Bravery Redux

Thursday I wrote about the act of courage I saw my friend Kevin Lee commit on a muddy, rain-swollen creek.

The newspaper company he works for asked him to write a first-hand account of what happened. Comparing his vision of what happened with mine creates an interesting juxtaposition in how people remember situations differently. In order to make sense of life in general and stressful situations in particular, we form a narrative of events in our mind. Often the narrative is flawed and exaggerated, not intentionally but because in order to understand what happened we have to fill in gaps with speculation that eventually hardens into facts (for the individual at least).

It seems that Kevin and I have about the same story, but there are still differences, and I’m sure if you talked to the two other people involved in the story you would get two more, slightly different, versions of the story.

  1. Pat Yeagle said:

    Got a link to Kevin’s version? I can’t find it.

    Also, digging the layout more and more. The newspaper feel is familiar and yet novel.

    • andrewthomason said:

      @Pat Yeagle
      Thanks for the feedback. There is link to Kevin’s story in the post under “first-hand account”

  2. eelnivek said:

    I would like to submit that my version is obviously a lot more accurate than Mr. Thomason’s. But Mr. Thomason’s version is much more evocative and well-scripted. Contract negotiations for Mr. Thomason to ghostwrite the story were ultimately unsuccessful.

    • andrewthomason said:

      I stand by my work as 100 percent accurate in the sense that it is exactly what I saw and what I learned by talking to Mr. Lee immediately following the incident. That being said, I am not saying my work is 100 percent factually correct, and that is the point of this juxtaposition. Both of us, I’m sure, wrote what we view as hard and fast fact. There is an article in this month’s Discover Magazine (though it is not online yet) stating that memories are not cemented in the mind, but are in a constant state of flux. In fact, every time a person recalls a memory, it is recreated in the mind and changes slightly. It is almost the same as making a copy of a copy, then a copy of that copy, and so on. The basic information is still there, but it is distorted a little more each time and the viewer is left to fill in the gaps with what they think makes the most sense. So Mr. Lee, to say that your version is “a lot more accurate” than mine is a bit of a misstatement, but thanks for the feedback and keep on reading the blog.

  3. eelnivek said:

    Let me for the record applaud Mr. Thomason’s portrayal of the river incident. I was being sarcastic on my reply’s first sentence; as Mr. Thomason pointed out, memory is a fickle and elusive concept, so to say I retained more of the incident was folly. In addition, I would submit that Mr. Thomason had a better view on matters because he was actively observing the matter; to me, everything was a “blur.” Which leads me to my second point: Mr. Thomason’s portrayal was much more compelling. But again, Mr. Thomason was asking for 50 percent on all copyrights and future movie rights. Unacceptable.

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