“That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” — Walt Whitman
Four days after the election, still stunned by the news that Hillary would not be our president, I went to a funeral for a good friend of mine from middle school. Devin Kennedy-Puthoff was creative and passionate. He was really fun to be around. Though I lost touch with him as we grew up, I’m very thankful to have known him.
People pass in and out of our lives. The friends we have when we’re younger might not stick with us. We might have different friends in high school and college. And different friends again as adults.
That’s okay. We all need different things at different points in our lives.
Twenty-five years, thirty years… It’s a long time. Reaching back into the past so far, untangling the stories in our mind, leaves fragments. These memories aren’t complete or precise. They are less complicated and so in a way, more true.
A few nights later, magician David Blaine had a TV special on. I was thinking of a day when Devin and I were practicing magic tricks with quarters. Kids hanging out with nothing much to do, turning free time and a couple quarters into something.
To this day, when I see a magic show, I often think back to that moment. When I see a movie about magic, or teach my kids to make a quarter disappear, I think back to that moment with Devin when life was a little simpler.
At the funeral, I was wondering why that memory was so strong that it has stuck with me all these years. I think it’s because there was something pure about it. Time strips away everything in a memory that isn’t essential.
If you read every post on my blog for the last decade, you’ll know what I think about the tech world, but very little about my family. If you read every post from my private journal, you’ll know the rest. Taken together it might be too much. Too complicated.
Who we are is not just what we’ve done. Who we are is that moment that someone will remember later, as I remembered Devin, for years or decades. That moment that is so true because we’ve forgotten everything that doesn’t matter.
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