Ah Yes, I Remember it Well
Jill Price remembers everything that ever happened to her. She can relive any incident in her life as if she is watching a real-time video.
I can’t imagine a worse hell.
A faulty memory system is probably what has kept the human race humming along. A complete and literal memory would paralyze us.
The most obvious place where faulty memory works to preserve the human race is child birth. Squirting that little sucker out really hurts, ya know? But the universal truth is that seeing the result of all that pain–a beautiful baby–makes it all worth it. The importance of the physical discomfort dims in the memory, and therefore, women go on to do it again.
And then there’s forgiveness. Suppose your little brother scratches your new bicycle. With pliable memory, his remorse mixes with your thoughts about his sweet baby-smell when he came home from the hospital. (Not his ugly, ruddy red face.) There’s the way he looked at you when you ruffled his hair, like you’re some kind of god. (Even though he had oatmeal hanging off his chin.) Yeah, you forgive him.
But what if every time you looked at your bicycle you zoomed in on the scratch, just like you did on the day that you found it? What if your heart beat harder and a growl rumbled in your chest, just like that day? Forgiveness would be difficult, and you would have to re-forgive your little brother every time you looked at your bike.
It’s hard enough to live with embarrassing events. The wind blowing your dress over your head in sixth grade, to reveal your Barbie underwear. Singing off-key at the sorority talent show. Farting during a kiss. What if you remembered every detail of these mortifying experiences, sweaty palms and burning cheeks included?
Yeah, it sounds great to replay your first kiss, relive earning your first paycheck, be the homecoming queen again. But I have a feeling that those things weren’t as great the first time around as you think. It’s only in retrospect that you realize how special those things were, and they are enshrined in a special golden corner of your brain.
Give me a semi-faulty memory. It’s a lot easier when I have to remember tripping in my high school cafeteria and sending my tray hurtling through the air to land in that cute guy’s lap.
Nah, he didn’t notice.