Sunday, February 2, 2014

Memories begetting memories.

Yesterday at work, zoning out while stocking frozen foods, as the satellite radio was pumping out Bon Jovi's "Bad Medicine" I started to wonder whether my coworker, who's in charge of ordering the frozen foods, had intentionally decided to start flipping the fish over to show the bottom-side label? Either he decided it was a good idea and is trying to enforce his preference, or it was just a naturally occurring thing that he conceded to because controlling what 80 other people do when they stock your section is a lesson in futility. The latter seemed more reasonable, having been the head-honcho in frozen prior, I knew this lesson well.

Either way, this pondering and my skepticism inspired Public Enemy's hit "Can't Truss' It!" to jump into my head.  My friend Scott and I used this song along with Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" in a mock radio show we had to put together in Music class in 7th grade. Imagining that music classroom I was immediately reminded of walking into it having just spilled chocolate milk on the crotch area of my white sweatpants at lunch time. I guess in 1991 it was okay to wear white sweatpants to school? Of course I remembered my embarrassment walking into that classroom, but could not remember exactly how the milk fiasco went down. In fact, I couldn't remember the cafeteria, where it took place, at all. I created a mental map of the school's hallways but couldn't remember the goddamn cafeteria, until suddenly, I had a vision of being punched in the arm just outside of the cafeteria!

As I remembered this I actually said "ha!" aloud, which turned several eyes in my direction. Middle school boys seemed to be absolutely enthralled by punching each other in the arms. I saw bouts where boys would just go back and forth trying to see how much they could take - a show of strength, tolerance, or something...something I lacked. I don't know if it was my elongated, gangly muscles, a simple lack thereof, or what, but every time someone hit me in the arm they'd hit the sweet spot that made me just want to cry. Candice sometimes hits me for fun and her knuckles (which I like to call "knife-knuckles," really, you have to see them) are like heat-seeking missiles to the crying spot. This made me think of a high-school buddy who reveled in the game Bloody-Knuckles. Easily the stupidest game I've ever been coaxed into playing. He was the best, two hits from him and most people were done, I think one made me call it quits. He and I are no longer friends. That bums me out.

Not a day passes where I don't wonder "why on earth did that pop into my mind?" Sometimes it makes perfect sense, like the above, a streamlined flow of one thought leading to memories begetting memories. Most times I have no clue.

I've thought about keeping a notebook on hand to write down the memories that come to me during the day, but then I don't. And then I wonder if writing them down would ruin the natural flow of the memories that would come, almost like manipulating my thoughts to conjure memories...but then, what if even thinking about this thought process changes things. And yet again, futility sets in.

I fear that these memories, the good, bad, random, ugly, will someday be lost. My father has a line that I'm pretty sure developed once my sister and I were out of the house, he says: "I'd forgotten that." We recount stories...and he inevitably says "I'd forgotten that," which is a bummer, especially when it seems like something I could never forget. It makes me wonder what memories are randomly shooting into his head. I think about asking him if he'll write down memories he has of his childhood, or his 20s, or the few years of marriage before my sister and I came along, or my toddler years, but then I don't. And that naturally leads me to think I should be documenting my time here too, especially while Franny is so young, so I can avoid saying "I'd forgotten that" in the future, but then I don't.

With a family history of dementia looming in the back of my mind, I wonder what I'll have to deal with as my parents progress into true senior-citizenship. What if they lose who they are? What if that's in my future too? I suppose for now it's best to keep asking these questions.

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