By MitchellI don't often talk about myself here. For one thing, I lead an incredibly boring life. But I've been in a somewhat reflective mood lately. As some of our regular readers know (through personal conversation), I have recently become - temporarily, please God - unemployed. Among other things, this has given me more time to get into mischief than usual.
One of the things people tell you, when you're looking for a new job, is to network. You'd think that a guy who edits a blog would have no trouble networking, but alas such is not the case. So I've been pounding the keyboard lately, trying with all my might to connect with as many people as I can, friend and acquaintance alike. Such is the state of my desperation that I've even allowed someone, who shall remain nameless other than that she goes by the handle Cathy of Alex, to talk me into joining a networking site.
Curiosity being what it is, it didn't take me long to start looking for people I new, both at this site and at others. In doing so, I eventually ran across some of my old classmates from high school. Now, I have to explain that I was a transplant from Minneapolis to a very small town for grades 7-12 (what we old-timers used to refer to as junior and senior high school), and most of the kids in my class had all grown up together. As such, it was a tough area to crack. I eventually did so, I think (I was voted Most Likely to Succeed, which just goes to show you can fool all of the people some of the time), but it isn't as if I've stayed in touch since then. I haven't been back to that small town since I moved to college, hadn't attended any of the reunions, and in fact there are only a handful of classmates with whom I've come in contact.
Now, suddenly, here come some of those names from out of the past. And the thing was, even though I'd only known them for six years, there wasn't a name I saw that didn't produce some kind of memory. Many good, some not-so-good, most of them neutral. But they were there - one of a quiet boy whom I probably hadn't thought of for twenty-five years; another the name of a classmate who had faced down a serious illness; another who actually ran across my name while I was organizing a 4th of July parade and she was doing the publicity for one of the sponsors. There weren't that many of my classmates on this list but, as I say, I had a memory for each one of them.
It made me wonder - do they have any memories of me? After all, they'd all grown up together, but I'd been the outsider, the one who had come in for a brief (albeit brilliant) moment, only to disappear, returning from whence he came. There's no particular reason for me to stick in their memories. I'm not saying I was forgettable, but after thirty years with seldom a word (discouraging or otherwise), it's an understandable thought.
I suppose I'm going to have to follow this road. Curiosity, as I say, plus in the world of networking one never knows who might know someone who knows someone else. Can't take a chance on missing something.
If this surprises me, I really should wonder why. As most of you know, I write a great deal about television of the past, among other things. Shows that were only seen once, events that came and went, still made that indelible impression on the young skull filled with mush. Why, then, should not real, live people have the same effect? Is the life of someone you knew for a half-dozen years more important than a program you saw one autumn night in 1968? Maybe not, I suppose, but I'm not sure that's the right answer.
Anyway, one has to assume that the impact of the here-and-now is a lasting one, and so I suspect (and fear) that a good many of these people do remember something about me, and I cringe at what that might be. And yet I'm about to dive into that memory pool, not knowing quite what waits for me underneath those waves. Could be sharks, could be an oyster with a pearl. Might even be a job. Who knows? But go we must, because one of the few things we know for sure is that the past is bound to us forever, for better or ill; there's no way to escape it, so we might as well embrace it.