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Storytellers Unite!

Generally speaking, parents are the absolute worst storytellers in the world.  Sure, they can put together a fine sentence, but the problem is that parents don’t have any good material.  When you have kids, the rest of your life revolves around them, unless of course you are a bad parent and neglect your kids.  This makes for very tedious and tiresome storytelling.

In the defense of the parents, they can’t help telling painfully idiotic stories.  Kids are so BORING!  I wouldn’t think so, what with all the different ways children are destructive and/or hurt themselves within the home.  Maybe it’s just that parents won’t tell the stories about their kids that make them look like bad parents (for instance, if their kids do poorly in school, start using mind-altering narcotics, or join the Peace Corps).

Here’s what I would call an interesting story:

“So little Vernon got himself all caught up in the curling iron again while I was watching General Hospital.  Third degree burns all over his neck and face.  Had to take him to the emergency room.  After GH, that is.  Then, while he was at the hospital, he put his hands in his bedpan and finger-painted a picture on the wall . . . what, you’re just going to make a phone call in front of me? . . . Oh, I see.  You’re calling Family Services.  Should’ve seen that coming.”

This is the type of story I hear all the time:

“My little boy, Gerald, did the most amazing thing today!  He . . . (wait for it) . . . pulled himself up on the coffee table!”

Wow, that is amazing!  I’ll tell you what’s even more amazing!  I took actual steps while your child rolled around on the carpet in his own filth!  Amazing!  Before I get all sorts of backlash (angry comments, letter bombs, and electric eel singing telegrams, just to name a few), I want you to know I sympathize with you.  If your child means everything to you, then it makes sense that your thoughts, time, and energy are consumed with your child.  Thus, the only things you talk about are every mundane detail about your kid.

Before you beat me to it, I want to let you know I realize I talk about my cats the same way people would talk about their kids.  You might be yelling at the computer screen, “Hey, you hypocrite!  That’s a double standard when you talk about your cats all the time, then lecture me for talking about my spawn!”  The main difference, though, is that my anecdotes are interesting.

I’m sorry, but your child is boring.  If your child produced the same kind of shenanigans my cats do, then you would always be at the hospital or taking the child to see a licensed, professional mental health specialist.

If I were to tell the types of stories about my cats that you tell about your kids, you would walk away from me, cursing my name and spitting on the ground in disgust.  I’m going to take stories people have told me about the “amazing” things their kids do, and insert my cats’ names into the story.  Imagine Louie and Rocco doing all the “amazing” things kids do!  Here are a few such stories:

“Louie stood up on two feet today!”  (Big whoop.  He was doing that when he was 4 weeks old.  It’s taken your kid a year to do that?  What’s wrong with him?)

“Rocco rolled over all by himself today!”  (My cat rolls over in his sleep.  What kind of accomplishment is this for a child that it should be celebrated?  “Oh good, you rolled over!  Now get a job.”  That’s how it should be.)

Today, Louie said, “Da-da!”  (Okay, in all fairness, if my cat were to actually do that, it would be pretty amazing.  I could probably even make a little money off of it.  But talking is about the only interesting thing your kid probably does.)

So we can tell from this that the things kids do really aren’t really that noteworthy.

Let’s say again that your children’s names are Vernon and Gerald.  They’re nice names, and it’s unlikely that they are your child’s name, making them perfect for examples.  I’m going to tell you a few stories about Louie and Rocco (also good example story names), my cats.  But instead of using my cats’ names, I will instead write the names Vernon and Gerald.  Imagine human children living through these stories, and tell me if my cats’ lives are about a quadrillion times more interesting than your kids’.  For instance:

“Vernon did the funniest thing today!  He tried to jump up onto the upstairs railing, but he overshot it, fell onto the stairs, landed on his back, and ran off!”  (If your kid really does like to sit in the raling, you should be worried about him.  But seriously, if your child took a spill like that, you would have to take him to the emergency room.)

“I keep having to pull Gerald out of the bathtub, because he likes to lick the water off the tub floor.  I always get concerned he’s eating soap, too.”  (Really, how would you react if you saw your child drinking water off the bottom of the bathtub?  That’s right, another trip to the hospital, or at least a visit to a psychiatrist.)

“Sometime I just can’t believe Vernon.  He ate 3 feet of ribbon this morning!  I can’t keep him away from the stuff.  He didn’t eat anything else the rest of the day!  After he threw it up, I found him 5 minutes later eating ribbon again!”  (As a parent, what can you really do if your kid was like this?  Again, you’d be with your child in the hospital while trying to explain to the doctors why you should be allowed to keep your kids.  As a cat owner, you just try to hide the ribbon in a better place.)

“When Vernon poops in the litter box, he never covers it up.  A few minutes later, after it’s really starting to stink, Gerald comes along and scrapes some litter to cover the indiscretion.  Vernon won’t even clean himself with his tongue after making Number 2.”  (Enough said.)

You don’t have to tell me; I know I’ve successfully proven that my cats are more interesting than your children.  If I put my cats into your kid stories, it makes my cats look like boring zombies.  That’s how painfully monotonous your children are.  Yet, if I put your kids into my cat stories, it would be too much for you, as a parent, to handle.

So if you must tell me stories, at least tell me interesting stories (i.e., not about your kids).  Maybe you should take up a hobby so you’ll have something relevant to say.  Then you’ll be able to tell me all about something more interesting than kids, like model trains, stamp collecting, or watching carpet grow.

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  1. Shauna aguilar
    February 28, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    read it…and it inspired my next voodoo doll project.

  2. February 28, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Wow, I’m not sure if I should insert videos of MY exciting children to show you, or run over to Bubbe’s house and shave her cats. I tell what I am gonna do is save this bit of “satire” and show it to your kids someday. Then you can explain how your cats (who’ll be dead and buried in the backyard by then) are more exciting than they are.

    • kylebaxter
      March 1, 2009 at 1:07 am

      Brett–

      Definitely save this for my kids. Sadly, having cats buried in the backyard will still be more interesting than baby Vernon burping himself for the first time. Kids don’t really get exciting until they start crashing your car. By then, they’re not so undeniably cute that you can laugh it off.

      Phil–

      Every day, I strain myself not to become the uncool old guy, but I fall shorter and shorter as time goes on. I’m sure every time my child completes a milestone like potty training or college, I will just about wet myself with excitement. I’m still in the denial stage. It’s a process.

  3. Phil
    March 1, 2009 at 12:40 am

    You know, parents probably should show a little self control on the stories they tell. They just get so excited by every little thing. That’s okay though, I’ll be doing the same thing one day. I used to kid myself into thinking I would never be the stupid grown up making silly faces at babies, but then I became an uncle and I make the best silly faces. So I will probably tell you boring stories one day about some inane thing one of my future offspring did, and so will you when you have kids. Sing it with me: “It’s the ciiiirrrcle of liiiiiiife….”

  4. Jesse Weedman
    March 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Hey I work for Family Services and hear those kinds of stories all the time! The good ones that is!!!

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