I’ve been having flashbacks lately. And no, I didn’t use LSD when I was in college.
Let me give you an example. The other day I was in a store and there was a sign that said “Fire exit. Do not block.”
Suddenly, I recalled an evening many years ago when I was at the Grand Ole Opry in the old Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, Tenn. It was incredibly hot, so I moved to the back of the auditorium to an open window through which a slight breeze was blowing.
An usher walked up to me and told me I could not stand there. I asked why. He said I was blocking a fire exit – like I was going to still be standing there if a fire broke out. Now, if I had brought my piano with me and put it there, his warning would have made sense.
Yep, I remember that like it happened this morning. Being able to remember stuff like that really has no cash value, but I think it does suggest your software is still functioning, and perhaps there is data stored there that can be retrieved and can have socially redeeming value.
Or maybe being able to remember a lot of things is more of a compass of sorts to help in this life’s journey. Knowing where you came from can help guide you to where you’re going, or so I’ve been told.
There’s a theory that everything we experience is stored in our brains and can be recovered if the right stimuli is applied. And, I read where if you try to stimulate your brain in this fashion, then it can aid against dementia and Alzheimers.
So in addition to these flashbacks, I’ve been purposely trying to remember things through some word or thought association. I will pull a name or an object from my childhood and try to remember something that happened in association with it.
I pulled forth the name Pierce, and I remember the day he brought a real .44-caliber revolver to school with which to play cowboys and Indians. The firing pin was gone and the hammer was rusted shut, which made it harmless. But this was before kids took guns to school to actually shoot people. Nevertheless, it was confiscated.
I don’t remember anything else about Pierce. And he was only at our school less than a year. So I’ve named that little segment, “Pistol Packing Pierce.”
Then I pull the word “God,” and I can take you to the very spot where the first peanut shaker was used on our farm. At that moment, all of my doubts that had accumulated from many Sundays of sitting on heart pine pews and listening to hell fire and brimstone were washed away. There was a God. He made peanut shakers. (For those of you who have never shaken peanuts with a pitchfork, just trust me on this one.)
By the way, “shaking” peanuts is meant literally. You had to shake the dirt out of the vines after they were plowed up.
I don’t know if there’s a technical difference between flashbacks and memories. Maybe it has to do with how suddenly they come upon you. And when I say suddenly come upon you, I recall the day the oak snake dropped into my lap from the rafters in the outhouse.
Oak snakes are not venomous. Handled gently, they will not attempt to bite you. But they can cause you to rip a door from its hinges given such a sudden appearance under extenuating circumstances.
So I wonder if politicians would do better at remembering their promises if they made those promises in nothing but their boxer shorts standing on stage before their constituents. I think that would be a moment hard to forget, and I think there would be plenty of stimuli along their journeys to prompt such flashbacks.
Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer and can be reached at 985-4545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.