“Went out with my future wife tonight …”

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For the past 19 years, I’ve kept diaries. All 15 or 16 of them are locked inside one of my desk drawers, and they’re probably my most valuable physical possessions.

Why? Because they’re my life story in full detail. There are memories and triumphs and lows. The time my Grandma Herz died. The time I was hired by Sports Illustrated. Being dumped by a girlfriend. The days after 9.11. Having my children. Moving to California. Nashville loneliness. On and on.

Generally, the diaries sit in their own space, yellowing and gathering dust. Sometimes, though, when I’m bored or intrigued, I’ll break one out and look back. It’s usually either very funny or insanely cringe worthy. Oftentimes both.

For example … 2/12/98 …

Went out with my future wife last night. Seriously [blank name] is absolutely beautiful. We just met at a coffee shop for about 2.5 hours, but there’s definitely something about her. She’s very quiet, but in a cool way. She obviously lacks confidence, but is so sweet—you can just tell. This sounds like total cheese, but she looks like an angel—just soft and gentle and all.

A few thoughts:

A. Gag.

B. Barf.

C. Looks like an angel? Really?

D. My future wife and I went on three more dates. On the second, I asked to kiss her by a train station—and she said No. That was probably an ominous sign …

E. We always hear these stories about love at first sight and meeting the person of your dreams. But what we never hear are the stories of love at first sight actually not being love at first sight. I’ve gotta think the non-romantic versions outnumber the romantic ones by a solid 100,000:1 ratio.