Embellished memory

March 11, 2011

Andrew Hicks

Upon noticing I picked it as my top blog post so far, my wife finally read the account of the night I met her. And pronounced it entirely inaccurate. I guess I got the basic facts right — we were each at Ameristar Casino by ourselves, I went over to talk to her after finding out she’d gotten a quarter jammed in the player card slot, we bonded over Phil Hartman, she came back to my place after as “just friends hanging out.”

But apparently, my entire account was based on the fallacy of me saying I’d already noticed her down there and determined she had some unique form of beautiful insanity. In my version, I was some kind of hawk-eyed lothario who had a premonition of destiny. In her version, I didn’t notice her until she flagged down the bartender.

And, you know, it’s been almost four years now. Every time I tell a friend, acquaintance or customer the story of meeting my wife, it’s based on the version I told the time before, all the way back to the original time I told it. And every time until I wrote and published it on the Internet, Tiffany wasn’t there to say, “That part’s not true,” “He never said that,” or, “Lemme tell you how it REALLY happened.”

So how much is an actual memory, and how much is a personal urban legend, tweaked in a compounded fashion over the years? I honestly don’t know. There are those romantic occasions where she’s in my arms, and she’s like, “Tell me what you remember about this or that momentous event,” and my memory is a vague blur beyond the most basic details.

Nothing kills a romantic mood like, “The first time I kissed you? Well, let’s see, I was drunk. I remember that.” Then I go off on an intricately detailed tangent about the dive bar we were in the first time we kissed and how amazing the jukebox was there, complete with a list of about 50 favorite songs. Way more details about the jukebox than the kiss, and then I get to sleep on the couch for a week.

I have an account of the night I met Tiffany that was written in 2007, a few months after the fact. Tiffany says that version is way better than my new, incorrect version. I can’t really remember much about the original account. It’s on a plastic floppy disc (remember those?), and I’ll get it uploaded to my hard drive before too long. Then I can share that version, put the two side by side, and let readers decide which is better.

Meantime, I’ve challenged Tiffany to write a rebuttal account titled “The Night I Met My Husband, The Liar.”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Silas wearing his invisible frumpy frock.

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