On the new album from Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, they sing a song called "This Is Us" that sounds like an old married couple sitting on the sofa, leafing through a photo album. When we look at pictures and remember how we used to be, "This is us in our living room." "This is us on our honeymoon." The supporting cast changes, but the featured players are always there - not in every shot, but when the page turns, there they are again.
That's the media we cart around with us. We have a suitcase sitting by the door full of memories that we hope to be able to escape with in the event of a flood or fire or earthquake. Then there are the megabytes of digital recollections sitting here on the hard drive. Those are the more recent ones - the ones that occupy my screensaver while I sit and ponder what to write today.
There are reminders of another sort, floating around in the airwaves. There are songs, and TV shows and movies. These are the squirrely ones. These are the ones that remind of us of a time when "we were just like that." Sometimes it's about being married. Sometimes it's about how hard it is to be married. Sometimes it's about having kids. Sometimes it's about how hard it is to have kids. Sometimes it's about how hard it is. We used to watch "Mad About You." We agreed with their assertion that "everything takes four hours." I still get a twinge when I flip past Steve Martin in "Parenthood" as he growls at his wife, "My whole life is 'have to.'" Bruce Springsteen sang about the birth of a son in "Living Proof": "In his mother's arms it was all the beauty I could take."
Laurie Anderson said that life wouldn't be so dull if we just had better editors, but for now, "This Is Us."