How Do You Remember Something That Never Happened to You?

JOEY:
Why are you telling me this?

WILDER:
I’m trying to get you to hate me.

JOEY:
It’s working. So what is the best ending in all of literature? And don’t say Ulysses because everybody says Ulysses.

WILDER:
That’s easy. Sentimental Education by Flaubert.

JOEY:
What happens?

WILDER:
Nothing really. It’s just two old friends sitting around remembering the best thing that never happened to them.

JOEY:
How do you remember something that never happened to you?

WILDER:
Fondly. You see, Flaubert believed that anticipation was the purest form of pleasure. And the most reliable. And that while the things that actually happened to you would invariably disappoint, the things that never happened to you would never dim, never fade. They’d always be engraved on your heart with sort of a sweet sadness to them.