Photo: unfolded, Flickr Creative CommonsFirst off today, I want to provide a little short course in my photo selection process. After I have a general idea for the subject of the day's post (or my favorite topic of a ramble), I search for a word related to that topic on Flickr's Creative Commons. The photo I choose isn't always actually related to the topic except in my mind because of that searching process. Today's search word was "rat" because of the train of thought that led to the post. I almost went with a really cool photo of some seagulls. Instead, the photo above was just too cool to not use. Consider yourself lucky to know me. I know your mom does.
Now on to the actual post.
I'm not sure the root of this problem, but I sometimes have issues with remembering events that never happened. Maybe this is linked to the genetic deficiency I found out I have this morning. Maybe it's the side effect of a sophisticated imagination. Regardless of the cause, I spent years believing that the dog my family had when I was young once saved my sister from being run over by my dad. This made perfect sense. The dog was notoriously protective of my sister before she bled out through the nose as a side effect of heart worms in the mid-'80s. My dad wrapped her (the dog) in toilet paper and buried her before we woke that morning. The dog was how we learned what death was. For my sister, it was like losing a mother. A mother that let you curl up on her stomach the day after having her reproductive system surgically removed. Turns out that my parents have no recollection of the rescue, though. I'm sure it's safe to assume that they'd remember something so momentous. I would. I did, in fact.
Another memory I'm not so sure ever happened is my sister almost being eaten by a wharf rat when she was an infant. I don't remember seeing this happen. I would have been three at the time, but I remember being told by my mom about this. This is the memory that spawned this post and was brought up by reading A Free Man's humorous account of his recent rat war. This memory also seems quite reasonable even if it didn't actually happen. I once saw a wharf rat staggering around my backyard when I was little. It'd taken a little too much rat poison and was deliriously wandering around behind my bathroom trying to out-stumble death. I remember standing there next to my mom watching it die and seeing our cat, a rather large former tom, walk up to the rat and realizing they were basically the same size. Combine that with the facts that rats are omnivorous and my childhood home had been built for ventilation in the pre-electrical Deep South and not for prevention of animal colonization and it makes perfect sense that a rather large rat would want to eat the tender, fatty flesh of a helpless baby. I just don't know if it ever happened.
I also remember being in the car during a flood at the beach when I was about the same age (late pre-school to early school age). My parents and their friends had run in to take shelter in the bath house and I had stayed behind in the car. The rain was one of those downpours that turn the world small. The building, two feet from the front bumper of the car was blurry. Beyond that, there was nothing but a shifting gray sheet forever falling to the ground. I vividly remember the car sliding sideways with me in it. It was only a few feet but I know it happened.
Except that I know it never did. I'm the only one who has this memory and I'm starting to suspect that until a certain age, fantasy is exactly the same as reality as far as the brain is concerned.