The most famous story in my family has always been told about my sister Tina. Everyone knows this story.
When we were little, living in Arizona (we lived pretty well out in the boonies up in Flagstaff for a time), our family was extra extra poor. Fresh red meat was something we didn’t get a lot of. Once, we managed to acquire a pair of goats.
Goats are ridiculously cute. So, imagine how easily a group of little kids might bond with the cute animals, and how devastated they might be when it came time for their parents to kill one for the family to eat.
The story is told that as mom and dad prepared the goat for slaughter, we kids hid under the porch, crying and wailing. “Don’t kill the goat, Daddy!” It was traumatic.
But then… meat. Fresh meat. Delicious, tender, beautiful meat. Meat prepared in a variety of ways that were just the best meals ever. Roasts. Tacos. That shit was amazing.
Time to kill the second goat.
By this point, we’d had even MORE time to bond with this animal. And, again, as mom and dad prepared themselves, we kids found ourselves under the porch – crying and wailing.
So there are mom and dad. The goat is tied down. Mom is holding the rope. Dad has the gun.
Dad readies his shot, and right as he pulls the trigger, mom loses the rope and the goat jerks itself out of the way.
The story goes that as soon as she saw this happen, Tina jumped out from under the porch and shouted, “Shoot him again, Daddy! Shoot him again!”
Here is where we learn that memory is a funny thing.
Because of my ADD, I can forget what I had in my hand five minutes ago. I am constantly losing the simplest things. Sometimes when they’re still in my hand. (Have you ever been on the phone with someone, and begin panicking because you can’t find your phone? Yeah. That’s me.)
In addition, if I am simply told something, it runs the risk of going in one ear and out the other. It just doesn’t process for me.
However, if I read something? Or if I write something down? I will remember it.
I’ve been writing things down for as long as I can possibly remember. Which means, I remember everything.
That story? It never felt right to me. It clicked as “wrong” in my brain. But EVERYONE around me just KNEW that the story was truth as they were telling it. So I shook my head and went with the collective memory of that event.
I was a Freshman in high school when I pulled out my baby book to look something up.
There? In my dad’s handwriting, written in my baby book, was the (abbreviated) story of how I said, “Shoot him AGAIN, Daddy!”
This is why I say that memory is a funny thing.
Even with the proof in front of them, my family still can’t remember that story any way but that which they’d always believed. In their memory, that story is about Tina.
It’s hard to be the only person to remember the truth of something. I get that a lot.