So Stoney and I were having a discussion this morning about how we all have this inherent tendency to mis-remember our childhoods. We have these epic memories of events ... and the majority of these memories are inaccurate at best ... and Victoria Jackson-esque crazy at worst.
Everyone exaggerates the past. I'm guilty of it.
Like take yesterday morning. We were watching the morning news while an annoyingly perky anchor was listing off school closings. I looked at the list scrolling by on the television and said, "What a bunch of bullshit. I sure as hell didn't get a day off school just because it was cold."
Is that true? Maybe. Maybe not. I went to a rural school that relied on school buses to deliver ninety-five percent of the student body. So if the wind chill was 20 below? We probably got the day off. Maybe. Fuck, if I know.
What I do know is that I have memories that I know are faulty. I'll give you one as an example.
When I was about three, my Mom was raising me alone while my Dad was in Viet Nam. It was winter and we lived in a rental home that didn't have a driveway or garage. We had to park on the street ... which wasn't a problem until it snowed. And we live in Illinois so it snowed. A lot.
So one day, Mom needed to go shovel the walk ... so she could then attempt to shovel the car out. She couldn't leave me alone in the house because I had a habit of eating sticks of butter if I wasn't being watched continuously. (Note: Don't ask ... I liked butter. My mom spent two years finding sticks of butter with tiny teeth prints on them. I was a three year old with a high probability of atherosclerosis in my future.)
She bundled me up and we went outside. She shoveled a couple feet of space off the walk ... and then put a two step step-stool on the cement. She brought me down and told me, "Stand on this step stool. That way you can watch what I'm doing. Whatever you do, do not leave this step-stool."
She shoveled. I watched ... probably day dreaming about delicious, un-guarded sticks of butter. When I got the most marvelous idea. I climbed to the top of the step-stool ... and ... I jumped.
I jumped into the snow drift ... snow filled the air ... and I immediately sank down until the drift until the snow was higher than my head. I started shrieking like a three year old, butter-junkie, banshee ... and my mother, I imagine after considering for a split-second how much easier her life would be if she just left me and my poor life choices in the goddamned drift, came and rescued me.
Now my memory of this day is how much fucking snow there was. It was over my head. Snow was everywhere ... as far as I could see. There was so much snow that I almost drowned in it.
But that's not true, is it?
I was three years old. It probably snowed what? A foot or two? After all, I didn't just jump into the snow ... I jumped into a drift. So even though I'm sure it was an enormous pain in the ass for my mom to shovel all that snow with a butter-burgling toddler trying to commit hare-kari ... this wasn't a storm of the century for Christ's sake.
My point is that memories are faulty. There wasn't that much snow that day. Things haven't changed that much for most of us. There are, statistically speaking, about as many snow days now as there were twenty years ago. And it's okay to bitch about the cold ... because we basically live on the outskirts of the the Snow Miser's asshole over here ... but try not to make the past quite so epic. Because it wasn't.
I need you
More than anyone, darlin'
You know that I have from the start
So build me up
Build me up
Don't break my heart
The Foundations -
Build Me Up Buttercup