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In college, Fred longed for the simple safety of high school, and romanticized his suburban town. He built up a catalogue of memories in his first years away from home – the first acid trip, sneaking into someone’s pool and skinny dipping, etc… He willfully burnt these loving, misguided memories onto his own consciousness, and they became archetypal. Through his twenties, he continued to pine, but now it was for high school and college combined. Fred became jaded and longed for those idealistic, heady discussions. Then when he turned 30, it got weird.
“I’ve lost my hustle,” he told an old friend over coffee. “Nothing’s exciting or dangerous anymore. But for the first time, the past doesn’t seem like it was any better than how things are now.”
Looking back at his twenties, they didn’t shimmer with authenticity. The surplus of memories had collapsed under its own weight. The archetypal experiences had compounded over the years, and calcified into banal cliché. He became embarrassed remembering all those nights he would get drunk in that bar in the East Village through his twenties, sitting there romanticizing his high school and college years with his friends.
“Yikes!” he thought. “I must have sounded like such a pretentious asshole! How vain, to have thought that the world cared about my own candyassed after-school special of a life.”
Fred realized that the romantic, cry in your beer stuff was less and less endearing as you got older, and vowed to nip it in the bud, at least in public. That was followed by a hollow, quiet thought: If he was ‘too old’ for the privilege of nostalgia, then wasn’t the relinquishment of all those memories just another act of vanity? And where was there to go from here, if he could even pull off that kind of emotional facelift? It was all bullshit – the present as much as the past.
In the next moment, he had that giddy, free feeling that comes when you realize that your whole perception of something has been false, for a long time.
Date Written: June 08, 2003
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 3