Box of Memories

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Last night, I was doing some serious spelunking in my attic and storage closets for some old files, and I happened to come across a large brown box labeled, simply, “Memories.”

One thing long-time readers may have garnered about me is that I am sentimental to a fault. Or perhaps they haven’t. I’m not sure if I broadcast that kind of thing. But under this stoic figure lies a mushy mass of emotions and neuroses, all bundled together with the bailing wire of a few fond memories. Let’s face it, a middle-aged man who still tears up at the Spock death scene in Wrath of Khan isn’t particularly steely.

I am always interested to delve into the past, however, since a lot of interesting events have taken place in my time so far on this planet. It’s somewhat chilling, too. But I’ll get to that in a moment. For now, I offer something a bit more banal, which is this:

What you are looking at is a page from Forbes magazine (I have the physical printed magazine, and I scanned the page for you). It shows my company, Prophet, winning the “best website for technical analysis” award from Forbes. Before we had the Prophet.net URL, we use the rather clunky Prophetfinance.com

I remember opening that magazine up like it was yesterday.

My wife and I had poured ourselves into building up little Prophet. We had so many troubles and struggles. But there we were, standing in the kitchen while I frantically flipped the pages to find out if we were mentioned in this “Best Of” annual issue.

When I saw that not only were we included, but we had the top spot, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We instantly embraced. We were so awestruck with happiness. It was, precisely like the scene below, “the happiest moment of my life”:

It’s hard to know if I’m on a path upward or downward. In this giant box of memories was my report card from high school. It was nothing remarkable. It had the kind of GPA that would drive us to expel our own children from home if they had such poor results. My GPA was 3.54. Pathetic! But I just didn’t really care that much about school. I just wanted to write and work.

I’ve got to say, though, I do worry about myself. In that same box are notebooks where I just wrote, in longhand, my thoughts about life, and I read those words, envying the skills of a person that I used to be. Self-satisfaction doesn’t come from seeing one’s old (and superior) work if the reader feels that such expressions are a thing of the past and can no longer be conjured.

Perhaps that’s how most lives go. You look back, and you realize there is a point of apex. And you recognize that you’ve been sliding down ever since. That’s what I think I see. Slope is really all I’ve got left, which is why you get so much of my attention. I only hope one day the site gets the recognition I believe it deserves, just as Prophet did all those years ago. It seems like a good creation, although I suppose I’m not the most impartial source.

Memories can be dangerous things, because they show you not just where you’ve been, but based on the trajectory, the probable place you’re going. Optimists believe persistently that the best is yet to come. I don’t. All I’ve got is this box and a profoundly unsettling future.