5/30/2008
Pre-recorded highlights

They say that when death is imminent, scenes from your life will flash in your head in rapid succession. I don't know whether that only happens in movies, but that's how I think it goes anyway. Perhaps it's a way for us to remember what supposedly matters so that it's easier to answer questions that we'll be asked in the after life. Then again, this would be the hardest myth for Mythbusters to try to verify. Perhaps unethical, too.

But there are times in our lives when we are given the chance to look back at what we've done and failed to do. Of course, with this comes the ability to actually choose which scenes we look back on - a doubly-impossible task when your body starts pulling off plugs - and when all is done, forget everything else. The argument, of course, lies in which scenes we choose to remember and reminisce on.

Some say that the official stuff is all that matters. That's why they're designated as such: it's something (almost) universally recognized and it gets you somewhere. It keeps you in safe hands, and gets you looking pristine clean, or at least deserving to be such. It's the things that nobody could possibly object to - if somebody else said it, it must be true - and everybody can recognize you with. Safe, perhaps, but straightforward and clear in the message it says.

Some may contend that it's in the smallest of details. You can't just be called something-of-this-and-that without striving, and perhaps you're better off remembering how you got there. It's some cliché when they say that you learn the most from your mistakes, but who can help it? Failure means less recognizability in most cases - a spectacular downfall the most obvious exception - and the most memories, however bitter they may be. You're brave if that's what you choose, and you're lucky if you've been through more successes. Or, perhaps, close calls. They're easier to laugh at.

Some believe that it's in the most mundane of things. They call it sweet nothings, and it normally works the gamut from the phone call that didn't go well to the radio guesting that nobody knew about. They're better off forgotten, or some say, and if you knew these things a decade later, then you're mushy. The same goes if you associate your life with the opening notes to Bizarre Love Triangle. It's fluff, but you can't help it either; usually these things keep you sane when nobody else wants you to. And these things make you look insane, too.

Whatever you choose defines who you are, and what you value the most, and the slightest gaffes in your head. Of course, reactions will be mixed once you begin to enter the fine line between unreachability and all-out sentimentality, but in the end, it's what you choose that becomes your own reality. You can choose to tell your children about the award you got from the president, or about the girl you imagined holding hands with while walking by the skating rink, and it will definitely stay. Nobody can do anything about the rest you decide to shut out - the things you decide to erase into obscurity. That's why you get to choose in the first place.

Undeniably, though, someone will think that something else happened. You should've talked about us more than yourself, perhaps. Maybe you should've talked about the good mistakes more. It's a history book, perhaps an audiobook if you're lucky, but all we get to hear are pre-recorded highlights, and once it's done, forward we go to the next four months, or maybe further, leaving the forgotten behind. And if you ask me to do it with you again tomorrow, I'll ask you if you really, really mean it.

And your responses...

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