My childhood was not ruined by a violently unstable mother or an alcoholic father whose parenting methods swung between capriciously cruel and manipulatively indulgent.
It was not ruined by bouts of extreme poverty, the taunts of bullies, ailment a non-supportive educational culture, or the looming specter of thermonuclear annihilation.
Though these things left indelible marks on my psyche, they cannot diminish other fragments of distant memories.
My dad carving my name in the sand at Crane’s Beach.
My mother’s penchant for leaving artwork on the fridge for me to find when I awoke.
Eating a heaping bowl of Lucky Charms while watching Devlin on Saturday morning.
Reading and trading comics with my pal Brian in the backyard storage shed he appropriated as a clubhouse.
The sensation of future-now I felt the first time I dropped a quarter into the Pac-Man machine at the Boys’ Club.
Playing action figures with my little brother in our backyard.
Running riot on our fake BMX Huffy bikes around the old neighborhood.
Sitting in front of the family boombox, waiting for “Mr. Roboto” and “Come On Eileen” to pop up again on the Top 40 station’s playlist.
There are times when some stimulus jostles loose one of those memories, triggering a lucid flashback — for good or ill — of those times past. Actively pursuing those feelings, however, is a fool’s errand. They are distorted echoes. They are, in short, mnemonic ghosts which cannot be overwritten or resurrected.
The idea they can be retroactively tainted by some new iteration of some old intellectual property is laughably insulting, the notion of identity circumscribed by media consumption and embalmed stasis as an eternal ideal.
My childhood survived the recurring memory of my mother backhanding me across the face for being “irritating.” I’m pretty sure yours can survive a blockbuster movie you had no plans on seeing anyhow.