The Death of Story Telling

Do you remember when phones were attached to the wall?  When they had cords that reached from room to room? And when the phone was eventually hung up, the cord would entwine and fold over on itself in unrecognizable patterns that could only be undone but holding the phone upside down and letting it untwist itself?

Do you know what it’s like when someone is telling you a really really good story?  And you are riveted…hanging on their words, the pictures they create in your mind.  And then you have to pee.  And you push that urge to the deep recesses of cognition and instead opt to stay in the land of the story teller.

Nothing could stop you from hearing it’s conclusion.  Or at least get to a part of the story where you can take a break without interrupting the natural flow and cadence of the story.

Remember how you used to be on the phone for hours with your friends….this story and that story…winding through the house…cupping the receiver with your hand to whisper the naughty bits?

And then what happened?

What happened is that someone was trying to call your parents.  And you were tying up the phone line.  And impatient adults decided they needed to break in on conversations so adults could get through when they wanted to.

And then what happened?

The death of story telling.  That’s what happened.

Call Waiting happened.

Now…you are in the heat, the core, the climax of your story…and about to lay it all out…..all your neurons are firing, you can taste the memory of the event in your mouth, the rhythm is undeniable, and the heat…scorching.


You open your mouth to lay out the height of your action but hear an untimely inhale on the other end of the phone followed by, “Wait, hold that thought…let me get rid of this person.”

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

expletive! expletive! expletive!

Three things.

-They will go away on their own.  In fact, they will leave a message which will fill you in on the reason for their call in perfect detail.  Unlike pre-call waiting when they just had to keep trying back…you aren’t going to lose any messages by not clicking over.

-When you are in person with someone and you have to pee so badly your eyes might turn yellow….you still wait until an appropriate point in the story to say…”Wait, this is a perfect place for me to use the restroom…hold that thought!”  You don’t let the fateful “beep” decide an arbitrary break in the story.

-Unless someone is in need of medical attention, are using their one phone call to be bailed out of jail, or are stranded somewhere and need help…(And other obvious emergencies….) is it REALLY necessary to completely break out of your current conversation…leave for 30 seconds or more and then return?  Do you really think the storyteller can hold the same space in their story with the same excitement and conviction as before the untimely interruption?

I am a story teller.  It’s in my genes.  It’s in my bones.  It just happens like nature.  And I build my stories to unfold like a flower.  I build my thoughts like a painting…layer by layer.  And like every other culture…know we have passed information  through stories since the beginning of time.  There were no books…there were storytellers.  And cave painters I guess…

Worlds most famous story begins…. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.”  One guess what story that comes from.

Story can’t die.  It’s in our blood lines. All of them.  And story should be given some sort of place on a special shelf.  It should be revered.  It’s a dying art.  It should be recognized like it’s on an extinction list….and work should be made to maintain stories sacredness.  *I think that’s why we love TED talks…like this one…which is a story that can change the world.

I am at fault.  I use call waiting to get off the phone with people who I’d rather not be talking to at times.  It’s true.  And if it’s business hours and I’m on a personal call and a patient or potential patient is ringing through, you better damn bet I take the call.  But when I’m in relationship with someone…we are relating…and that freaking beep happens on my personal time…I ignore it.  I always have.

Maybe I’m old fashioned.  I love those drinks.  But I would love it if you paid just a little attention to the timing of when you flip over.  Think about the other person you are in “relationship” with at that moment.

Think about the story.

Always think about the story.

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