February 4, 1997 Tuesday
My birthday being ten days away, I would have least thought I’d be asked what I might like. No, I guess that is silly; after all, why plan so far in advance? Okay, I’ll stop deadpanning. Yet, I really wonder when Mom will get around to it. And I promise to keep Valentine’s Day simple this year. No roses are going in any lockers, or anywhere else for that matter.
It was quite awhile ago–I believe in September–that I described why I write this journal. More precisely, who I write this for. The most vital question was missed completely. Why do I write this thing, anyway?
The answer is as simple as it is complex. I write this journal for the same reason I have boxes upon boxes of personal items. The same reason the room is littered with objects I will never use again. The same reason I am copying news broadcasts at school. More than anything, I am hoarder. A memory hoarder. I will hold into the best kind of junk that is tied to some event.
Am I calling this journal junk? Of course not. Although some of the entries are–how can I say this?–less than my favorites. I write them nearly every day now, all the most mundane events that repeat again and again, add what humor I can, and serve it up as a personal entry. Now, am I ever going to care what day was “Hick Day,” or the exact amount of snow that fell last week? Probably not, yet if I get down almost everything, it will not be lost for later. My future self, I trust, can pick out the necessary bits. And, I don’t know what I will find interesting in the years to come. My point is that at least then I will have the opportunity to decide what was important, and what was not. All too often, we realize how much something means to us when it is gone. Or in this case, over.
The plan was to write this for myself, it’s true, as I’m the only one will likely appreciate, or understand it, the most. Years from now, I can just imagine myself reading these very pages, and I know not how I will react to these memories. Most likely I will have a warm fondness. Perhaps I will have a small bitterness for what I might have done differently. Maybe I will laugh softly at my youthful inexperience or perceptions. Maybe I will sitting there in an oversized chair made of space age materials, bracing, waiting for something that is still up coming in the story, yet to occur. And, the future me will be able to share it will others, far in my future. My wife, my kids, and friends not yet known. It will be my story, the detailed and complete chronicles. I have never thought if it like that until just now, but am I trying, to the best of my ability, to bring the past along with me.
I wrote this to show I am not the meek, hard, bumbling thing I often appear to be. Well, maybe in fact sometimes I am, but I know there is much more. I wanted to prove the blazing flame of thought, sensitivity, and wonder inside me, instead of the supposed … nothing?
It’s alright. I can give than impression, the look of a lost being without sense. That, I will not disagree with. Yet there is also an entirety of difference between what is perceived, and what is.
That fact is what drew me to the story of Flowers for Algernon. During the tale, Charlie was persistent that he had been a person even before the operation. Although he lacked his future intelligence, he was a person as much as any other. But please do not draw the parallel too far. I am not about to suggest I am some super-genius that is unjustly not given due credit. I really don’t know how smart I am, but it should make no difference. I am aware I perceive things differently than other people. Sometimes that’s an advantage, but other times it’s an utter hinderance. And I just don’t know the answer to my “uniqueness.” I try to convince myself of so many things: I am alright. I know what I am doing. Today I won’t mess up. Today I will be like–speak like–everyone else. It’s like trying to get a square peg in a round hole.
What do I want from this entire endeavor? I want people to know I believe in myself (even if I have funny ways of showing it). I believe in what I stand for. I wish them to know that I really knew more than they thought I did. At the moment, this moment, I am alive. With my entire life before me. I intend to make the most of it, and I’ll put that in writing.