I know this girl who is a terrible story teller. I don’t want to say how I know her, but suffice to say our relationship hasn’t been that long or, thankfully, storied. But the fact remains.

Terrible. TERRIBLE.

First of all, she speaks very, very slowly, and pauses at awkward places, presumably to build up suspense. The problem is, all of her stories are:

a) about nothing anyone cares about. Like, how she decided which yogurt to eat for lunch, or a conversation she had with her mom about carpet cleaner.

b) entirely devoid of punchlines. Every SINGLE time she finishes I story, I’m still leaning in like, “And then?” But there is no and then. There’s nothing more. But she’s sitting there preening and waiting for some big laugh. I. Don’t. Get. It.

I’ve been kind of spoiled because so many of my friends are GOOD story tellers. A lot of them are journalists, so if they can’t tell a story, they have bigger problems. But even my non-professional writer friends are good story tellers. Two great examples? Annie and Work Annie. (Not to be confused.) Both GREAT story tellers, in print and in spoken word. If they say they have a story, I settle in.

I don’t think it’s good for me to be around bad story tellers. What if it’s catching?

I already have enough insecurities about whether or not I’ve already told a story, let alone if it was any good. I mean, when I finally see someone in person I haven’t seen for a while, my first question is, “Do you read my blog?” And if they say yes, it’s followed up quickly with, “Are you caught up?” Because I really don’t want to bore them with stories they’ve already heard, and probably with better grammar and sentence structure.

Because when I have a story finalized, that’s how I tell it. Every time. Same jokes, same inflection. It has been elevated to an art form, and I’m not going to mess that up by “trying something new.”

Joey can validate this for me. Being married to me, he has to hear me tell the same stories and jokes multiple times. Bless him, he’ll usually laugh no matter how many times he’s heard it. But lately he’s taken to doing this thing that gets me every single time.

He’ll start telling me my own stories back like it’s something that happened to him.

For example, I guess I must have told him a couple of times how when the movie Beethoven came out, there’s this scene where the little blonde kid drives a car through a factory wall. For some reason, my brothers and I found this beyond hilarious and once rewound it about eight times and watched it over and over again. Good times. (Have no idea what I’m talking about? You HAVE to watch this before you continue reading. Still don’t get it? Well…forget you.)

Apparently I had told this story to my husband one too many times. One day we were walking somewhere, and I saw something that reminded me of that story. Unable to remember if I had already told him, I started to launch into the story. This happened:

Me: You know the scene in Beethoven where the kid drives through the factory?

Him: Yeah, I used to watch that scene over and over with my brothers.

For about half a second, I actually thought, “Oh my gosh, I did that too! We’re so similar! We’re totally soul mates.” And then I saw him grinning at me, remembered he had no brothers, and slugged him in the arm.

He’s started doing this a lot. It’s gotten to the point where when he tells me that he did something I’ve done, I’m 90% sure he’s teasing me.

Case in point, the last time we were in the city, we were on the train home when he tells me he used to name all his pets Bob.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy. I used to name all my pets Bob.

I didn’t remember actually ever telling him this, but my skepticism took over.

Me: Are you only saying that because you know that I used to name ALL of my pets Bob?

Him: What? No, I really named him Bob. Did you do that?

Me: Never mind.

Him: No, really, all of them?

Me: I said never mind!

It’s really putting a strain on our marriage, as you can see.

The point is, bad stories hurt, and bad story tellers are even worse. And if you’re a bad story teller, you shouldn’t start a blog. Lord knows I’ve cornered the market on that one.

8 Responses to Repeat. And again.

  • Joe Husband says:

    Fluffy pet squirrel Bob approves. Even better is repeatedly hitting the “1” key on that YouTube clip to have the best 2 seconds of the clip repeat 😉

  • Heather O. says:

    I did notice that you have repeated stories verbatim. There was this one celebrity you had a rant about, I thought it was funny and spot on. Then about a week later we were talking about her again with some friends and it was as if you were reading the story from some hidden TelePrompter, I wish I had that talent!!

  • Dad says:

    I know what you mean. I feel like I’ve lived some of your mom’s life…before me.

    Joe, you might try being the straight man when Justine launches into these stories. Sometimes I even give her mom an intro, “You know, Jeri had something similar happen when a goose pair took residence at her mom’s house…etc.” This makes her happy.

    Oh, and my favorite was Bob, the Blob.

  • Dad says:

    Hm, I tried to post and thought I did, but it’s not here. So I’ll try again:

    I know what you mean. I feel like I lived parts of your mom’s life…before she met me.

    Joe, you might try being Justine’s straight man for these stories. I even provide Jeri with intro’s like: “You know, Jeri had a similar situation with a goose and gander at her mom’s house…” She likes that.

    Oh, and my favorite was Bob the Blob. Alliterative, rhyming, and appropriate.

    • Hi smarterthanyou,

      Thanks for taking the time to read (and hey, you left a comment, which makes you more involved than about 90% of my readership!). Though, I must admit, I’m a little confused by what you wrote. I’m not exactly sure what it was about this post that made you think I was obsessed with myself. The fact that I told a story about something that happened to me? My self-deprecating humor acknowledging that not everything I write is interesting? Or maybe you’re just confused about what kind of website you were reading? This is a personal lifestyle blog. Lifestyle means I write about things that happen in life. Personal means I write about things that happen to my person, AKA me. Put all that together, and it means that I’m writing about things that happen to me in my life. (Let me know if I’m moving too fast for you.)

      I was a little taken aback at your bitterness when I received the email notification about your comment. Surely, I thought, this must be someone I’ve wronged in the past! But further research told me that you live in Norwood, New Jersey, and, never having visited myself, I deduced you must just be some random troll looking to insult people who don’t know. It’s kind of sad.

      Fortunately for you (or all of us, depending on how you look at it), you have the glaringly obvious option of not reading my blog. Magic, right? Then you can save yourself from my self-obsessed posts about my life, friends, family, and random awkwardness I encounter. We can only hope that one day I can get into the minds of others so I can be obsessed with THEIR lives and what THEY experience on a day-to-day basis. Trust me, I’m working on it.

      Until then, I guess the choice is yours.

      Hugs and self-absorbed love,
      Justine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *