But I have a far more personal reason to remember such an otherwise mundane day and date. We--my mother, father and brothers--had taken the ride (My father drove) from the Jersey Shore to the far end of Long Island.
At the far end of Brooklyn--in or near Brighton Beach, if I recall correctly--Dad steered the station wagon into the neon flood of a parking lot of some restaurant. Actually, it was more of a hot dog stand, like Nathan's, except that the hot dogs were even bigger. None of us could remember the last time we went there, but Mom managed to keep everyone else from whining about having to make this trip when she promised my brothers that we'd stop for those hot dogs. At one time, they would have worked as a bribe on me, too. But by that day, I was past bribery, not because I'd become more virtuous, but rather because I didn't care, or at least believed I didn't, and was stupid enough to think that somehow made me more of an adult.
The truth was, I only wanted to seem like an adult, just so everyone would leave me alone. Just a few weeks earlier, I'd begun my junior year in high school and everyone wanted to know what college I wanted to attend and what career I'd prepare myself for when I was there. That is, except for the adults who'd decided which college and which career I should go into.
I knew of a couple of careers and a few schools I definitely didn't want. But I really didn't care about the rest of it: Whatever I did, adulthood would mean only another life I didn't want and a career in something that would matter to everyone but me.
Behind us was the cemetery. Ahead, there was only hard rain and a pitch-black sky. And, in the moment, there were just foot-long hot dogs.