Something that was so unimportant that you don’t even remember it, can color a person’s entire perception of you for years to come. What brought this to mind was a co-worker’s story not long ago, when I was training a new person. Someone I’d worked with for years said to the new employee, “Oh, Melanie is a good person to have train you. She knows how to make you feel at home.”
I stared at her, puzzled. I couldn’t remember ever making an effort to make someone “feel at home.”
Sounds like me, kinda sorta. But then this happened:
“It was my first day, and Melanie was showing me how to do the invoicing. I was very nervous, and at some point I opened my mouth and my gum fell out.”
You’d think I’d remember that.
Of course, this is a positive reflection. The Inner Magpie promptly brought forth a negative reflection I’d seen about a third of a century ago. No, it wasn’t one of mine: it was an installment of Mule’s Diner, a comic drawn by Stan Mack for the old National Lampoon.
The original strip wasn’t to be found on the Web, but I turned up a “semi-short story” by Jeffrey Sears which turns out to be a retelling of that very tale in prose form. The protagonist had hoped he’d lived down a certain incident which he thought was unimportant in the grand scheme of things.