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As Long as We Remember...

February 18, 2015

The Plague of Remembering

Tom McLaughlin

I see via the Internet that the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is out on the stands. There was a time I would rush right out and buy it.


The titillating images would be shared by me and my friends because it was the only semi-nude magazine we could buy. Things weren't that liberal back in the mid ’60s.


I find myself, in my early 60's, being dragged back to days I don't want to visit. I shudder and tremble at vivid memories that seemingly keep popping up when I don't want them to and thought they were buried forever.


I want to look forward to my four year old son, my comic.... err….graphic novels, the history I am writing, trips I will be taking and my new grandson in the womb and my fabulous granddaughter as well as my children. But, these dreams...oh...these dreams and night dreams!


I can remember John Kennedy’s swearing ceremony, the Cuban Missile crisis on TV, the 1967 Arab-Israeli Conflict and Robert Kennedy’s assassination as I heard it on the morning radio, as vivid and real as it happened yesterday. This images, and others like them, pass before me in still pictures with the emotions shuddering through my body. It is as if it was happening here and now.


I wish they would stop! I want them to just go away and leave me alone! I don't want – or need – them anymore. They were fine 50 or so years ago – but not now. I have things to do and places to go rather than to deal with them.


Then there are the songs. I don't have a CD or record player, so I don't listen to them. But, streaming back they come. I mean, how many times can you listen to "Blowin’ in the Wind" in one day. Oh, I hear it. That and the "Cats in the Cradle." All good memories, mind you, but how about something a little more modern?


I remember my father. He has passed on 10 years now. While he was with us, I can remember him smiling twice. My daughter asked why he was always so sad. I don't want to end up like him. An old nasty fart sitting in his chair until he dies watching the stock market channel. He wished he had stocks when he had a couple of million dollars worth – most of them taken by the government.


I see him now, in my mind's eye, over the Atlantic Ocean, with a big smile on his face. Grinning and happy. Never saw him like that when he was alive. Still, I don't want to end up like he did, making life miserable for everybody else.


I wonder if the brain takes me back because I am growing older, hell, I am almost ancient, because it just can't hold any more. Maybe my memory glands have fizzled out with a sign on it saying "No Vacancy." Or maybe because it's been raining here for seven weeks (we had two partly cloudy days over the weekend but the rains moved back in.) because of the monsoons.


Or maybe this is the beginning of insanity. In any case I will deal with my demons and fight to stay positive.


...Life is good. . . . .


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