So. I’ve had a near-death experience lately. I’m supposed to take a long hard look into myself now, reconsider my big choices, maybe reconcile with that brother of mine, those things. Instead I can’t stop feeling curious about “the missing reel”. You see: moments before your death, you are supposed to see your whole life in pictures. I love pictures, and I love seeing myself in pictures! And I was so excited about what soundtrack they’d choose for that montage sequence depicting my Baruchlife. I’d have a few obvious suggestions for songs that seem central to me over varying ages, but then again they could surprise me with the perfect hymn that I haven’t even heard yet. On the other hand, what scenes would they use for the editing? Thinking about this, I started to consider the missing reel.
You’ve heard the comparisons between consciousness and a film-reel. You’ve also heard what happens when you indulge yourself into a too heavy dose of alcoholic substances: the famous white-out, the memory-lapse, the glorious “oh, is that supposed to be me on those pictures?? How did I even get there??”
For the sake of my point, let’s consider these moments as a film tear of your consciousness – meters and meters of reel – lost to the dead of night. Have you ever wondered what’s going to happen to those cut-out clips?
Let’s imagine I’ve met “this guy”. Doesn’t matter if this happened for real, we’re deep into hypothesis anyway. So, he told me that he knows a guy who knew a guy that calls himself ‘the reel collector’. That’s the dude who collects all the reel material that’s been cut out, puts a file number on it and stores it away in a big storeroom. Yeah. And at the end of your days, what you are gonna see when the soundtrack starts, that’s nothing but this guy’s inapprehensible masterpiece. Not a slideshow of your graduation day or your first girlfriend’s first kiss… Those kind of things you remember all too well yourself… But a hours-long track of all the missing reel material that blacked itself out of your memory, the rightfully forgotten moments of utmost drunkenness, nonstop, scene after scene of “oh shiiiiiiiiit….!” The outtakes of one miserable life, saved into one final ‘cutscene’! That term makes so much sense, if you think about it: Those are really just pre-rendered visuals to be watched. Nothing much that can be influenced anymore, once the cutting started.
I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean: It’s a really scary thought though, because, let’s be honest, it’s probably gonna be really embarrassing, and that’s the last memory you’re going to experience of yourself. On to a happy afterlife, dude! On the other hand, you won’t see anything about work, distress, early morning shifts or awkward succumbing to self-doubts: Just more-or-less happy people singing and dancing and feeling at the height of their times, enlightenment 40 seconds per minute, and every time it ends with you going (or falling) to sleep. How… positively optimistic!
If you can remember it, it might as well be forgotten.
I think I could take comfort in the idea of the archive: Nothing’s truly lost. Because there’s that guy. The true story about myself is somewhere on that missing reel, filed away in the big shelf: The grand decisions, the life-changing oaths, the immortal fraternizations, the great love of your life, all the glorious moments. All forgotten. But all but forgotten.
Because of that guy.
I know this could come off as a romanticisation of alcoholism.
On that tapes, too: No fiction!