I have read quite a few memoirs recently. I wish I hadn’t. Because in every one of them, the authors think back on their lives, and recount the idyllic days of their youths, spent doing all kinds of things that sound so fulfilling and entertaining. I envy these people, because I can’t write a memoir about my youth, or any part of my life, really, because I don’t like to do anything.
Consider those who grew up in the country. They fished all day long in the summers. They helped their Moms with the garden. They hiked. They went on picnics. And that was summer! In the winter, they skated on the local pond. They went sledding. They made snowmen. They put on skis and glided through the woods.
Ok. I will take these one at a time. I hate worms. Seeing a fish with a hook through its mouth makes me so sad for him/it. Fish cooking smells fishy. So much for spending the day on the lake. Plus, I can’t swim. So if I were to fall OUT of the boat, I would be doomed. Gardening? My gosh—the mosquitoes! And you have to bend over. Bending over hurts my back. Plus, I hate to ruin my manicure. Granted, I didn’t have manicures when I was a kid, but back then, I didn’t like spending time with my mother that much, either. Forget the gardens. Hiking? In the woods? Good God, there is wildlife out there! I grew up in West Virginia, where there were lots of snakes and other deadly things in the woods. And again—mosquitoes. Scratch the hiking.
Winter activities? My ankles are too weak for skating. In about five minutes, they ache like hell. Sledding is ok, but it takes about 20 seconds to race down the hill, and then you have to HIKE back up. Plus, after a very short time, your gloves get all wet, your hands freeze, and your face goes numb. Not fun, much. Skiing? Forget it! It’s exhausting, and invariably, your legs give out way before you get back to the lodge and a hot mug of cocoa.
You see, I just don’t like much of anything. All the things that make memoirs great reading involve the kinds of things that I just listed–the very things from childhood that I hate! Apparently, exciting adults like the same stuff. But adults do it all over the world, like skiing in Switzerland, hiking up some huge mountain in Africa, or fishing along the Amazon.
My memoir would involve other challenges. Things that I find exciting. But I would guess that they wouldn’t make good reading. For instance, I would bet a hundred dollars that I could go into a Sears department store and find a quilt and pillow shams just as stylish as the ones in Crate and Barrel at half the price! I would champ at the bit for such a challenge! But fodder for a memoir? Probably not.
Here’s another thrill for me: I can demolish a “to-do” list as fast as the speed of light! That’s right! Nobody is as single-minded as I am when it comes to this. As a matter of fact, I bet I could pack up a house full of belongings, get them on the moving truck, and unpack them at the other end, including hanging pictures and making all the beds, in one weekend FLAT. Show me the list. I can whip through it in no time! But would you read about this and be touched? Feel it reverberate through your soul? Nope.
Oh: the lost loves. Don’t get me started. All the best memoirs have at least one of those. The Frenchman who was a great lover but poor breadwinner—the artiste, you know. Or the moody college guy, who wrote poetry and smoked too much pot. The first husband, who had an affair with the next door neighbor, whom you discovered on your side of the bed with her underpants around her ankles, embracing said husband. I didn’t have any of those. My only lost love was the kid that I had a crush on in sixth grade. He never liked me back.
I guess I never branched out enough. My Dad used to tell me that “if you can’t be really good at something, then don’t do it.” So I didn’t.
So now, when it is the time of my life when a memoir might be appropriate, mine would be very short. More like a haiku:
No memoir for me
My life was too boring
It’s better to blog.