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Wednesday
Apr152009

This Is How It Works

It starts with a hockey game.

The college from my hometown happens to be playing in the NCAA hockey finals, and in between shouting at the television and pacing the room like a madwoman (J: "I've never seen you get like this over sports...") I start to write things down.

While most kids in other towns were hanging out in parking lots drinking Bartles & Jaymes, we were inside the ice arena, banging on plexiglass. I had honestly forgotten how big a role hockey played in my upbringing, but then I started to count the memories again, and it was there. The smell of cold sweat. The feel of skates tied too tight. The first time I heard Queen. The first time I saw a naked man.
This would take too much explaining. Something about the swinging door of a locker room. I'll leave it at that. These are simply the things I remember. Things I am trying to remember.
We had stacks of caught pucks in the basement, sticks scavenged from players after the game, their handles wrapped in tattered tape. Signed programs. We sponsored players until I was in 8th grade, three different guys hailing from Canada who really did say "eh." Shawn had a mustache. Mark was the cute one and dated our babysitter. Ron was quiet and lanky.
I check Wikipedia for the names of penalties to add to my notes: cross-checking, high-sticking, holding, holding the stick, hooking, interference, roughing, slashing, delaying the game, tripping, spearing, fighting, butt-ending, charging, and boarding.
I found a cassette tape recently with Ron's voice on it. Mom and I couldn't figure out how it ended up in our collection.
I start to wonder where this is headed. Hockey? I'm writing about hockey now? I try to remind myself why I do this. I compulsively document memories. I write things down so I don't lose them. God forbid the internet dies some horrible death and all of this is gone.
What, you don't keep this stuff somewhere safe?
Not really.
You mean everything I'm coming up with could disappear, just like that?
I have faith in back-up servers.
Well, since we're already in the process of remembering, do you remember having to write your social studies essay on Thomas Jefferson eleven times because the family Macintosh Plus kept crashing?
Oh god.
Or all of the stories and pieces of stories you lost when your college computer died?
See, now you're just remembering the things I don't want to remember.
This is what we do. We remember.
Do we also have conversations with our memory in public forums?
Now that's just plain crazy.

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