Maxed out - special 

Coming out of amnesia, again

Regular Pique readers (if they’re both in town this week) may observe that this essay is not authored by the usual correspondent, and may even regret being deprived of the dollop of wisdom that can frequently, if not weekly, be found in this space. The truth is that the normal source of filler for this space is being rested, in light and honour of his attainment of that dubious distinction of having reached the age of fifty years.

Additionally, whatever celebration such a feat may warrant will doubtless tax Max’s resources to the point of needing a week off from the exertion of having to fill this space, either with new material or, as sometimes happens, with a re-run. It amazes me how Max can brush up a several-year-old editorial to somehow bring it current enough to pass off again, but such are the obvious parallels between, say, Whistler Village politics or downhill skiing, on the one hand, and Native American hunting traditions or the plumbing techniques of the early Roman empire, on the other. A brain in which an extraordinary number of neurons have been allowed to connect (either through idle indulgence of fancy, or through a long term and intensive pharmaceutical program) can draw connections between enough external stimuli to make sense (in some fascinating ways) of the entire universe. But I digress. Back to Max and his fiftieth; I only hope that Dusty’s will not suffer another ten day suspension at the instigation of the RCMP as a result of any celebration that may occur.

The act of viewing, in retrospect, one’s earliest years is much like the experience of coming out of amnesia. One thinks back, tries to recollect, replays the movie of his or her life, and realizes that he actually knows not from whence he came, and that he must rely on the recollection of others that were there to observe. Can the recollections of others be relied on? Rhetorical questions – why ask them? Having read some of Max’s columns about events I was involved in, I’m not so sure about relying on the recollections of others, but that long term, intensive pharmaceutical program still seems to be producing some results, doesn’t it?

For various reasons, most apparently having to do with the fact that we live in a decimal based culture, milestones divisible by ten are given some greater import than others that have more substantive connection with our lives. Thus, women seem to agonize greatly over the artificial milestone of the thirtieth birthday, when it would seem more meaningful to mark, for example, the loss of virginity. Perhaps the latter milestone is not often achieved with the clarity of mind that the former is, given the liberal use of alcohol in achieving (or suffering) the latter. Of late, at least in my crowd, the milestone most commented about seems to be the fiftieth birthday.


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