Thursday, May 6, 2010

From the Desk of Mr. Mike Henry


I love spam. It's like the obnoxious email version of the little engine that could. It just tries so hard to get your attention how could you not grow to love it. Who out there is clicking on these emails thinking "Y'know... I am entitled to this Ugandan Prince's millions" anyway? I guess that's just what our culture has become: A bunch of reality stars and free loaders. If I had to fit into one of those categories I would pick reality star. I think that in my own warped sense of reality I am operating at star level. That and I have too little money to have not spent it on something.

That's not really what I want to talk about today. I want to chat about the past. Not so much the past exactly as much as just a vague, fleeting, but powerful feeling of the past.

Every time the seasons change I get very wistful. The littlest things will instantly give me flashes of a time long passed that I am either longing for or just perplexed by. I think it's time for an example.

I was walking home from lunch the other day, listen to the Broadways, and staring at the ground. Just as I looked up (just to see where I was going) my vision framed a portion of the city that looked just like a part of Chicago. My brain suddenly raced through my mental Rolodex and came up with a time that my friends and I were walking down Clark on the way to a show at the Metro. I was instantly longing for that time.

One more.

I was playing SSFIV and a breeze came through the window just the way it would when I played Super Street Fighter II Turbo when I was 12. It was a perfect storm of breeze and game. I heard my dad mowing the lawn, my mom making something in the kitchen, and was waiting to go to Sleep Hollow pool (Yeah, I grew up in Sleepy Hollow.. What? What?!).

I realize that smells and sounds and other sensory events (Steven Seagal in Sensory Event: The Reckoning) can do this but these things don't usually trigger memories and longing this hardcore in me unless the seasons are shifting. If it's doing the summer-fall or the fall-winter transitions then I'm REALLY bad. It's an interesting thing because I really like it and really hate it at the same time. Sometimes it brings up specific memories that I may have forgotten or just something I want to recall. Other times it leaves me wanting for something I can't have.

I in no way want my life to be the life I once had. I love what I have going on. But, I think I'd like to warp back for a day or two. I don't want to live anything differently (no fading photos or righting wrongs) I just want to enjoy that time. As I get older I find myself feeling melancholy when thinking about things I have done, experienced, or been witness to - things specifically lost to time - that can't be shared with other people. There is a song by Less Than Jake that talks about something like this. The name escapes me now but it's about all their friends and favorite places that you (the mass version of you) will never experience and how they wish you could. What I feel is sort of along those lines.

What are other people going through? What kind of stories do they have? Do they hold up to mine? Are they as good as mine?

That's obviously a very self-centered line of questioning. There are a lot of people out there that have WAY better stories than me. But, that doesn't keep me from wanting to find a way to have them experience some of the cool shit I have seen/done/danced-with/high-fived/befriended.

I think that is ultimately where this wistfulness comes from. Things that are physically lost. Things that must rely on a weakening memory. Things that you want to keep in a time capsule, safe and fresh, for your friends, your kids, and your kids' kids to experience. That's why old people tell so many stories. They are longing for people to feel what they felt and to feel what they feel now when they look back.

Feeling a bit of this at 28 is not a good sign. When I'm 80 I'll just be a wreck mumbling about blogs and Deviant Art and Family Feud and... Actually Family Feud will most likely out live us all. It will just be cockroaches and Twinkies sitting around watching "The Feud".

"We asked 100 married cockroaches ... What's your family's favorite dish you make?"

"Uhh... I'm gonna have to say Twinkie."

"Good answer... good answer!"

"Show me Twinkie!"


I'm gonna go get some lunch. I didn't have time to proof-read this so thanks for making it this far.




Anton said...

As someone who is about to turn 28 in two days, this one hits pretty hard. Thanks man, I needed it.

Josh said...

I realize I'm going to sound like a spammer, but...

Have you ever considered that you may have seasonal affective disorder? It's a real thing. I have it. It's nothing medication can't fix.. or at least "help".

Hope that helps.