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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oral Junk Mail

I was driving across town the other day with a friend and I was in the middle of telling him a story about getting a broken window fixed in my car when I slammed on the brakes. “Oh my God, this story is really boring but I don’t know how to extricate myself from it unless I just stop right this second.” My friend agreed. I cut as quickly as I could to the conclusion of my tedious tale. I wondered out loud whether or not it was even safe for me to drive while telling such a dumb story. People faint from boredom all the time. "What about me? I have to listen to this drivel." My friends are always there for support. Perhaps I am kidding myself but I don’t think that as a general rule I am a boring storyteller.

What I should have done was to stop in the middle of my story to see if my friend was paying enough attention even to notice. I will try that the next time that I think that I am recounting a less-than-thrilling tale. A lot of people that I know suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder so if they aren’t following what I say it may not always be my fault but can be attributed to the fact that they watched too much TV growing up.

I have considered not talking at all. I could just learn sign language but then I thought about how boring a boring story could be in sign language. The only advantage I saw in this is that the sign for “Shut your cake hole” is a lot more polite than the oral version. I could write all of my stories on paper thus giving those around me the option of either skipping over the truly pointless passages or simply discarding my dispatches like so much junk email.

Let’s face it. We are all pretty boring. Not many of us have great stories to tell, at least not very often. Not only are our stories boring, but they don’t have the arresting openings of junk mail. We delete, without reading, junk mail with subject lines like “Coed Naked Teens” and “Earn Millions Refinancing Your Home” so why do you think we want to hear your story that begins, “I was watching this show on the Weather Channel last night…?” I’m quite sure that I have told some stories so boring that my friends wonder why humans ever bothered to develop the capacity for speech.

Since we are being so out in the open and honest, let me just say that you guys are pretty boring most of the time. I would rather listen to a car alarm go off than hear you tell me about the weird dream you had last night. What’s that you say? You already heard my story about how I got locked out of my apartment and had to sleep in the hallway? Delete. Excuse me but I was just trying to fill the conversational vacuum so that you wouldn’t go on for fifteen minutes about your new diet. Delete. Yes, I know that I am still talking about the Tour de France and it was over five months ago. Delete. At least I’m not talking about the mermaid baby you saw on Oprah. Delete. What’s that? Well, I’m not talking to you either.

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