Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Stop Me if You've Heard It
History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history. --Clarence Darrow
My father had an incredible capacity to tell the same story over and over.
Whether it was war stories, episodes from his life growing in New York during the Depression, or his life and times and as salesman for a meat wholesaler, my dad would tell us these stories over and over until the point where I had many of them memorized.
He geniunely didn't seem to realize he was repeating himself. Or if he did, it didn't seem to bother him.
This usually wasn't so bad, and, in fact, the army stories and the tales from the old neighborhood were very entertaining. It was like an old stereo player, where the thing automatically lifts the needle back to the beginning of the record.
When he talked about the horrors of the Depression, my father had a stock line that he'd always say.
"There were grown men selling apples in the street!" he'd say, still not believing it even after the passage of so many years.
Some of the jokes got worn out after repeated telling, but that wasn't so terrible. And I often told them to my friends.
Now if he started off a story with the words, “I think I’ve told you this before” that was a major red flag.
If my father was acknowledging a story's history, that meant you had already this particular story so many times that it had become part of your DNA. Zoning out was the only defense.
I mention this because the apple apparently doesn’t fall too far from the burning bush.
Guy Walks Into A Bar
In looking over my posts from June 2006, I saw one entitled “This Gentle Night,” which described a nightmare I had about my father and then went on tell about the time I took my mother to see The Exorcist.
I love telling that story and over the years it's become an amusing chapter in our family's history.
The only trouble here is that I posted an item the other week called “The Pea Soup Follies,” which, as you might have guessed from the title, was all about the time I took my mother to see The Exorcist.
I have absolutely no memory of writing the earlier post. True, it’s been a year, and I’ve had a lot on my mind, but still, that story is powerful enough that I think I should have remembered whether or not I posted it on the Web. But obviously I didn't.
Good Lord, this is so embarrassing. I sound like some old geezer outside a country store some place in the ass-end of nowhere.
One of my father's army buddies used to say his town was so remote, it was located "10 miles from where you could hear a train whistle." Got that quote down pat.
These memory slips seem to be happening a lot lately. I’m forgetting names and faces, the titles of movies and books. Is this normal or is the first step toward Alzheimer’s Disease?
My father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's so I do worry about such things. In addition, studies apparently show that people who are depressed are more forgetful, and some of these people go on to develop Alzheimer's.
I'm hardly the most cheerful guy on the block, but I suspect worry won't help and might make the situation work.
Then I box a couple rounds with one of the instructors at the New York Sports Club. I am becoming punch drunk? Doesn't seem likely since I just started about a year ago and I don't do it that often. Still, I don't want to end up sound like Sylvester Stallone.
I was pretty upset about repeating my stories, thinking perhaps it was God's way of punishing me for mocking my father when I was a kid. But then I interpret every negative thing in my life as God's punishment.
It's a wonder God gets anything done, given all the time He spends zapping my sorry keester.
I went to meeting of Brooklyn bloggers on Sunday and hung out with some very cool people. It was great meeting these talent people in this funky little restaurant/performance space in Flatbush.
I wonder if any of those cool people ever had this problem?
I was getting pretty upset with myself. What kind of loser tells the same story over and over? I thought about deleting one of these posts--which I may do yet--but first I decided to handle it the only I knew how. I'd write about it.
I want to apologize for the repeat post. I have a lot more stories to tell, so there's no need to keep harping on the same on.
I haven't gone back over my other posts to see if there are more reruns somewhere in the mix and readers are encouraged to sound off if they catch one.
And for my part, I promise to be vigilant when I tell stories from my childhood.
Or did I tell you that already?