Tuesday, April 05, 2005

On This Date in 1986 . . .

For many, many good reasons, I have never kept a diary or a journal or any written document that might specifically connect me to certain events I'd rather not recall or about which I would prefer that no one know. Somewhere, Freud suggests that a "secret" diary is not in fact intended to be secret at all, that the very act of inscribing "the secret" implies a wish — always, of course, unconscious, unacknowledged, distorted or denied — to be discovered, or caught, or exposed. As a historian, I think archivally and keep massive collections of old papers I've written, articles I've read, souvenirs I've acquired from my numerous adventures around the world, photos and receipts that no sensible person would keep. As a deeply repressed and paranoid person, however, I have made sure that none of those artifacts would be useful in the least to anyone wanting to understand my "inner life." If you really must know, I simply do not have one. It's pretty blank in there, really. Nothing to see; move along now.

And yet.

I recently found, buried in a box of shit in my office, a calendar that I annotated throughout the consistently awful year of 1986. Each day, in the tiny block of whiteness, I wrote a couple of sparse phrases indicating what — if anything — happened on that day. Why 1986? Who knows. If I remember properly, 1985 gave me no good reason to think my life would hit an upswing the following year, so I can't explain why I chose 1 January 1986 as the time to start chronicling my sophomore and junior years of high school. And there was certainly nothing profound to document that year, as entries like these would suggest:
February 7 Boring.
February 25 Daniel's Birthday. Beat the shit out of Clyde Trent's team in volleyball. Dickhead.
March 14 Mom won't let me go to the fuckin' mall.
And so on. It continues like this throughout the year, a stream of meaningless, incoherent references to people I don't remember, punctuated with the outbursts of boredom and hostility of which only 15-16 year olds and regular meth users are capable. Then, for whatever sensible reason, I chose not to do this again, ever.

Because I have nothing else to offer you today — so sick of the ongoing Pope-apalooza and the horizonless stupidity of Tom DeLay and so many others — I'm offering you, without comment, the first installment of "On This Date in 1986," courtesy of my 1986 Roanoke Catholic High School calendar:
April 5, 1986 Met Chip, Tilo, Jim, Pizza Man, [and] two dudes from N.Y. Almost got into a fight at party.