Tuesday, January 10, 2006

a rest

When I was small, my mother would recite poetry by memory - poems from when she was in grade school. I was amazed that she could remember them by heart. She told me teachers used to make children memorize them. I thought that was an unbelievable feat. My brain isn't wired for memory. Every single day I lose my keys. I can never remember to take medicine. I rely on my computer to remind me to eat.

I never did remember more than a line or two of poetry. The only one I can think of is,

"In Flander's Fields the poppies grow
Beneath the crosses row on row"

But that was only because I had to read it in front of the school for remembrance day in 7th grade and I practiced so much.

There was one other line of text I did memorize though. I was young - maybe 3rd or 4th grade. I often saw it in movies and heard it on the television.

Somehow I was enchanted.

"You are under arrest.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney.
If you can not afford one, one will be appointed to you.
Do you understand your rights?"

With great purpose I rehearsed it aloud. I would try it different ways: a menacing voice, out of breath, authorative, dissapointed. Barbie would arrest Ken, Ken would arrest Barbie. I would arrest one sibling, ordering the other to, "take them away!"

I don't know how it charmed an 8 year old girl. I never aspired to be in law enforcement (although I did love Jessica Fletcher from Murder she Wrote). I never once dabbled in theft. I never understood my own right to be silent, even though I did understand the price I paid for talking too much.

If I asked my therapist about it, he would say, "Well, I'm not sure. Any thoughts on that?"

I would say, "Every minute of my day was scheduled - my mother controlled everything. From that perspective I suppose this was a seductive speech, and evidently a relatively constructive way to exercise my own power."

I think I might be outgrowing therapy.


ChapFu said...

i have skewed views on therapy, but let's just say i ENCOURAGE your right to remain silent!

Anonymous said...

therapy? don't get me going.
when i was small the Communist Party made us memorize and recite dozens of poems...no, SCORES of poems about the heroism of "the people." we remembered all of them. we had to. that's how we did it.

how do you rely on your machine to remind you to eat? i rely on mine to remind me how much i loathe it.


Rachel said...

J, is that you in the pic?

Amp: can you still recite them now? I wonder how that shapes a little mind...

I put everything into outlook so that reminders come up. I only do it during the week to keep me on my toes.

If left to my internal devices I would be up half the night, sleeping until 11....eating whenever... How great (and unproductive) I would be.

ChapFu said...

that is me in the pic. i've had a surge of interest lately in seeing my pic. so, there i am.
amp, you're so melodramatic/poetic in writing. i have a hunch that you're a pretty fun guy in person.

Anonymous said...

J, people say that when they meet me. and i guess they're right; and then they cannot figure out where the anger comes from.


ChapFu said...

i guess it takes one to know one, sort of.