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    Once an elephant was conflicted about remembering.
    Memory could be such a burden, it felt, hanging on one like the pull of too many pounds. Even good memories could weigh you down if they reminded you of blue skies in the past when today had clouds on the horizon. Worse, of course, were the bad memories.
    These grew more burdensome each time they came to mind, as if the mere act of recollection doubled their oppressive load. And yet, when it looked about at its companions, the elephant gathered that life was in fact supposed to be one feel-good moment after another. “Think positive! Think happy! Think inspirational! This is as good as it gets!” it heard from all sides. The elephant was evidently alone in remembering things in its life that were not positive or happy or inspirational.
    As might be expected, the elephant didn’t receive much sympathy from others, who were made uncomfortable by any mention of old torments. It was thoughtless, bad manners even, to disturb them with reminders that life included trials and setbacks. What were they supposed to do about any of that? “Get over it,” was the most frequent advice they had for the elephant. “Don’t you think it’s time to move on?”
    But how, the elephant agonized? How shrug off unwelcome memories and lead the carefree life that all others in the herd were so confident of having found? To forget was to lose part of yourself, wasn’t it?
    “Not if you tell yourself it isn’t,” was the breezy response that its concerns consistently prompted. Followed by “We are who our online profiles say we are, so what’s the worry? You can reinvent yourself five times a day if necessary.”
    Still, the elephant remained uneasy about what might be the consequences of a serial shrugging off of the past. Then one morning the secret to “forgetting without worry” was revealed to it in a magazine interview with the author of the runaway best seller Twelve Painless Steps to Creative Closure.
    “There isn’t anything that can’t be put behind you,” this closure-maven had declared. “Whatever nagging memory bothers you, large or small, it can’t for long if you just find the strength to tell yourself, ‘I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve any of this!’ That’s the first step to the care-free life you’ve always really deserved and that I guarantee awaits you.” 
    The elephant ordered Twelve Painless Steps to Creative Closure that very day and was amazed to find how important the author’s advice to “say goodbye to all those painful or bothersome memories” had become in the lives of so many. The pages were filled with heart-warming accounts of recoveries from “devastating tragedy” and “real person” testimonials to the power of the Creative Closure approach. There were even six-step and three-step versions for those on a tight schedule.  
    Following the book’s handy tips, the elephant found it was indeed able to put more and more of what had troubled it out of its mind. Even what had once been searing anguish could, with a little effort, be reduced to what the book described as “manageable pain” and then to a dull unpleasantness and finally to practically nothing at all. Coming out of each stage in this process, the elephant walked with an increasing spring to its step and a cheerier disposition. 
    Not only that, but its neighbors found the elephant’s company agreeable once again as well, since it no longer had the tiresome habit of reminding them of past traumas or bitter regrets or even the loss of loved ones, theirs or anybody else’s. Together, they could all look forward to a day when it would seem as if none of these unwelcome moments in life had ever happened. Thanks to Creative Closure, one could have a life that was lighter than air and be looked upon by others with approval for handling everything so well. 
    But it still happened that the elephant, when alone to itself, occasionally thought it could hear a voice in its head that repeated again and again, “How could you forget?”