My Earliest Memory

It is very dark. I am lying on my back in my crib. I have said all the words I know but one. I cannot remember one word. I say them all again, but the same word still will not come to me. I try again. Mommy, who always tells me the word I cannot remember, is in the next room. I know that, because it is dark and she is always there when it is dark. But she is not telling me the word.

I say all the words again, still missing the one.

Mommy speaks. “Hush!” she says. “Be quiet. Go back to sleep!”

She does not tell me the missing word.

I am upset and frustrated.

Why doesn’t she tell me the word like she always does? What is wrong? How will I know what it is? Is it lost forever? What if I lose more words before she tells me?

I cannot go back to sleep. I think, “If I were big, I would help, even in the dark.”

I was ten months old. My mother recorded the event in my Baby Book, which I still have.

About Self-Pity

Here’s something our (girls) mothers never told us: One of a man’s most important characteristics is his capacity to feel sorry for himself.

Girls should be trained to observe, query, and rate all prospective mates on this trait before serious involvement with them. It is more important than material wealth, good looks, appreciation of good cooking, compatibility in areas of thinking and feeling, desire to have children, political position, educational level, job ranking, income, types of entertainment enjoyed, love-making ability, or any of the other traits women are taught are important.

Men cannot “let go” of past hurts; each hurt serves as kindling for the fires of current felt pain and tribulation. The more past hurts there are, the greater the burden of self-pity becomes, until—finally—the poor sod cannot sustain even a pretense of a relationship in the present. He views it as yet another failure he can add to his list of reasons for which he feels sorry for himself.

Self-pity can make or break a relationship. The more willing a man is to wallow deeply in self-pity, the less willing he is to invest himself in an on-going relationship of any nature. That’s all there is to it.

Oh, the stories I could tell …. But then I would sound like a man, wouldn’t I?

Actually, I’m pretty sure the same things can be said of women. But I’m not talking about women, right now. Another day, maybe?