If I had the choice, which in fact at some time in the past I might have, I don’t know that I would choose to remember the things that I remember. There are moments from my life, real nights and days I lived in a younger version of my body, that I can feel fading into something more indistinct. Great and challenging thoughts or works of art that I once encountered and treasured are going or all the way gone. I can see the outlines of some, and others it’s just a gray bruise on my memory where something—a conversation or a museum visit or a decent chunk of the assigned portion of Das Kapital or whatever—once was and is no longer.
What has stuck is stuck, but much of it I do not strictly speaking need. Still firmly lodged in place are the landline phone numbers of the houses in which my childhood friends lived, various embarrassing moments from high school parties, the birthday of a woman I dated in college without any great distinction. They are there whenever I need them, but I will never need them. The broader gag of Let’s Remember Some Guys is in some respects a joke that’s on me—all the grimacing or leering or poker-faced baseball goofs staring out from these baseball cards, which are by definition and design unmemorable and which I usually remember, are the setup. Me going “oh hell yeah, Stan Javier,” is the punchline, and just because I get to say it doesn’t mean it lands anywhere but right on top of my awful, awful head.
Or anyway it could have been that way, had the people involved in making this series happen in the first place, who made it one of my favorite things that I’ve ever gotten to do at any job, not been so generous and skilled about shaping it. What could have been a narrow and jagged joke—about these crummy, blurry, forgettable cards and about my tragicomic inability to forget them—has over the course of all these episodes become something that I think is much kinder and more inclusive and generally openhearted and happy.
Doing all this is definitely still pretty stupid, and manifestly an inefficient and inadvisable use for a human brain, but that is also true of most of the fun things I still remember from my life and probably a big part of why some of the other ones are so quickly fuzzing out. That all of this works as well as it does is something that can be credited in large part to Jorge Corona, who comes out from behind the camera to join me in the pastel dreamscape of the Let’s Remember Some Guys studio in this notably recursive farewell episode. I am in the host chair this time, and Jorge’s task is to remember the Guys that we have Remembered in past episodes, and to either identify what it was about them that was memorable about them then or illuminate what it is that’s made them memorable for him, now.
Jorge has been involved, in some facet, with every episode of Let’s Remember Some Guys. He has been there either as a camera operator or as a creative producer or, presuming that there was an episode he missed, which I don’t think there was, in spirit as the person who went to Economy Candy on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and scooped up a bunch of 1991 Donruss wax packs instead of doing one of the many other things he might have been doing with his life. So much of what’s good and silly about the show is his work; so much of what is affirmative and friendly and open about all of it reflects the ways in which he himself is like that.
It’s customary around these parts to send people off with a roast and an insult. But this is a different space, and so I can say what I mean. Jorge is as patient and accountable and also as funny and sharp as anyone I’ve ever worked with, and just one of the better human beings I’ve worked with, and also his hair is just an absolute 80-grade masterpiece by any measure of assessment. I don’t know what I will forget going forward; I have not always been very responsible about what I let myself remember in the past. But I will not forget this particular guy.
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