I have a bad habit. I remember important dates with days and sometimes weeks in advance, but a few hours before I completely forget them, as if I turn off the alarm in my head.
This brings, of course, serious implications: you ignore your mother’s birthday, or your grandmother’s birthday. There is no greater example of filial ingratitude or indifference. The family has the strange habit of requiring them to show reciprocity and love in a way, in my opinion, misleading and too banal to take it seriously. Any wayward, only with a good memory, can pretend to be the exemplary son. If you want to lead a life without unnecessary ties, then you have two options. Either you leave the house. Or educate your parents. I mean, either deny, or start a revolution.
In journalism is more of the same. One goes through life remembering secret dates that advertising kinds of put aside till the ripe moment to use the excuse of the anniversary. That’s one of the cartoons of the trade that excites me so much. Stalking the specific day, in the best case, get what you want to say about it, or simply to write a text and receive a cash bonus that the publisher did not think of offering us. So the clueless either just live with it or starve, but at the other end there are people who, for the text and the extra money, turn any skirmish into a battle, or any cheap singer into a performer worth of worshiping. But let’s not deviate our attention and let’s get back to the subject of the ephemeris as pretexts.
In Cuba, for example, every April is Bay of Pigs. No one would ever talk about the Bay of Pigs in October. In October we discuss the Missile Crisis and the Soviet Union and the Democrat Kennedy and folksy Khrushchev. Never mind that there is nothing left to say. However, it is likely that they are things to say, but analysts are worried as they are for the arrival of the anniversary, forget it and keep publishing the same long paragraphs.
The world works that way. If you would think in March a different view on the arrival of Armstrong to the moon, you know you will have to wait the time-now I read it was on July 21, because in March is irrelevant to talk about it. If, however, July has come and you have never used a couple of neurons to Apollo 11, you will have to write something, no matter how rubbish or other commonplace clichés. The rules say that you cannot ignore the event.
I’d like to have a newspaper, at least one, that goes against logic. A newspaper that answers to the inspiration of its reporters, not to the orders pragmatism dictate. I do not know, a newspaper or a television broadcast that, in the case of Cuba, to harmonize, will speak of the harvest in June or cyclones in December. Our press is so boring because besides reducing history to two or three events, year after year speaks of the same issues in the same months. There is an innate condition on Cuban readers to know what deed will be remembered in the spring, and what heroism in the fall.
I always think of that night the chronicle of Che came to my head. I hopped on one leg because I looked at the calendar and we were at the end of September, that is, I had October 9 at hand, but if I happen to remember it in November, I hang myself in the street. Although, as I said, there is something worse. Having the day close at and forget it just at the threshold.
Today is March 19. On March 16, 1892, 121 years ago and three days César Vallejo, poet, was born. On March 15, 2003, ten years and four days ago Roberto Bolaño, a Chilean, died. I was thinking of both on the fourteenth until late in that afternoon.
All I have to say both is no longer irrelevant. The issues are scarce, we must save them, and maybe, if readers agree with a wayward column and without time, I can publish chronicles on these supreme writers next summer, the coming winter, or next April. After all, that’s what PowerPoint philosophers advise on loved ones. Do not waste a second, any day is good to remember.