A couple of weeks ago, one of the prettiest girls from my high school class posted a photograph of her mother on Facebook. I commented on the photo and said “the thing I always remember about your mother is that she thought Steven Tyler was singing ‘do the funky lady’ instead of ‘dude looks like a lady.'” My classmate laughed and said she was glad I remembered these things for her.
Oh boy, do I. Given sufficient time, I could probably remember 90% of any encounter I ever had with any attractive girl or woman ever. The problem is, I don’t just remember innocuous stuff like above, or pitter-pat stuff like this. I remember turning over a glass of tea at Olive Garden in 1988 like it was yesterday. At a movie in 1993, I remember holding a girl’s hand at exactly the wrong time, instantly and permanently dooming any possibility of future time spent together. I remember talking to and accidentally spitting on my favorite girl’s nose in 1981.
I can get in the moment and cringe just as readily as if these things just happened. These are individual pixels in an image that contains many millions of them, and my life turned out great. Why do these silly little happenings—tiny events that do not inform my current situation whatsoever—stay so viscerally reactive? Have I accidentally kept them charged, periodically remembering them?
My kids are so much cooler than I was at their ages. I was at least 24 before I spoke and acted with any real confidence—not just with women, but with life in general. I think I see them ahead of my curve.