Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Having a good memory is both a curse and a blessing. My sister-in-law Sheila told me that since I seldom forgot anything, I was like Anne, a Fair Witness, a character in the book Stranger In A Strange Land. Before she told me about the book, I had never read any science fiction, but it was irresistible not to read about the character whom I was supposed to be like. In the book, the Fair Witnesses were individuals who were designated to observe events and report exactly what occurred; having eidetic memory was a prerequisite for the position and they could not be disputed in court. The novel, set in the distant future, is, to me, a commentary on the religious fanaticist, consumerist, media-crazy society we live in; the author Heinlein was very prophetic since the book was released in 1961 and seems very relevant today. The U.S. Library Of Congress named it among the 88 books which shaped America. Seeing evil people promulgate their lies, especially about our President, makes me wish that there were Fair Witnesses available today. Recently, I heard a young person use the word "grok" and I said, "Valentine Michael Smith, I presume!" Smith is the main character in the book.

I admit that my certitude has sometimes caused uncomfortable moments in discussions. The only people I might defer to, when in a discussion requiring recollection, would be my brothers who also inherited the blessing/curse from my mother! Of course, my brothers will insist that I have never deferred to anyone! When I am too full of myself, Les will put me in my place by saying, "O. K., Ms. Proust!" Gerald says that he never lies to me because I remember everything. Of course, I do not remember everything and I wish my mind were not cluttered with trivia. I often say that I know that I learned about the Theory of Relativity, but I can't explain it! I have long been fascinated by WHAT people (including myself) do recall and WHY.

One of my husband's classmates is married to one of my former classmates. The last time we were together, we talked about school and I asked what books she'd been reading lately and I commented that the reading requirements were much different today than when we went to school. I said, "Miss Digman would turn over in her grave." She said how much she had disliked Miss Digman. I laughed and told her that was no surprise because Miss Digman had corrected her term paper; she had written about the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and she had the word Mormon written as "Morman" throughout the text and Miss Digman had encircled the word each time with red ink! Although I thought it was an amusing anecdote, she was obviously irritated that I had said it, because she asked, "How the Hell do you remember all that shit?" I said, "I also remember what she did to my report on Lady Chatterley's Lover!" (CLICK HERE to see BLOG article)

Another time, at a class reunion we were discussing President Kennedy and one of my classmates said that he had been "for him". I said, "No you weren't; you were for Nixon in the mock election." He looked shocked. I said, "There were only FOUR of us who voted for Kennedy; all the rest of you voted for Nixon; isn't that right, Mike?" Mike had been one of the four who had voted with me for Senator Kennedy. Mike laughed and said, "I know who I was FOR back then and I would never doubt Phyllis!"

At the same reunion a woman who'd been a "Mean Girl" in high school was telling how fond she was of one our classmates who had died. I told her that she had NOT been fond of her in school because she had refused to share a room with her during our Senior Trip. She protested, "Oh, that's not true!" Obviously, those were fighting words, and as much as I hated the need for "back-up", I said, seething with anger at having been disputed, "Let's just call Joan; she's STILL alive and she's also still mad at you for doing that because she was among the three with whom you refused to share!"

Yesterday, an acquaintance told me about a problem she was having but she obviously had forgotten that she had told me about it previously. As she was distraught, I didn't tell her that her story had changed somewhat in the intervening months.

Les says that I am "self-righteous". Guilty as charged!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YOU sound like a "Mean Girl"! To quote one of your favorite sites, you are rather "Pecksniffian" today! ML