But was it really all thus? Shakespeare describes memory as the warder of the brain, but it is also its courtesan. We all remember the parts of the past that allow us to meet the future. The prototypes of the lie—white, grievous, practical—make themselves known when memory is called to answer. Memory usually answers back with bullshit. Everyone likes a good story, especially the one who is telling it, and the historical facts are generally sullied in the process. All men mean well, and clearly most people who set out to tell the truth do not lie on purpose. How is it, then, that every warm bar stool contains a hero, a star of his own epic, who is the sum of his amazing stories?
|The star of his own epic...|
Truth is singular and lies are plural, but history—the facts of what happened—is both immutable and mostly unknowable. Can I somehow remember enough to type my way to an unvarnished recitation of what happened to me? No chance.
Image via (the great) Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.