Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Save Anything?

April 30, 2013
   Went for a walk this morning at about seven. Still cool out although it's supposed to get into the high nineties. Met three women coming down Old Stage Road as I went up:

When we passed I heard the woman closest to me say, "I have all these family heir looms and I don't know what to do with them."

This hit a chord with me because just this past weekend I had inventoried several compilation family videos I had converted to CDs at iMemories, a new company that specializes in converting all the mish mash of tape and film onto one, clean format (that will also probably be outdated in a decade or so). These "family heir looms" included classic scenes of our kids doing a music video, singing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", playing Death Lizard, and Tommy trying to count to 100 and getting stuck in the mid-thirties and trying fake his way out. . ."37, 38, forty-nine—Seventy-TWELVE. . ."  I thought it would be fun to show to Deena and her husband while they were visiting from LA for Deena's baby shower.

We never got to it, but we did watch half of Louis CK's HBO Special "Oh, My God" where he does a bit about nobody watching videos you post on Facebook about your kids. He also lampooned the lunacy of videoing your daughter's dance recital and missing it because the iphone or iPad is in front of you and your real child—"in high def"—is standing right in front of you and you are missing it. And, he predicts adamantly—Why are you doing this? YOU WILL NEVER WATCH IT.

On the compilation CDs I have been inventorying them on the weekends, picking one at random and watching it. In one I watched last weekend, I used my new video camera to document the places I worked. There I am walking through KSLX in 1991 and documenting all the employees doing their jobs. Jeanne Sedello is there as is Reid Reker and a bunch of sales people I don't remember.

I also went down to New Times and did the same drill, walking through the entire building and stopping people, asking them what they were doing (it's interesting to me most the management types flipped me off). Virge Hill award winner Paul Rueben is there, so is Dave Walker and Dewey Webb. Ward Harkavy is there (I believe he is now the editor at the Village Voice). The computers are ancient! Clunky boxes, with small screens and bad resolution. In production they are still pasting up ads on boards!

  Cut to me in Anton Chico, New Mexico (I flew to Albququerque and rented a car) tracking Billy the Kid. Then I'm at the unveiling of the Puerto de Luna historical marker and the reenactment of Billy the Kid's last Christmas dinner at the Grzelachowski family home. The event was put on by Joe Bowlin (now deceased) and features many of the locals in that area. The sheriff of Lincoln County, James MacSwain portrays Pat Garrett and Billy Cox portrays the Kid:

I had another oldtimer from the area Johnny Eastwood portray James East:

I also interviewed two oldtimers from Fort Sumner who actually knew Deluvina Maxwell. Highly interesting to me, but is it to anyone else? Or, is Louis CK right?: nobody is ever going to watch it.

So, why save it? Does it matter? In Tombstone they saved most of the files and paper regarding the mines but what we really want to see is Doc Holliday's shotgun (which wasn't his, but you get the picture). Saving the past is a futile effort because most of the stuff we save is not worth the effort.

On the way back from my walk, I met the three women coming back from their walk and I said, "So, what did you decide to do with your family heir looms?" They laughed, realizing I had eavesdropped on their private conversation. But they were gracious.

The gal in the middle said she will probably give them to a neice. Good call, but even as she said it I thought to myself, "It's going to be a burden to her and she will grow to resent having these boxes full of family history and when it comes time for her to pass them on, my guess is the next neice will throw them away.

So, is anything worth saving? Obviously the Sam Dedrick kids are damn happy their great uncle saved a little piece of tin from his youth. The little tin is the only known photo of Billy the Kid and recently sold for $2.3 million dollars.

What to save? That is the question.

"Ninety-five percent of everything is trash. [But, oh that five percent.]"
—Harlan Ellison