Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


2nd thoughts

Steve Carell Retrieval Problems

It was May of 1992. I was dri­ving across the coun­try in a tiny fad­ed yel­low ear­ly 80s mod­el Honda Civic. We stopped in Chicago. While Los Angeles riot­ed over Rodney King and oth­er cities react­ed in sym­pa­thy, Chicago remained calm, cool, and good humored. I remem­ber many things about that trip: meet­ing my first Pynchon fanat­ic, see­ing the White Sox, drink­ing Old Granddad from a bot­tle in Nashville, teach­ing the Bostonian in the group about scale via a par­tial descent into the Grand Canyon, and the utter shock we felt upon arriv­ing in San Luis Obispo — How could there be so much blond hair? So much tan skin? Why wasn’t any­one wear­ing black? Did any­one there read the New York Times? One year in New York city and we were becom­ing Seinfeld char­ac­ters.

I also have a dis­tinct mem­o­ry of see­ing the Second City com­e­dy troupe one night in Chicago with my friend Gillian.

But wait… was that the sum­mer of 92 or the fall of 94? Was I dri­ving with two guys or one woman? Did we stay with the Pynchon mani­ac or the fam­i­ly who col­lect­ed Oosik (a.k.a. Walrus penis bones)? Was I with Gillian?

I remem­ber laugh­ing at some guy dressed like Fabio on the Second City stage. He was the one guy that nev­er failed to get a laugh that night. I remem­ber remem­ber­ing at some point that his name was Steve Carell. Yes, that Steve Carell.

Why is this all so jum­bled? Do I remem­ber Steve Carell or do I sim­ply remem­ber remem­ber­ing him or worse do I only think I remem­ber him because I remem­ber think­ing that I remem­bered him?

I have always thought of this type of inter­nal con­fu­sion not as mem­o­ry lost or jum­bled, but as a faulty retrieval mech­a­nism. My files have warped and stuck togeth­er like the labels peel­ing off the fold­ers of a care­ful­ly orga­nized fil­ing sys­tem, but the infor­ma­tion in the files would still be read­able if I could just fig­ure out which file is which. Turns out there’s some neu­ro­science that vin­di­cates my view. I give you Karl Pribam.

One Response to “Steve Carell Retrieval Problems”

  1. Laura » November 11th, 2009


    Jill Price, 42, can remem­ber every part of her life since she was 14 but con­sid­ers her abil­i­ty a curse as she can­not switch off.”

    I enjoy the way mem­o­ries fade.…. It’s bit­ter­sweet, but so sur­pris­ing when one comes back to the sur­face clear as day. I guess I just remem­bered it’s loca­tion tag.