Escape

My life is replete with embarrassing moments, when I have over-reached, or let myself down, or simply put my foot in it.  When these moments surface in memory, I feel the pressure of the embarrassment and have to let it escape through sound.  My wife has learned to recognize these little grunts, hisses, or moans, and takes delight in wheedling from me what memories habe arisen unbidden.  (To her credit, she never uses them against me. She has a full arsenal of things I’ve done in her presence, and so no need to shell me with the old stuff.)

Like the time I took my roommate’s camera and shot the entire roll, lied about it – but when the film was developed I had been stupid enough to take a picture of a mirror that caught the side of my face.

Or the time I borrowed an outboard motor from a fellow yachtsman only to flip it off the dinghy into the shallow water, so that the owner had to spend all afternoon taking it apart and cleaning it, in full view of my red-faced self.

I am split in this – in almost every case I could name, and even those that are recent, or so egregious they would never make these pages, I can see that they are funny, or just sad.  But still, when they come up, they create such inward pressure bordering on pain that can only be expelled via a little groan.

I suppose this is a form of conscience; I suppose this is how we learn, but the phenomenon, this moment of psychosomatic pressure is interesting to me – what is happening inside?  The memory bobs to the surface, and the dissonance between  the hero one wants to be and the buffoon one is becomes temporarily unbearable.

And the groan serves what?  Is it like a fart of the brain, relieving pressure?  A form of prayer – Please God, make me one with my illusions again?

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