Wednesday, December 31, 2014
no one remembers; no one forgets
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 guess I should remember that I forget, if that seems memorable.