Friday, January 9, 2009

Tell Me A Story

(Photo credit: A.W.A.N., from )
Mr. P.O.D. (remember him? If not, please refer to my blog entry from Tuesday, September 2, 2008) is a very thoughtful and insightful person. He enjoys getting to know people and will even strike up conversations with interesting-looking individuals just to get their “back story”. A fan of military history, he will approach elderly veterans (often identifiable with ball caps and jackets bearing their infantry groups and/or reunion patches and marks bearing battle or warship information) and ask them about their experiences. P.O.D. delights in the learning and re-telling of this information.

Just recently, P.O.D. went to a college reunion dinner party with some old school mates and their spouses. Given that many of these individuals have been out of college for thirty years, and have a lifetime of experiences, one would surmise that there would be a plethora of stories. When asked to share some, according to P.O.D., most of the folks around the table got that “deer in headlights” look and proclaimed that they had no stories.

No stories??

P.O.D. had to coax his former classmates into timidly sharing details from their lives, which ultimately, made them realize that they might, indeed, have a story or two.

But this has now become his mission. In fact, it has now become his favorite “party game”. “Tell Me A Story” has become a fantastic way to get to know people better…even some of those people who we have known for a long, long time. In fact, this past New Years Eve, P.O.D. and I sat around the table with my brother, his wife, their two daughters, and my sister-in-law’s cousin. We told stories for hours, each one getting progressively humorous as the night drew on. The best was hearing my sister-in-law imitate her grandmother’s British accent as she regaled a story from her youth.

What I take from the “Tell Me A Story” game is that there is so much to learn and so much to share and if we all took a few minutes to do this every day with one another, the world might be a much better place.

In fact, I met a dear friend of mine on an airplane (and I am definitely known to NOT be a “plane talker”) by sharing stories over Bloody Marys. At the end of our two-hour flight, we had developed a wonderful friendship. She is 75 and I am 40 and I might have never, otherwise, spoken to this woman but the story game broke down the walls of social indifference. This has been nearly three years ago and we still call and visit each other as often as we are able.

Imagine the wonderful people on the planet that you might be missing. Stop and listen. You might actually find a commonality between you. The world is not that big of a place. In fact, sharing stories will, no doubt, make it feel much smaller and friendlier. I tell stories to all of you twice a week. Now it is your turn.

Tell me a story….

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