David Carr – New York Times Media Columnist and Best-Selling Author

“Recalling everything accurately is difficult because memories tend to lose their accuracy over time. David Carr highlights this in his book “The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life — His Own (Simon & Schuster, 2008, p. 12): “There is only so much space on any one person’s hard drive, and old memories are prone to replacement by newer ones…The power of a memory can be built through repetition, but is is the memory we are recalling when we speak, not the event.  And stories are annealed in the telling, edited by turns each time they are recalled until they become little more than chimeras.  People remember what they can live with more often than how the lived.”

David Carr died the other day at the age of 58.  I went to school with the Carr brothers.  David Car was in several of my classes at Benilde High School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, in the Twin Cities area.  I remember he always made his presence felt.  Everybody knew David.  He was a goofball.  He was a person who may not have known that he was a leader, but he led.  While I was not close to him, I think it is kind of an honor to have known him.  He had a way of letting people know that he was there.  He was infectious.  The joke that was constantly heard when Carr was in class at Benilde was “Whose Carr?”  It was a joint reference to David Carr and whose car one was going to a party in.  Invariably, David Carr was either instigating the party or was going to be at the party.

After high school, I had no contact with David, but I was honored in reading his book,  The Night of the Gun.  Life is about the stories.  In those stories, there is redemption.  I am not sure that David Carr needed any redemption other than the decision he made to change direction in his life. Sometimes, that is easy to do and other times, it is not.

While David experienced pain and suffering, I think he always seemed comfortable in his skin.  There was always a very keen sense of humor.  It does not surprise me that he would say that he did not deserve the life that he created for himself.  Whether it was the time of suffering or his success, either extremity of the experience might not be what what was deserved.  At the same time, obviously, David was a person who like exploring the edges.  When it comes to excitement or success, it is usually by the ledge.  If someone was in a somber mood, I kind of remember he would kind of nudge the person with some inane comment.

David’s writing and speaking is heartfelt.  It is powerful stuff and resonates with many.  It does not surprise me that my early impressions or memories of him are kind of similar to the impact that was felt by those who knew him later in life.  At the end of the day, there is much absurdity in life.  And there is much that is not absurd.  David made most out of life, whether absurd or not.

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