Do you ever wonder why you remember some things — even the most seemingly insignificant tedium — and fail to recall details of the more momentous occasions? Perhaps the seemingly insignificant is really the momentous.
My earliest memories date back to living in married housing at UF when my Dad was finishing his undergrad and graduate degrees (right across the street from the law school I would attend some 23 years later — cue the theme from The Twilight Zone). My first memory is looking at myself in the mirror in my room at our UF apartment and realizing that was “me” in the reflection. Could that be more narcissistic?
I can also remember one of the first days I wore underpants. (This one is pretty significant.) I recall getting some instructions before I went out to play — something along the lines of “if you have to go to the bathroom, come home and go and then you can go back outside.” Later, I was playing at the playground with a bunch of other kids. I could sense the need to excuse myself and take care of my business the way “big boys” do, but come on people, I was playing at the playground, and I was two and a half (or 3 – I don’t actually recall). So as you may imagine, after it was too late, I realized that there were a few extra ounces in my shorts. Off I ran, turd in tow! I was beside myself with terror. Afraid what my mom was going to do to me for soiling my shorts after her very clear and reasonable directions. Why didn’t I just go home when I felt the first sphincter twitch? When I reached the apartment, I am sure I was a weeping mess with a fecal jiggle in my pants. Despite my worst fears, my mom showed me mercy and simply cleaned me up, gave me some new briefs and sent me back out there. (I have no doubt that this episode is the seed of my anal retentive personality. Shut up.) Jen can attest that my response to that situation is typical of my response to mercy even now. I don’t appreciate the mercy; I much prefer to beat myself up for doing whatever I did to get myself in the situation from which mercy rescued me. (How warped is that?)
Another memory of mine is from playing little league when I was 8. It’s sort of two memories really. I can only recall one at-bat from all of the games that I played that season. It was a double that I hit to right-centerfield. What I remember is how true I hit the ball. I caught it right in the sweet spot. The bat was a wood bat my Dad bought for me at Sears. At the time, Sears sold bats marketed by Ted Williams (then, his head was still attached). This was a 26-inch model that was painted kelly green. I remember that we won the game, but the score evades me. And I recall that I was awarded the game ball that day. The other part of my memories of that first little league season is stealing the sign that the coach of the Dodgers team was using to tell his kids to steal. As a catcher, that came in handy. (NOTE to any would-be coaches reading this. When an 8-year-old can steal your sign, you need to put more effort in disguising your intentions.) He did the same thing every time, he took his hat off and wiped his forehead. If I didn’t have an 8-year-old arm with the accompanying accuracy (or lack thereof), my discovery would have been much more helpful.
These memories say something about who I am. If you can figure that out, please let me know, so I can benefit from your insight!