Dave and his sister are two years apart in age, and I used to watch them reconstruct their childhoods like two kids knocking each other's Tinker Toys down. "Remember when you broke your leg that time you fell off the horse at Uncle Ed's and cried for three days?" she'll start out. "That wasn't my leg, it was your arm, when you tried to hand me a box of hornets when we were camping in Alberta and you tripped over the moose," Dave will counter, and all the while their mother would stare at them as though they had fallen out of the sky and not out of her. Neither child had ever broken a bone, they'd never been in Canada, and they didn't have an Uncle Ed. There's no good anecdotal evidence they ever were in the same place at the same time, and if they didn't both have such a strong genetic ability to make shit up, you'd never guess they were related. Still, at least they're coming up with something. My memory is gauzy at best.
Odd things percolate to the surface from time to time but I have no conviction they ever happened. I tend to remember my humiliations. There were a bunch of years I spent humiliating myself but, in what is no coincidence whatsoever, I've blacked most of them out.
|Stealthy Indian at the right.|
But if something hops up and down on one of my memory neurons, there's no telling what's going to bubble to the surface. That's because, like many in my generation, for a lot of years I don't have memories. I have flashbacks. And that's really pathetic. Flashbacks are memories of things that didn't even happen. We are each the author of our own life, and I don't know if mine is fiction or memoir.
In fact, there are about fifteen years there when just about all I can recall is buying the next pitcher and sliding a quarter onto the pool table. Not a lot else comes to mind. Which, come to think of it, is probably a thorough accounting. If I'd had any foresight at all, I would have hung out with sober people so there would be a repository for my memories, even if it had to be in someone else's brain. But those people didn't like to hang out with me.