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Preserving My Unedited Thoughts

Reality, however harsh, is preferable to sweetened memories.

It could become a sermon: William Bulger, President of the University of Massachusetts, is a controversial New Englander to say the least. He is very, very smart. For example he gave a large part of his presidential inaugural address in Latin. Should I have been in his place, I'd have been happy to give my speech in reasonably good English.

Bulger, the Boston Globe says, once wrote: "The older we get, it seems, the more wondrous becomes the theater of our memory. It is often suffused with a merciful magic that smoothes the rough edges of the past."

Embedded in that beautiful prose is a provocative truth: our memories are not that reliable. Perhaps each of us possesses an internal editor who rewrites the stories of our pasts so that we can more conveniently live with them. My editor is amazing. He makes my past achievements look better, my past sins seem less onerous, and my past decisions more rational.

This internal editor of mine is more elusive than Osama bin Laden. He has the infinite ...

January/February
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