Now I have a memory that looks, and feels, like downtown Grozny. Proust was able to convert his memories into the most turgid, long-winded tomes of literature ever produced. My Remembrances of Things Past would barely make novella-length. The good memories would fill half a page. Thats why Memento was so scary for me to watch. Ive been making notes and lists to myself for years now. I carry a small dictaphone with me at all times so that I dont forget what Im think -ing. Marijuana has got to be the most evil drug in the world. I am always shocked when I read about some supposedly progressive Westerner who wants to legalize that foul weed. I say, lets hold hearings on the matter. Ill be like that Kuwaiti girl who testified before Congress 10 years ago about the Iraqi atrocities... Ill testify about marijuanas atrocities on my mind.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, its true. Because I smoked so much sens, shake, homegrown and lumbo gold as a kid, I cannot remember the last teenager I deflowered here in Moscow, even though something tells me it was only a few months ago. Gasps, cries of Good God! and That poor soul! Gavel pounds...order is restored.
Senator Hollings: Mr. Ames, if I am to understand you correctly, you deflowered a Russian teenager just a few months ago. Is that correct sir?
To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Senator, that is correct.
She was a virgin, Mr. Ames?
That is correct, Mr. Senator. To the best of my knowledge.
Can you, er, tell the Senate please what it was like? In great detail please, Mr. Ames.
Mr. Senator, unfortunately, no, I cannot.
And why is that, Mr. Ames.
Because, Mr. Senator, I smoked too much marijuana as a child. I have no solid recollection, Mr. Senator, sir. My memory is wasted.
Damn that foul weed!
Nuke Humboldt County!
Paraquat the entire planet!
Death to pot dealers!
If I may, Senator, I believe that the Catherine Wheel is an appropriate punish -ment for dealing a dime bag or less. Larger dealers, pot farmers and so on, they should be nailed to cactus trees and left to die.
Can we do that?
Yet blaming marijuana doesnt quite explain everything. Why are all the bad mem-ories still raw, why havent the good memories of the past 10 years created an uncrossable moat and driven the bad ones far off? Are good memories just inher-ently weak compared to bad memories? Or is marijuana so evil that its a SMART drug, destroying only good memories, preserving the bad. Or are sex and drugs just a waste of time in the battle against death?
Maybe. But in a way thats irrelevant. Food is also a waste of time, sleep is a waste of time. But that doesnt mean you stop eating and sleeping. Sex and drugs, if you can do either of them, are overrated by the artists, but they do take up space where pain could be, and even if they dont resonate into the future, they sure feel damn good in the present tense.
The only thing that outlasts bad memories, Im realizing, is leaving something for the permanent record. Like the eXile, the book and newspaper. Its the only thing I can still touch and feel. Its the only thing as powerful as a horrible memory know -ing especially how annoying this books and newspapers continued existence must be to all the assholes Ive ever crossed. Its on the permanent record. Which means that over the next year, and beyond, the only thing left to do is work on books, books you can hold up to your enemies, or to the hospice volunteer who will someday sit by my bed, because books are the only good memories that dont fade, that dont need Ubik spray to bring to life.
Over the next ten days, I have some hellish corporeal blowouts planned. After that, summer ends. A summer of which I have almost no memory.