Musing on My Memory
April 04, 2006 - Back to Journal
When I was growing up, my nickname was
“The Memory Bank” because I remember not only everything that has
happened in my own life but also everything that has happened in the
lives of my friends -- even if I was not present but only heard about
it. Debby, my best friend from childhood, will call to ask me for a
specific detail of an event from her life that happened 40 years ago.
She knows that if she told me about it at the time, I will be able to
repeat it to her exactly as she said it then.
Why can I do this and
what does it mean?
It’s hard to explain how normal this feels to me. I
have never thought of this ability as a sign of intelligence since no
effort goes into remembering whatsoever. It is just there, as if my
memory is a tar pit that preserves whatever falls into it. Once I know
it, I cannot not know it: if I own the memory once, I own it for all
time. I sometimes think the birth of the self begins with the first
memory since it is the first possession.