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May Was Personal History Awareness Month, And I Missed It

June 4, 2014

Would I lie about something like that? (Hey, Google it, dammit. It WAS!) It’s important to be aware of one’s personal history. I try to be aware of my personal history as often as possible. Unfortunately, I forgot all about it last month. I was too busy throwing away all of the term papers I didn’t read and entering final grades into the system. I guess you could say that I spent a lot of my time in the first week of May creating personal history for my students.

Enough about their personal history. I’ve got my own personal history, and I have a lot of it. Ask my wife. Worse, ask my mother. She’s eighty-five years old and every time I visit, she can’t remember my name. She doesn’t confuse me with any of my three brothers (or my sister, thank God). Oh no. She beckons me with a reminder of my personal history. The whole family was gathered for Easter dinner a few years ago ,and my mother wanted my attention.

“You. The one who broke the Tiffany lamp back in 1964! Could you stop talking and pass the roast beef that you hacked to pieces?” (Here we go. Another entry onto the ledger of my life of crime). She hasn’t used that one for awhile. She saves the Tiffany Lamp Incident  for special occasions. I should quit trying to set the record straight about that one. Any response just raises more questions.

—Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? Ralphie (my older brother) was beating me with Fletcher (our cat) and I was getting my eyes clawed out. It was me or the lamp!

“Ralphie wasn’t even there at the time, were you, sweetheart?”

My brother Ralph has a clean blotter. The firstborn of our family has never done anything wrong, and at middle age, he still won’t ‘fess up to the Tiffany Lamp Incident. If you believe my mother, his personal history reads like the Lives of the Saints.

“I was with you, Mom,” Ralph said.

I let it go. We’re all grown up now.

I’m surprised that nobody mentioned Personal History Month during the last faculty meeting. There’s always some sort awareness week.

Maybe everyone else was too busy throwing away unread student papers and making up students’ personal history too. My colleagues criticize me for acting detached. Maybe it’s true. Next May, I’ll remind everyone of Personal History Awareness Month in a departmental memorandum and urge everyone to disclose something very personal about himself at the next faculty meeting.

Wow. I’ve got something to look forward to now.

Post script: As I look on the list of notable things on the list, I see that May was also Self-Discovery Month. What in Hades is that? Was I supposed to have spent a month looking for myself? I guess it’s sort of like twenty-five years ago when we were all urged to get in touch with our “inner child”. I was really bummed out when I found out that he had left the country and was last seen building sand castles on a beach on Tahiti.

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