Oct. 26, 2005
I have come to a conclusion that normal conversation no longer exists.
Conversation these days consists of storytelling. The stories could be factual or so much bunk. It is very difficult to tell anymore. People have learned how to mask their body language and speak in normal tones when telling the story of “The One That Got Away.”
That particular conversation always starts out with how big the boat was; then how powerful the engine was; what it took to pull that boat to the water; and the near-death experiences on the boat ramp.
Actually talking about fishing is a whole ‘nother matter.
Each telling of the tale brings more fish; then larger fish; then exotic fish and fish far removed from natural habitat (like a piranha in a Wisconsin lake).
What is scaring me is the memory I hold of my grandfather. He was telling whoppers well before the advent of “Burger King”. Now that I am a grandfather, my concern is, as I get on in years, needing that larger or more exotic fish in my net.
I already speak of 11 cent a gallon gasoline and nickel candy bars that were the size of modern day bars costing 99 cents. I remember the 35 cent full-length movie; and yes, I went fishing with my dad and brothers a lot. One time I was the only one to return with a legal sized large mouth bass to my credit. (I’ll keep the rest of that fish story for the grandkids).
Useless-knowledge reminds me of conversations gone wild. The need to go one up on anyone sometimes produces a valid argument, but many times produces a useless debate; full of platitudes and talking points that many of us have read repeatedly, ad nausea.
I’m not going to pick on anyone. I am guilty too of attempting to refute writers that are stuck on rewind. One particular writer here has explained to us many times why it is his job to keep the rest of us all straight.
I suppose conversation without storytelling would be rather boring. I think of scientists though, and mathematicians, and historians; do their conversations include all that additional “I, me and Mine-ism”? Do auto mechanics brag about that bigger engine they fixed? I know of two mechanics who try to best each other on the beauty of certain customers; but knowing each other’s prowess with engines they are scarce to try to go one up in matters of engine repair.
Do you find yourself unable to keep quiet when someone is talking about that great buy on “eBay” or that excellent antique purchase at someone’s yard sale or flea market? Was your purchase as valuable, more valuable, a “real steal”?
I don’t know.
It is probably natural to have something to contribute to every conversation we face. Even when the topics are over our level of expertise, or out of the range of our desire to even be involved; we sometimes find ourselves wanting to say something; anything to announce our presence and need to be included.
Our rule at the dinner table was “speak when spoken to and keep quiet to hear all answers”. I always believed that to be great advice. My dad didn’t ask for many opinions. He asked for facts. I believe he asked for facts because he was truly interested in the lives of his children and what was going on in our adolescent minds.
No stories; just the facts; you know…what might be considered “normal” conversation.
About the Author: Michael John McCrae has contributed over 400 articles to Useless-Knowledge.com.
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