StAll vying for attention, ticking off entries on a résumé, of places visited, of objects and living things consumed and possessed, of citations and honors collected; cataloging ancestors who lived unremarkable lives during remarkable times, and through repetition and embellishment become pieces of other biographies (“I was not, but this person I never met was — an adventurer, immigrant, hero, dissident, artist, pioneer, wicked, saintly”).

All seeking validation for works accomplished, not as a cog or spoke, but key to something bigger, producing a legacy, a record of accomplishment — the report written, the sales goal reached, the item fabricated, the mission accomplished — and the pay stubs to prove it. Absent measurable achievements, there’s criticism, witticism, commentary, skepticism, sarcasm, cynicism, religiosity, sanctimony. What passes for humor.

All crying “look at me, who I am, who I was, who I could have been, could still be” — against the inevitability of time, decline, illness, and forgetting.

All forgetting, except for the records, papers, entries — scraps that affirm that, yes, there was life here once. And the stories, pulled from the fragments of memories — filtered, polished, altered.

All knowing, that despite the facts, the many facts, the files and boxes and cabinets and storage lockers and warehouses of facts and facts and facts, the truth will always be elusive, hidden, unwritten.

All searching, even to the end.

Nothing is so common as the wish to be remarkable.”