There is a problem I have that I have come to realize is far from unique. Apparently there is a little man in my head with a pair of scissors editing my memories. I don’t mean he is sticking in things that didn’t happen or anything, he is just snipping parts out. Improving the flow. He’s in your head too. Think back to your last commute. Unless something specific happened, chances are the only thing you can say definitively is THAT it happened. You probably remember more about your morning poop than your commute. (I personally take notes on mine. Stay tuned for the upcoming 5 part series on Corn, The Stubbornest Food.)Why? The rest is on the cutting room floor. It was non-essential to the advancement of the plot and would bore the audience.
Now, that is all well and good. I want my memories to be an exciting, thrill a minute, edge of your seat blockbuster. And they are, if you find movies like “Sitting Down, Facing Front: The Saga Begins” and “Can He Smell That? Part 3: The Egg Salad on the Train Experiment” exciting. The problem is that my guy has been doing a little too much listening to the focus groups. When the crowd likes something, he snips out all of the parts they didn’t like. When they don’t like something, he snips out all of the good parts. The result is a totally skewed memory. I will rave about a movie until my friends grudgingly agree to see it, only to realize on a second viewing that there are exactly three good parts and there is a half hour between each of them. You know what that makes the movie. A BAD MOVIE. But stupid me only remembers the good parts and thinks, “Well, surely the missing portion was equally good.” Nope. Snipped out the crap. And now your friends make a mental note, “This guy likes crappy movies.”
Usually when it works the other way, it is with people. There is a person, who shall remain nameless, who “accidentally” peed on me. Now, I’d love to tell you the specifics of the situation, but you are going to have to wait for the DVD, because that is a deleted scene. All I know is that he peed on me. From that day forward, for many years, if someone mentioned this guy I would say to myself, “Who is that? Let’s go to the video tape!” The theme music starts, he pees on me, credits roll. Not a great highlight reel. I’m sure he’s done plenty of great stuff since then, but it is hard to put a scene like that on the cutting room floor.
Frankly, aside from badly skewing my tastes a bit, I really don’t mind the mental editor. The times when he really annoys me are when he snips out important stuff. Case in point. I had a self imposed rule that floated at the back of my head, “Spicy food no more than once a day.” One day I was staring at the menu of a take out place after having had buffalo wings and jalapeno poppers earlier that day and I thought to myself, “Hmm. Why do I have that rule again? All of my memories of spicy food are entirely positive. Pfff. That is a stupid rule. I shall IGNORE that rule.” And so I ordered a buffalo chicken salad and something called “Cajun Fries.” When they arrived I came to the conclusion that there was a misprint in the menu. What they should have called these dishes were, “Magma (with Lettuce) and Potatoes de la muerte.” But whatever, they were good, and the next morning I had what remained of them for breakfast. Then the time came to poo. I knew it would be a doozy, so I grabbed the MP3 player and headed to the public restroom (no way I was inflicting this on my OWN bowl) to have a little sit down. Thirty seconds later molten iron was pouring out of me. It would appear that, over the course of the night, the various peppers and sauces had joined forces and created thermite, which had liquefied my digestive system and was now incinerating everything below my waist. “Ah,” I thought between screams of blinding pain, “This is why I made that rule. Funny how I would forget a thing like this.” Then I was treated to two or three aftershocks as the second and third meal made their way to ground zero. On that day, the editor was my enemy.
I’m not saying we get rid of the little editor. I’ve got precious little room in my head as it is, the last thing I need to be doing is clogging up my memories with scenes of me sitting on the subway trying to determine the composition of the pool of liquid I just put my hand in. What I AM saying is that we send the little guy to film school. You can’t take that footage of the night of binge drinking and not leave at least a montage of the hangover that followed. Neither can you gather up the ex-girlfriend reel and turn it into a psychological thriller. Take it from me and the smoldering war zone that was once my anus, letting the editor have free reign only leads to trouble. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try to drink a gallon of milk in an hour. All I remember from the last time I did that was a lot of laughs.