The Book of No Rubbing Out

14 Jan 2022

My family had a special book, the book of no rubbing out, where all our misdemeanours were put and remembered forever because there was no rubbing out.

My parents were still telling stories about what I did when I was three until I was in my forties. There was no forgetting.

I sometimes wished there were a real book so that I could rub out my indiscretions or rub them out so there would no anecdotes about things I wanted to forget.

Every family has stories, but my family had a catalogue of embarrassing stories and would overshare the most cringeworthy anecdote to complete strangers.

Even when my mother had dementia, she still remembered the most awkward anecdotes about me.

I was surprised as a teenager that other families did not have a concept of no rubbing out and there were parents who did not remember every uncomfortable story about their children and children who did not mention incidents that showed their parent in a bad light. The tales were told in a joking playful manner but after the umpteenth retelling they lost their charm.

Why do some people want to continue to tell stories that accentuate a time in one’s life that one would want to forget?

I know comedians use family and personal stories and often ask permission. It is about choice as to which events from the past are repeated and are better erased.

I wonder if other families had a book of no rubbing out and how did you feel about it.


A Moodscope member.

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