Here’s Dr. Barry Pascal, with the last installment in his personal “Death Triology,” in which he worries about how his son, Jonathan, will keep his memory alive after he’s gone–until he realizes his salvation has been assured by his personal reluctance to throw anything away. (Much to his wife’s consternation.) You can find Barry‘s humorous works for sale here.–EGF
The History of Me
By BARRY PASCAL, Pharm.D.
Humorist, Satirist, and All-Around Nice Guy
When the first anniversary of my mother’s passing came and went last month, I wondered how our son, Jonathan, would remember me.
Would he know what my life was really like, my experiences, and who I really was? Sure, he watched me when he was growing up and he learned with ease all of my bad habits—and, with some study, a few of the good ones. But would he remember all the stories I told him about my formative years and my college days, about my first job, and about the Dodgers’ first game at the Coliseum? What troubled me the most, though, was how much I have forgotten. Who knows the story of me better than me, and even I don’t think it is worth remembering? And then I found it—I have a “History of Me.”
Growing up, our family did not have much money and I was always wearing my cousins’ hand-me-downs—the hidden benefit of having cousins. Whenever I got something new and my own I cherished it. I folded it, hung it, protected it, and saved it. On my tenth birthday my mother bought me a Roy Rogers’ cowboy shirt that I lusted after (if that’s possible in a ten year old) for several years. I loved that shirt so much I looked at it everyday. I took it out during the day and then refolded it. I took it out at night and then refolded it. I used to talk to it and I wouldn’t let my little brother touch it. Finally, I was ready to wear it at a special family event, but when I put it on, it did not fit. I had protected it for so long that I grew out of it.
Therein lies my solution. My saving and protecting my stuff has created a history of me. I will now add the footnotes to my past by hanging tags on everything I have ever saved which is now hanging in my closet and stuffed in my drawers. (You should pardon the expression.)
The sweatshirt with mustard on it is from the 1962 UCLA Rose Bowl game. The beautiful blue suit with cuffs and wide lapels is the same one that I wore for my high school picture. That thin, all black “Frank Sinatra” tie was the one I wore everyday at U.S.C. pharmacy school. (Now it needs to be handled with care because it could spontaneously ignite.) My Mickey Mouse Disneyland cap with one ear missing is a collector’s item. My mother bought one hat for my bother and me to share. He has the other ear.
My belts tell much about me, as evidenced by laying them all out arranged by size– the smaller high school ones when I was more physically active, the flimsy no money food-deprived college years’ models, the stylish leathers I wore during those years of early dating, the utility “I don’t care” work-year industrial styles, and then the larger sized “Here’s to Life” group from my years spent overeating. Members of this last group are relatively new because I grew out of them quickly.
Forget the underwear …. they don’t add anything to the history of me. But be careful with my cowboy boots. Mom took us to the County Fair one year and I do not know what I may have stepped in.
Jonathan will learn the most about me from my tee shirts. I have every shirt ever given me. Each logo or phase tells a story: my White Front Pharmacy tee when I was a 17-year old clerk, the John F. Kennedy Booster Club, the Reagan Soldiers, the Studebaker Racing Car Club, and so on. The collection forms a travel log of my fascinating journey through life, naming all the stops along the way.
Of everything, though, my logo cap collection is my favorite. I can’t remember what most of them stand for, but they were all certainly cool when I got them. I really felt like somebody wearing a Lakers’ Owner or Admiral USN cap. Hooker Lane and Fastest Gun in the West were just for bragging purposes. This collection of clothing representing the events and periods of my life forms the beginning of my personal Presidential Library and Archives.
Unfortunately, Shirley does not see the real value in these prized items. She sees junk and old rags. She is constantly trying to get me to get rid of all of it. She always tries to convince me that “my stuff” is a fire hazard, a pest control problem, and probably one of the reasons for the recent economic downturn in the U.S. She even claims that they make noise at night, waking her up.
With all of her complaining, I just don’t have the heart to show her my business and hotel pen collection, which will certainly be included in the Archives.
About the Author: Barry Pascal, former North San Fernando Valley Honorary Mayor and former Honorary Sheriff, owned Northridge Pharmacy for 32 years and is now retired. He has written seven comedy books and writes a humorous column for the California Pharmacists Association Journal, as well as for the North Valley Community Connection. Psychiatrists have now called the old clothes-collecting phenomenon, the BS disease (Barry’s Syndrome).
© Barry Pascal October 2012