My Name is Joe – Pt. 1

A search of for the word “memory” comes up with 50 hits – almost a quarter of the posts on the blog. Hardly surprising, when one thinks that in the weeks following The Event, I couldn’t remember my age, where I was, who the person in the chair next to my hospital bed was, or whether or not I was the Vice President of the United States.

Needs to stay clear of D.C. till some shit blows over.
“I’m in Mexico, and if anyone asks, my name is Ricky Monahan Brown. If you catch my drift.”








Eventually, memories come back. Even now, Beth notices that my memories of thirty or more years ago seem to be more readily accessible than those from this week. Maybe you find the same thing.

For example, you probably remember being lost in a large store or a mall as a child. I recently discovered that over 80% of people in Britain share this memory. For me, the store was John Menzies on Princes Street. Menzies’ had a great toy department, and I was lost in contemplation – probably of some Batman-related item – as my mother tried to hurry me along.

Or am I?
I’m not your mom.

Then, something like this little vignette involving Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes ensued.

What was your experience like? Were you lost in a toy department like me? A supermarket, like Joe Strummer and The Clash? Or at a zoo, like Calvin, and presumably his creator, Bill Watterson?

And like my daughter.

When she was little, my daughter and I were on a trip to the zoo with a bunch of other parents and kids. I turned around to talk to another parent for, like ten seconds, and when I turned back again in a dark aquarium, she had disappeared.

Maybe your experience was more like hers – with no idea that you were even lost until a parent materialised at your shoulder chiding you for “wandering off”.

"Are you calling me a f*¢k1ng clown?!"
Old proverb says, “Even a fish can get lost in an aquarium.”

Whatever the exact form of your experience – drop me a line in the comments and let me know the details that made yours specific – it’ll make next week’s post more fun.

Last week, I wrote to readers of the Apoplexy Tiny Letter that Mrs Stroke Bloke and I had recently been to see Blade Runner: The Final Cut.

In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – the novel that loosely inspired Blade Runner – manufacturers of androids implant them with human memories to make them pass more convincingly as humans.

Pass more convincingly, that is, both to humans and to themselves. In Philip K. Dick’s world, if an android believes it is a human, it will act more like a human, and as a side effect is more likely to pass the tests to which it may be subjected by bounty hunters assigned to “retire” replicants who make it to Earth from Mars.

‘Does she know?’ Sometimes they didn’t; false memories had been tried various times, generally in the mistaken idea that through them reactions to testing would be altered.

Does anyone remember Sean Young?

Eldon Rosen said, ‘No. We programmed her completely. But I think towards the end she suspected.’

But that’s science fiction, of course…

Next week – Back in The Real World


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6 thoughts on “My Name is Joe – Pt. 1

  1. Madrid train station, 1977 maybe (so I was 6). I remember it mostly by my mother remembering it for the rest of her life, and recounting it on occasion. Never a store.

    (To date) the current offspring has not been more than 10 seconds until located.

    But that’s not the best memory of Spain. We ended up at a beach. 1977 as english tourists to a spanish beach we were on the cutting edge. And I remember strolling out on the beach and (since there was some mid sized hole in the sand floor and I was less than midsize) dropping under the ocean.

    From my mom’s perspective I guess I walked out the ocean and “plunk” disappeared below the waves.

    I don’t remember where we were in spain, but 3 summers ago in San Sebastian the docks looked familiar.

    Looking back on the scans of the pictures from my Mom I did after she passed, i see that Spain was labeled 1975. That can’t be right can it? I was 5? And looking at those pictures, it definitely wasn’t San Sebastian. But the beach was rocky.

    If you and Beth want I’ll send you a ridiculous photo of me age 5 in spain by email, not for social medias. lemme know.

    1. An English p(l)unk at the cutting edge in 1977, eh? (Or was it 1975?) And you’ve hit one of the interesting things, of course – is it what we generally call “a memory”, or a story remembered and recounted by your mom? Not that that really matters for the purpose of your remembrance. Or mine, when I remember my first day at kindergarten – it was pouring, and my mother stopped to pick up another parent and her daughter, who would each become our first best friends in Edinburgh. How could anyone not remember that torrential rain? Or the little white car. Except, doing the math, it must have been the green one, surely…?

      It’s like, I remember a friend telling me how his kid was sucked away from him in the tide at Coney Island and his terror as he watched his little boy fly past before the sea sent him back again. The idea of the pull is so strong, how could I not have experienced it as a little boy myself?

      And now, I guess, your memory plays out against the scene you saw three years ago?

  2. Ray lost me in a K Mart once. He was talking politics so I went to go look at the books. I didn’t know it was a problem, but I think he was freaked out and I wasn’t supposed to tell Kathy.

    1. So you immediately did, right? Or if you didn’t, better hope she doesn’t read BTL. (Hi, Kathy!)

      Did Ray specifically say, or did you just get the sense? I get the feeling that kids have a talent for sensing that sort of thing.

      [Note to self: Don’t discuss #EUref with Beth in a store.]

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