Today the dog leaped over the creek after treeing a cat. I was struck by his graceful confidence, which, though I love this dog, seems a confidence wholly unearned. He made it fine, though.

On Twitter, I saw a person recounting a story of her elderly grandmother’s surprisingly progressive response to a relative’s life situation, the whole family, really, way back in the early 1900s.

I didn’t quite believe the story. It seems a little too perfectly aligned with our politics today and less so with what I know of the politics of the time. On the other hand, who knows? The world is a big place and people have been surprising in it a long time.

But then someone jumped down the storyteller’s throat about how the terminology the grandmother had used in the story–remember, a story recounted as having happened in the early 1900s–was hurtful.

Which, I have to say, is pretty damn likely, being as it was the early 1900s.

And then the storyteller apologized and said she had made a mistake trying to cram the whole story into 140 characters and the grandmother had actually said the thing we would say now.

And then I knew the story was bullshit. But no one else seems to. They’re all just pleased about the apology.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter that the story is bullshit?

I don’t know. I have a hard time knowing if things I remember are real–partially because I think I do genuinely have a shitty memory and partially because I have been trained since childhood to believe that there is always some generous way to interpret a situation that will explain the behavior of assholes, so I have always found my own memories and feelings about things suspect. But that’s why I want to know things, true things. I want to see for myself things I can count on. Even if they’re painful or imperfect.

So, I can’t understand this other impulse to have a story–passed off as true–that probably isn’t true, but tells us that how things are now is how they always have been, we’ve just been denying it.

One thought on “Leap

  1. Memory is a tricky thing. You can only interpret a thing in real time according to what you already know, whereas in memory you can interpret including what you’ve learned. It’s also easily conflated with wishes and dreams.

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