By Jeffrey Zuckerman

[The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard is out today from the Library of America. In homage to his singular writing, I’ve decided to create an “I Remember” of my own.]

I remember picking apples at Eckert’s orchards.

I remember waking up in the wrong bed entirely.

I remember trying on hats with my sister.

I remember reading Joe Brainard for the first time. I thought I Rememberwas a joke at first, then a wistful way to look at the world, then the only way I should look at my life.

I remember tearing a marigold out of our garden because I thought it was just a weed. My mother was so upset with me, even though she knew it was a mistake.

I remember when I got into college. There was a thin envelope, and the words didn’t say “we regret,” so I couldn’t understand it and I had to give it to someone who could read it to me.

I remember the first real date I went on. The first real date, when neither of us were trying to be grown-up or impress each other. Three hours later, I didn’t want it to ever end.

I remember learning how to make crêpes.

I remember making them far too often after that until everybody was tired of eating them.

I remember my first and my last cigarette. I got bored and gave it back to the friend who had let me try it.

I remember flipping the light switch up and down until I was able to hold it at exactly the point to make the whole room very dim but still lit.

I remember when I figured out that I’d never had Brussels sprouts in my life, ever. Then I told my mother that was one thing she had done right.

I remember watching Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining with my little brother on Halloween weekend: him petrified as the suspenseful music rose and rose, and me bored as I couldn’t hear it.

I remember setting the hands into the face of a clock I’d made out of wood. It’s still on the wall at home, ticking away.

I remember all six warts I had on my fingers (three on my left pointer finger alone).

I remember learning that Lucian Freud had died and recalling first that one of my close friends called him her favorite portraitist ever, and second that he had offered to sketch the actress Joan Collins about which she wrote, many years later: “To my great regret, I said sorry, no, as I had to get back to my afternoon studies.”

I remember a ten-foot-high inflatable globe that I stepped into. I couldn’t find any of the countries because I was looking at the world inside-out.

I remember watching the first season of Lost on DVD, and realizing three days and twenty-five episodes later that I was completely hooked.

I remember every house I moved out of.

I remember, I do remember.

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