Monday, December 10, 2007

Dear Diary

I started keeping a diary about ten years ago after previous attempts to maintain one back in my college days of the Seventies were derailed by church activities and, to be honest, plain laziness. It's a lot of work to keep one of those things up with the kind of detail you think should be in it to keep future historians busy.

Of course, nowadays, blogs seem to be in vogue and shorter, less meaty sentences, keeping pace with our TV-addled, media-shortened attention span. I actually had someone a couple of years ago respond to one of my shorter self-analyzing entries by saying that people probably didn't read my stuff because it was rather long. God knows what we would do if we all had to read and write like some of our ancestors. In the old days, long sentences (that would probably be an entire chapter in a contemporary novel) were the norm and words with more than three syllables were not unusual.

Sometimes, however, being detailed in a diary isn't a good thing. I was reading last night in my first volume, running from 1997 until 2002, about happy times like vacations with my family and getting our dog, Emily, but also about sad and emotionally wrenching times like my father's by-pass operation, the notations about his left lung filling up with fluid from time to time afterwards that wasn't supposed to be serious until they went in and found that he was suffering from mesothelioma, the asbestos-induced, invariably fatal cancer that would take his life four months later and my mother's contemporaneous suffering from a cracked pelvis that was treated by the quack of a doctor who only prescribed aspirin and Tylenol for the intense pain it caused her. I wrote in my diary about the day I ran into my Dad's surgeon at the hospital and he told me about the prognosis and I essentially collapsed on a wall and put my hand over my mouth to keep myself from screaming; reading that refreshed the pain that I felt that day and didn't do a whole lot for my sunny disposition.

I guess that's the reason we write things down, for good or bad, to relive the experience and remember the persons and the times we went through so that later, when our ever-decreasing number of brain cells start taking those memories with them into the neverworld of forgetfulness, we'll have something to fall back on.

Of course, I could just wait for the movie version.

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