The Past Ain’t What It Used To Be

There is a story I’ve told many times over the years.  Not a story, really.  More of an explanation, as to why I didn’t eat sushi until I was in my late 20s.  When I was 20 years old,  I spent three months traveling around the world by ship.  Our first stop was in Japan, and our first night in Japan we went to an authentic, old-school Japanese restaurant (leave your shoes by the door, sit on the floor around the low table.)  The more experienced eaters in our group ordered all kinds of sushi, which I had never tasted.  The first thing I tried, my story continues, was the octopus.  In my story, I describe it.  In detail.  Chewy, tough, rubbery.  I hated it so much that I didn’t try sushi again until I was 27, when my friends eased me in with cucumber rolls.

It’s a cute little story, I suppose.  And, as I mentioned, I’ve told it often enough.  There’s only one problem.

It’s not true.

Yes, I was in Japan when I was 20 and I was at that restaurant (I have pictures.)  And, for all these years, I truly believed the rest of my own story, too (otherwise I wouldn’t have told it.)  But I recently picked up my old journal from those travels and read an entry from Japan, which describes the night in question.  Without equivocation, it states the following fact (and I quote):  “I didn’t touch the octopus.”

Wow.  That threw me.  It’s the starkest example I’ve ever experienced of how faulty, how patently false, my memory can be.

I’m left wondering what other parts of my past I’ve imagined, but then I’m also reminded of a line from an old TV show that a friend of mine always liked:

“If dreams and memories sometimes get confused,
maybe that’s the way it should be.”

One Response to “The Past Ain’t What It Used To Be”

  1. Josh Says:

    This explains so much revisionist history …

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