@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
The Things You Don’t Remember
Is the mind a terrible thing to waste?
But then I learned that my memories too can be altered, most obviously due to the aftermath of my Aunt and Uncle’s divorce (I was in my late teens at the time of the divorce). This separation was more bizarre than nasty, and it’s a hell of a story, but not mine to share. I remember when we found out about it, my brother and I went to the backyard to discuss the situation over a joint, about how we wished we lived closer to our cousins (this part of my large family lived out of state), so we could be there for them. We felt useless in helping anyone out, mostly, because we were.
Later, my mind did something strange. My former Aunt, whom I’ve zero contact with now, became erased from many of my memories. I still have the memories. The family parties, the trips to the beach, and museums. I remember them well. I remember how I felt, what I saw, and laughing continuously at my Uncle’s quit wit and sarcasm. I even remember his jokes! My former Aunt was there, of course, I know it. But I stopped seeing her there when I played the past in my head. It’s as though my mind “eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” itself. My head photoshopped her out of places and times we were together. Weird, right? Not exactly. It’s actually pretty common. Her face is somewhat pixelated in my mind, as though I can see her from a distance without wearing my glasses. The details of her face are lost on me, although I can still clearly remember her laugh. She has a great laugh. I sometimes selfishly wish she would be at one of my shows. I know she’d laugh really hard. It’s sad, because I loved her, and in some way, under my calloused heart, probably still do.
It’s not unusual for the brain to block out pain. Physical pain or emotional pain.
This is a favor your brain does for you. But it does raise the question: how trustworthy is the mind? In my early years as a stand up, when I got off stage and someone asked me how it went, I’d say, “I don’t know.” I wasn’t trying to be a smart ass nor was I fishing for compliments. I genuinely did not remember. All I remembered was my name being called, and then walking off stage. Did I tell my jokes? Did I get laughs? There may be a hundred sets I have no recollection of (also, I never drank before I went on stage in those early years, and I had quit smoking weed, so this can’t be blamed on substances). Probably the only reason I’m still a comic is because I can’t remember how horribly I bombed in those early years. However, I do remember the first time I met any comic I admire. I remember where we were and what they said to me, and sometimes what they were wearing, or how the venue smelled, it’s almost creepy. I also vividly remember when comics I idolized complimented my jokes. My head filmed those moments and bottled them for safe keeping, knowing I might need them later, when I’ve felt lost and hopeless.
Nowadays, I remember my sets. Probably all too well. Any day I do comedy, the comedy is usually the part I remember best. The rest of the day could be a complete wash. Especially if in the midst of a depressive mood. In such times, there can be days I remember almost nothing. Not going to work, not conversations I had, not gigs I did, not what or if I ate sometimes. You exist in a fog.