I’ve shared a fair amount with you during my tenure at Weekly Gravy. If this has done only one thing, I hope that it serves as an archived record of my experiences (and make you laugh and whatnot). I (hopefully) am now free to never again tell the story about how I played a pan flute solo in a Danish electro pop band. No longer must I rehash that I was offended for correctly being called straight, or how I am a shepherd. I am free from those chains.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy recounting the tales with gusto and slight embellishment. It’s just that it gets super old having to retell a story over and over again. I have no clue how parents are able to read the same bedtime story about 800 times. I’d be mixing that shit up nightly. I’d read bits and pieces from a bunch of stories to keep things interesting, thus ensuring my kid will either become a DJ or have ADD (probably both).
My point is that the worst thing about having a cool or in any way memorable experience is that you end up recounting that experience a bunch of times. And I don’t know about you, but I tend to retell the story in the exact same way (being a master storyteller, I figured out what parts to emphasize, where to deliver that killer joke, and what parts to gloss over). By the time the story retelling reaches double digits, it’s just tough to maintain the energy and emotion that first made it a great story to tell. What’s worse, when you tell the story of “that one time you did that thing that was so awesome” that many times, you kinda forget who you already told. I’ve taken to requesting that my friends immediately stop me in the event I start telling a story that they’ve already heard. This saves them from having to hear the story yet again, and goes ahead and gets the embarrassment out of the way for me.
The peril of retelling a cool experience ad nauseam has been documented before. In fact it has a name (that I just made up). It’s the “I <3 Huckabees Conundrum.” If you haven’t seen I <3 Huckabees, you need to. Like right now. Stop reading this and go watch it. It’s not on Netflix streaming, so you may have to just rent it from Amazon, but it’s worth it. Hell, I’ll loan you my copy (but God help you if you lose the outer sleeve!). Anyway, in the movie, Jude Law’s character has an existential crisis when he’s confronted with the fact that he tells the same story over and over again. To whet your appetite (which apparently is the opposite of “wetting your whistle”), here’s the clip.
After seeing the movie for the first time, I was mortified. Have I been doing this? And if so, for how long? I tend to forget what I did roughly 5 minutes ago, so keeping track of how many times I’ve retold a story (and to whom) is basically impossible. I mean I know that I have oft-repeated stories, the tried and true ones to bust out when I’m first meeting people and am desperately trying to avoid being “the socially awkward one” (an admittedly futile effort). But is it as rampant as in the movie? I know I have definitely been in the situation where I’ve been asked to retell a funny story. I used to welcome that sort of attention (“Wait, people want me to talk? To the group? I’m POPULAR!”). Now this causes an immediate red flag, and results in a forced, lackluster recounting of what once was a pleasurable experience, followed by desperately looking for any opportunity to excuse myself from the situation and lots of brow sweat.
Maybe that’s why I don’t have that many friends. I mean I totally have friends. My friend ‘C’ is the perfect amount (I’d say friend circle, but I don’t have enough people for it to connect). What I mean is maybe I choose to keep my friend ‘C’ tight because I just don’t like having to tell a lot of people what I did over the weekend. Actually my weekend was awesome. See, I went out to Phoenix, and my friend Lesli asked me to bring her back tortillas, so I said – oh, you heard it already. Sh*t.