HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3

Useless Memories

John W. Pinkerton


While watching an episode of The Simpsons, I noticed some boxes in the background of one scene labeled “Useless Memories.”  Heck, I’ve got those.  They’re not stored in boxes; they bounce around in my mind getting in the way of useful stuff.  Useless memories are those which never seem to disappear yet from which I have learned nothing...they’re useless.

I guess the number one type of useless memory are those of old girlfriends.  Well, I guess most of those folks weren’t “girlfriends”: they were more like girls I dated.  But I do think of them ocassionally.  They never age.  The one I guess I could classify as an old girlfriend kind of scares me.   Still she peers at me out of the fog of my memory pushing aside useful memories.  Spooky.

Another useless memory involves people of questionable character.  I encountered a few while I was in school, a few more when I was in the army, several while teaching, and a few in other pursuits.

I recall a Sergeant Major who made the duty roster visually; if he saw you, you went on duty.  He didn’t see me for over a month.  Hmmm...I guess that memory isn’t useless.    

In education, there were several people I need to forget.  Most were administrators, many were coaches, and a few were teachers.  The problem with the administrators is that most of them weren’t really suited for the job or really didn’t want to do the job.  Coaches are coaches: nuff said.  The problem with teachers is similar to the administrators: wrong job or lack of desire to do the job.  Some of these folks pop up in my memory on a regular basis.  Why, darn it?

Relatives can be pretty objectionable, and they never seem to go away. 

Linda and I were in the 544 Club in New Orleans one evening where Gary Brown and his band were providing the entertainment.  A couple got up on the tiny dance floor.  They both had “country” written all over them.  They clung to each other like wet dishcloths.  I imagined that they had slipped away from their dirt poor rural homes to meet in New Orleans for illicit sex.  Even the band members smiled and looked away from them.  It was creepy.  It still haunts me.

While playing golf at the Copperas Hollow Country Club, we were joined by a fellow and a woman riding a cart together.  We asked them if they wished to finish the few holes left together.  Sure.  She wasn’t playing.  He wasn’t playing well.  He quickly and proudly made it clear that he was married and the woman he was with was not his wife.  Holy crap, dirt ignorance on a stick.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like I needed a shower than I did at that moment.  We soon parted company, but I  filed him away as another useless memory.

Years ago, I found that I needed gas in a somewhat scary part of Houston.  While the gas was pumping, I headed for the restroom.  When I opened the door, a heavy set man brushed by me on his way out.  Closing the door behind me, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thickest, sweetest odor I had ever smelled.  “Strong” is not a strong enough word.  When I left the restroom, I returned to the normal objectionable smells of Houston and realized that the odor was marijuana.  The thought of the fellow choosing a gas station restroom among the nastiness which often accompanies service station restrooms for his place of pleasure bothered me, and I would classify this as a useless memory.

Memories not worth having include the following: watching the owner of a furniture store who did his own local television commercials and promised customers “dishrags” instead of dishcloths as incentives to lure customers into his establishment;  encountering a man loitering near a telephone booth who refused to lend me 25 cents so that I could make a telephone call for assistance after running out of gas;  watching a lady behind a drugstore counter who did such a disgusting job of making my malt that I paid and departed without drinking it; being chewed out by small town country club folks for violating their local rules;  stopping off in a grocery store/beer joint where my friends and I  sat next to a midget, a large fellow wearing only overalls, and a girl who looked like Daisy Duke;  being lectured by South Americans about the foolishness of regular baths;  folks voting for Obama ...twice; being locked in a quick-stop grocery store because of a shop lifter, not me.  Thanks, guy. 

Well, you get the picture; what the heck am I to make of the odd pieces of memory?  I can’t think of anything useful to make of them.  Help!  Make them go away!