Why does history disappear to easily?

Sam Smith – One of the problems with reaching 84 years of age is that you discover that history isn’t as important as you thought it was. At least to others. Fortunately, as a journalist, I don’t have to sell history, I can just conceal it as another anecdote to support  an antidote. Or as an interesting story, whenever it happened. Further, I’ve been married to a historian for 55 years so have learned some of the hazards and solutions involved in speaking about the past.

Still I’m especially careful when talking to younger folk in order to avoid that “huh?” look. And I realize that many of them know more about slavery than about what happened last year. Google, in fact, has more than 300 times more mentions of 2010 than of either 1960 or !950, which started the two most powerful decades of my lifetime.

If you think that reaching 80 will make you a proud guardian of history, I’ve got bad news for you. No one seems to give a shit what happened back then and while science has done a great job of extending our lifespan it has done virtually nothing to fill it with a usefulness that is respected by those younger than you. You merely join the other victims of how we handle the past.  Which includes the fact that as you move to the next paragraph, this one becomes history.

And you can forget it.