Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where Were You When......

It is one of the most vivid memories of my youth. It was on a Friday and there were two boys brawling in the playground a block down from school. It's the noon hour, and after lunch we all hung out at that playground. Parents weren't so paranoid back then as they are now. Kids were allowed more freedom, and one of our freedoms was that we could leave the school yard at lunch time. Rudy's candy store, the playground in the park, or if we lived close enough, home.

So why is that particular fight so vivid in my memory? Because I also remember a kid running up from the street, telling us that the president had been shot. That stopped the fight, and I remember us all making our way back to the school. I remember the announcement by the principal, coming across the speaker in our classroom, that the president had died. Many of the incidents of that weekend are still so clear to me, yet so many other occasions of importance in my life draw a blank. Why do I remember watching on a Sunday morning Oswald being shot as clearly as if I watched it a day ago? I think it is because I was paying attention. More attention than I do for most day to day occurrences.

So many of my pot filled moments during my twenties are lost. Even when I wasn't smoking pot, my memories are sketchy. That's why when I know that a moment is really important now, I make it a point to pay attention and try to experience it fully. Yet for some reason only those traumatic times tend to completely burn into my memory, like September eleventh, and February fourteenth, 1988, when I projectile vomited across the hospital room after my first chemo treatment.


  1. I can vainly state that I wasn't born yet when the president was shot, but as a born-and-bred Dallasite I always give directions downtown using the grassy knoll and book depository as landmarks. I'd have to pay you $100/hour to tell you my traumatic moments, so I'd rather buy a nice bottle of vodka and talk to it instead.

  2. Is that what they are called, Dallasites? I think we are called Wilton Manorians. Over in Tampa Florida the residents are called Tampons I think.

    Actually Wilton Manors residents are just called gay.

  3. You are so right, that day is as vivid all these years later as when it happened. I was a sophmore in high school and I remember that they played the radio broadcast over the intercom. Everyone was crying, even the "publics" who hadn't wanted him elected because he was Catholic..... except of course for the one cold S.O.B. who said "good". I think his name was Bill O'Reilly........