Lone told me the other day that he was bored in class and to entertain him.
He’s a Canadian; a few thousand miles away and he’d messaged me in open chat on Discord.
I thought, “I could send this guy a dank meme.”
But I didn’t.
I thought then, “I could send him a ‘Did You Know’ factoid.”
But I didn’t.
Instead, I thought back. What’s something I’ve done that is entertaining? Have I done anything in my life worth a good story? Will everyone at my funeral have some quirky anecdote to tell, or will they just close the casket in airy, awkward silence?
Once, about … wow, about 13 years? ago, now. I played the violin competitively. I was total shit at it, realistically, but I had a diva’s attitude and a stubborn streak and a serious inferiority complex. I had gone down to New Mexico to participate in a festival— I guess — for mariachi music.
It was a big thing, like 2,000 musicians. And at the end of the workshop, we performed in the town square of Albuquerque.
I told the story of that performance, how we were all packed so tightly onto the stage that our elbows and violin bows were hitting each other. A few noses bumped, eyes scraped, necks poked…
And how in front of 2,000 student and 5,000 audience members I fell off the stage, all of a five foot drop, onto the concrete.
People identify with cringy, painful stories and laugh with you (and at you) over personal failures. Everyone likes to see the diva get a dose of humble pie, especially when it deserved.
But at least when someone says “I’m bored, tell me a story” I have something to tell. Because I’ve eaten a lot of humble pie, and taken a lot of five foot drops in my time. And those make good stories.