8mm 'Big Fish' Clips
Mom calls me up every year on the 12th of June. This year it was a Sunday. I woke up and got ready for the meeting, half expecting my phone to ring. I even wondered whether or not I would pick it up if it did. But it didn’t. I left the house a quarter after 9, arriving at the Hall in time to set up the sounds and mark the song on the CD player.
Lately I’ve been thinking about all the things that I can actually remember now. I can remember a time when all I could remember were fuzzy childhood memories, just short clips, faded like an 8mm home video. These memories were so choppy that they were practically half truths in my mind.
Like the time when Aunty Joei-Mae watched a baby named Jester Candelerio. He was 2 years younger than me, and in my 8mm memory he was just a newborn, so I couldn’t have been more than 3. I remember Jester crying, and Aunty Joei holding him in her left arm, patting his back. She walked into the kitchen to bounce him to sleep. His tiny fingers curled around her dangly earrings, and he pulled on them as he cried himself to sleep. In my mind, I always connected that fuzzy 8mm memory with Aunty Joei’s earlobes. When I was 8, I noticed that the earring holes in her ears were long. They were long because Jester had tugged on them until he fell asleep when I was 3 years old.
Have you ever seen the movie ’Big Fish’? It’s about a guy who tries to figure out which of his dad’s stories were real, and which of them were blown out of proportion. In the end he realizes that in all of those ’big fish’ tales, there was some truth. I remember a time when all I could remember were those fuzzy half-truth ‘big fish’ tales. But now I can think of all the memories that are no longer a kid’s 8mm edited version of reality. Now I can think about all the things that I actually remember.
But anyway, getting back to last week Sunday when I half expected a phone call from mom. I got home from the meeting and checked my messages, and sure enough she’d left me a voicemail. “Hi JR, this is mom.” She was on Oahu, helping Wendy and Jared out with their newborn baby, Riley-Joy. “I was just calling to ask you what it feels like to be a quarter of a century old.” I smiled.
I was happy that she’d called. I’d be worried if she didn’t. But I was annoyed at the reminder. Now my car insurance premium, (if I had a car to insure), wouldn’t be affected by my age bracket. Or actually it would, because now I fit into the bracket of males that are not as statistically wreckless in their driving habits. And now I could rent a car from any rental company without having to pay extra because now, as mom so kindly pointed out, I was a quarter of a century old.
As I write this, I can hear the kids playing on the lawn outside. It’s summer break, they’ll be out all day for the next couple months, playing around, running, screaming, filing away fuzzy, half-truth, big-fish, 8mm tales of their own. I wonder if, a quarter of a century from now, they’ll remember the ’old guy’ who would walk out of his apartment every Sunday morning a quarter after 9, dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase.
In retrospect, I guess I should call mom and tell her that it’s not so bad to be a quarter of a century old. I could be younger, and still clinging onto fuzzy half-truth memories, unsure of where the line between the fantastical and realistic should be drawn. I could be older now, two quarters of a century old, pining even more about the unfairness of aging in this imperfect world. But instead I’m just 25, fresh, young, experiential 25. And now I can take some time out to sit back and enjoy all the things that I actually remember.