Story repeaters

Story repeaters

Shannon Freese

“Oh, my God, the coolest thing happened the other day…”
This is how it always starts. Something too awesome, too funny, too awkward happened the other day. From the cusp of that moment, the ultimate story is waiting to be told. This story is beyond grand, and the people must hear of this tale! Like The Odyssey, this heart-wrenching story is the essential story of adventure! It will be a staple of culture! It will touch millions! This story must be told!!!
This is where the story-repeater is born.
It all starts when I see my friend that morning at school.
“Oh, my God, the coolest thing happened the other day. … Carl Edwards came into Shakespeare’s and picked up a pizza last night. He drives a gold Ford Escape.”
At first, I’ll admit that it’s pretty cool. “Carl Edwards eats pizza where I eat pizza?!” Too raw. “My mom drives an Escape!” They have matching cars. “What kind of pizza did he get?!” I bet he likes banana peppers.
By second hour the story is bound to be repeated at least once. The second time I hear it, I’m not likely to recognize the repetition. In all reality, if I saw Carl Edwards at Shakespeare’s I’d probably tell at least two people.
If the storyteller tells the story twice, he or she is not a first-degree storytellers. He isn’t even a second-degree storyteller. These story repeaters are committing accidental storyslaughter. A good story can be repeated once, but if I hear a story three times in one day, I’m going to notice. After the third time, I don’t hate the story, I hate its contents.
If the story is repeated thrice in one day, my ears are ringing. I can almost recite the entirety of the story, and my reactions oppose those of the original telling.
“Carl Edwards isn’t even that cool. He doesn’t win overall points anyway. He’s barely cute.”
This is accidental storyslaughter. I’m sure they’re excited about seeing Carl Edwards. Maybe they’re big NASCAR fans. But they have to realize there’s a point where I don’t want to listen to their stupid pizza story anymore.
The fourth time is anything but accidental. Now it’s bragging. Now it’s, “I saw Carl Edwards; tell me how cool it is.”
It’s simply painful. Not only can I recite the story, but I can jump in during breaths of the storyteller and finish the sentences. It also gives me full right to end with, “You’ve told that story four times today.”
Not only does it discredit the tale, but it also shows the listeners just how obsessed the teller is with the story they are repeating.
The worst thing about the story-repeater is that the last repetition will occur weeks, maybe months after the original incident. The storyteller and I will go over to someone’s house, and the person’s dad will be watching ESPN upstairs with his adolescent son. SportsCenter will flash to an update of a race, and Carl Edwards will be in first place.
Cue story.
I can guarantee there’s no story that needs to be told four times in one day. Stop repeating stories.
Today, I hate the story-repeater.
By Shannon Freese