrome of course works. I suppose google forgets how to share, play fair, etc. I forget tons of stuff. My right hand has forgotten how all of it works. I forget most of yesterday but imagine it happened all the same. I can only say that i was there then. I sense that i am somewhat here now. And i have no plans for a tomorrow. What's to remember anyway?

  2. Happy Birthday to your mother, Adam (speaking of remembering).