May 2008

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« Who Will Kill all the Senior Citizens? | Main | Creative Question »

Comments

Mike Sabat

Great story.

I think that having no stories is a memory problem right? People have to do interesting things.

I have a million stories, but can't remember a joke to save my life.

spike17

There's no such thing as "coincidence". Your story was simply further evidence that not only do you not have free will, there's more than one individual at a time making the exact same choices as you. (By implication, Scott, you've probably been benefitting, by no true skill or talent of your own, from someone elses great ideas....remember, payback is a bitch....)

Kent

Enough with the posts about cats.

Marc

I posted a comment a few minutes ago, and just realize I should have told the first story in a different way. The fact that the 2 girls were born on the same day should be at the end of the story. Not at the beginning.

Knowing how to tell a story well is important, obviously.

vader1941

Back in my old school, Activity High School, Bombay, some renovations were going on in the bathrooms. The pipes, the tiles, etc were being replaced. The Principal, Bagli, told us two things:
-One, everyone has to share one common toilet.
-Two, no one is to use the toilets being renovated, even if they appear ready.

Although the first rule had great potential to generate hilarity, the second one proved to be the Golden-boy.
Someone disobeyed it, and was never caught.
In the morning, Bagli told us of this offender. Someone shat in a forbidden toilet, and flushed the mess down. Below him, a plumber working on the sewage pipes got a face full of flushed shit, a very unpleasant experience. She asked the offender to fess up, but the fessing never came.

I told this story to everyone, including the principal of my new school, who asked me why I left my old one.

Marc

I have a few interesting stories, Scott. Since you mentioned coincidences, I'll tell you 2 stories involving them. Both stories are about girls.

I'm almost 40 years old, not married, and have had quite a few girlfriends. The 2 girlfriends I was the longest with were born on the SAME PRECISE DAY. One in Brazil, the other in Indonesia (actually, the one in Indonesia was born one calendar day ahead, which makes sense, since they are 11 hours ahead). I don't believe in horoscopes or astrology, but exactly the same things that attracted me to one, attracted me to the other. And exactly the sames things that repelled me from one, repelled me from the other. It's uncanny how similar they are. And I suspect it proves how stupid I am for not having learned the first time around, and gotten together with the same kind of girl.

The other story involves 2 other girls. I started going out with a girl in Dallas. Nothing serious, just as a "friend with benefits". Shortly after, I met a girl from San Antonio that I liked. I started a long distance relationship with her. However, I sensed she was not as much into it as I was. So, I resumed having sex with the first one (from Dallas). It was only after the San Antonio girl showed more signs of interest that I stopped seeing the Dallas girl.
Long story short, 2 months later the Dallas girl asks me if I know XXXXX (the San Antonio girl). I was puzzled. It turns out the San Antonio girl's roommate was one of the closest friends of the Dallas girl, from their College days. Now, what are the odds of that happening? I can imagine the conversation the Dallas girl and the common friend had:
- XXXX is dating someone from YYY.
- really? I'm going out with someone from there too.
- He works for ZZZ.
- No kidding. Mine too.
- No, no, no, his name is WWWW.
- Wait a minute, mine is WWWW too!
- Oh, shit.

Turil

Coincidentally, I, too am working on creating a service that is pretty damn similar to the one you wanted to create and patent. But my idea is better. Much, much better. Amazing, impressively, world-changingly better.

And, here's the good part... you will have as much of an opportunity to benefit from my idea as I do. (Aren't I nice?)

Well, that's my story. Or the beginning's of it, at least. I'll let you know how it ends after I find out what happens in the middle part of the story...

larry horowitz

In the seventies and eighties I was quite an avid tennis player and invented a new rule I called "The Horowitz Challenge". It was to stop crybabies like McEnroe from complaining about bad line calls. It worked pretty much exactly like the challenge rule they have today.

I spent a year mailing all of the tennis magazines as well as some of the top players of that time trying to get my idea out. I only got like one response saying it's not feasible because it would take too long to review the tape and make a decision. Twenty years later I saw my idea implemented on TV.

But I thought of it first!

concatenator

"I am self-deprecating, because I reserve my arrogance for other purposes"

Anything better than this for a motto? Paul O, consider this line stolen.

a person

My friend had the most awesome driving stories...most of them involved him being reckless, though, and hijinx ensued. Everyone in Trig class laughed and laughed...and never rode with him again.

Just kidding.

He was going down a highway at night, and a deer jumped out in front of him. He slammed on the brakes, and just missed hitting it. The deer continued to go across the street, and a car coming from the opposite direction hit it.

webar

Ken Ryan --

You're a good story teller, just not a good story ENDER. Your story needs a climax -- a reversal or a punch line to relieve the tension of your build-up and description.

Take another look at Scott's story (or any of his blog posts, really) and see how he leads the reader in one direction and then reverses at the last minute. Or sometimes his last paragraph presents a startling, yet logically satisfying, conclusion ("how will we kill all of the senior citizens?").

That's good story telling.

:-)

JShope

1. Your job is telling stories, anecdotes, etc. I have other interests that I see reflected in places you likely do not, since they are of no interest to you.

2. Your "commie" quip is dead wrong. It is more democratic and capitalist to abolish the patent office and give everyone a chance to capitalize on the product to the best of their ability. It is when Mother Government has to step to ensure that the weaklings have extra privileges that it moves closer to Communism.

Radioactive

@Mark Thornson
Dude, what the fuck?! Why not just fill the rest of the line

sleeve

Hi Scott -
Last year I had a challenging career change, and started reading Dilbert most days (to help keep the anxiety in check). Now I work with patents, and it was cool to hear about your experience. Thanks for doing the blog thing.

Danny

I think everyone has stories, but the difference between storytellers and non-storytellers is in their internal make up. Some people are very socially conscious, and stories are one form of currency in these circles. Their minds keep stories handy and are able to trim and polish the tales to make them more valuable. Then they are able to recall and tell these stories and gain attention for themselves.
When you first mentioned this in your blog yesterday, I had nothing. But as the day wore on, I thought of several of my own stories. I even have one that I have written up and placed on a geocaching website, since it tell a tale that happened after a 4 1/2 mile hike in the rain, snow, and mud, that I took with a group of 25 or so geocachers. Here it is:


Maybe you would like to know the "rest of the story" about what happened at the end of the day for me, and how I ended up laying on the hood of a police cruiser.
Turtle, KY Hiker, and I continued caching in Jeffersonville, and I did not get back to my car until after dark. I was nearly at I-71 and the Watterson when my cell phone rang. It was my wife, letting me know that my oldest son had just had a car accident at the mall, and was unable to find his insurance card. I changed lanes and was on my way. As I arrived on the scene, I saw my son in his car in the right lane leading out to Shelbyville road. His back bumper was roughed up some, but otherwise things didn't look too bad. Behind him was the car that had hit him, and behind that was a St. Matthews police car with full flashing lights on. I pulled up behind, becoming the fourth car in the line.
As I lifted my left leg out of the car to get out, I was hit with a leg cramp. Not just any leg cramp; this thing started at my left knee and continued up the inside of my thigh to my crotch. This is a major muscle group that, because of a four and a half mile hike and a general lack of other previous use, decided to tighten up to the full extent that a major group of muscles can. I doubled over in pain, and then straightened up in agony. I looked up ahead, and saw my son was still unaware of my presence, sitting there looking all forlorn. I just had to get up there, cramp or no cramp. I staggered to the front of my car, limped diagonally behind the police car, and stumbled forward on his passenger side. When I got about even with his hood, the intense pain, the cold, the flashing lights, my fatigue, the sudden upright position after relaxing in the car, and the large cup of coffee with sugar that had been my only food since 10:15AM, all ganged up on me and started my head spinning. The lights were brighter, the noises louder, and then I heard the whooshing sound that let me know I had better get my head lower, or else my passing out would take care of that for me. Oh, look, there is a nice flat and fairly clean surface I can lay on!
Now picture the situation from the cop's point of view. You are at a pretty routine fender bender, and the only thing even slightly out of the ordinary is that the driver who got hit is still rooting through his glove compartment and hasn't come up with an insurance card. Then out of the dark and rain, a car pulls up behind you. The driver gets out, stumbles a bit, bends over, straightens up and limps up beside your car. As he approaches, you see he is covered in mud, tired and pained looking, and his hair is a mess. He is wearing an odd combination of old clothes, jacket, and a rain slicker, all of which are also well splattered with mud. He reaches the front of your car, and then falls with a thump onto your hood, stretching out his arms and then not moving again.
The cop jumps out of the car with eyes about the size of eggs, and sticking out just about that far, too. I could tell he didn't quite know whether to go for his gun, for a radio, or just for the nearest set of bushes to hide behind. In a voice about a full octave higher than any man should or even normally could use, he screeches, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!?"
I roll my head in his direction and croak out in two syllables the longest explanation I could manage. "...LEG ...CRAMP ...", seems to cover it pretty well to me, in my light headed condition. A incredulous look crosses his face, since he had already prepared himself for "Heart attack" or "I have a bomb" or maybe even "Die, Copper", or just about anything but "Leg cramp"! Then in a voice only about a half octave lower than before, he screams "GET OFF OF MY CAR"!!
At this point, getting off of his car now seems more important to me than my cramping thigh or my light head. I rise and stumble back to my car, before the same conditions as before cause that whooshing sound to rise to almost deafening levels. I think I laid down on my hood, but I won't really swear that I didn't just black out on the way down. Anyway, I lie there for several minutes, and the cop NEVER EVEN APPROACHES ME. My only explanation is that my behavior is now threatening enough that a trained man with a gun has decided to keep his distance!
I lie there for a few minutes, and I notice my wife pulling up beside my car, blocking another lane of traffic. She rushes around her car and up beside me and screeches in a voice about an octave high than her normal level, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" "...LEG ...CRAMP...", I reply, being hit with a slight case of deja vu. I think I know what to expect next, but she surprises me with "Just wait 'till I get you home. You are in trouble!"
As I lay there, she goes up and helps my son come up with the insurance card. The cop, who, according to my son had previously been just as nice as could be, is now ready to work out his adrenalin rush. He yells at my wife to leave because she is blocking traffic. He yells at the other driver for having the accident. He yells at my son, apparently for finding his insurance card. I think he even yelled at passersby. He yelled at everyone but me, who he continued to ignore. I finally worked out most of the cramp and gained enough blood in my head to feel confident to get into the car and drive over to a nearby parking spot. Soon, everything was in order, insurance company names were exchanged, and an exciting event wound down to an end. At home, the trouble I was in ended up as a lecture that I had better work out and get prepared, or I would never be allowed to go caching again. Good advice! I'm afraid that if I don't work up to it, a bear might not be impressed with my leg cramp story when I am in the Blue Ridge Mountains in April on our next hike.

Colleen

Since reading your blog yesterday, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the whole concept of stories. I thought I actually had quite a few stories, but the more I thought about them, the more I realized they were closer to being amusing anecdotes. People tell me all the time that I should write a book. The only problem is that when sit down to write the stories out, they just sound stupid. But if I were to TELL you the story, in person, I could probably having you laughing until you pee your pants. You see, much of my telling of the story involves imitating the voice and mannerisms of the people in the story, and I just cannot figure out how to make that come across in written form. So Scott, if you ever need cheering up, you could fly me out to CA and I would be happy to tell you my giant carp story, Bridezilla story, or dog with a lamp shade story. Until then!

Penethra

There- so I told you how wonderful you are. Will you leave me the Hell alone now please? Thanks. :)

Bob

Jesus, Scott... A tale of how you tried to make money from the invention of a system where people are fleeced at their weakest... pretending to give people a service, while you're actually after their money... that's not a story, it's a confession.

Congratulations, you almost invented adware. Pity the cool web search toolbar got there first.

I think it's time to lift that moistened finger again... The times they are a-changin'...

Jeff Meyerson

You call that a good story. Scott, you've done much better.

A good story is my uncle secretly taping Son of Sam & trying to sell the tapes.

Kevin Kunreuther

Part of this phenom you describe I believe is part of the DNA, and another part is taught or passed on somehow. Did you or your brother keep journals when you were younger?

Steve

I got married in Zambia. A guy dressed as chicken danced at my wedding then skewered his cheeks with sharp sticks. The band got high and played "Alice, who the f**k is Alice". We ate caterpillars in peanut butter sauce. I won't even go into the "birds and the bees" instruction ceremony.

Andy

I had a great idea a few years back that would stop pedestrians standing at a crosswalk when they had plenty of time to cross because the red-light timings were set for dawdling elderly folk who can't walk fast. Why not, I thought, have a count-down timer on the lights indicating how many seconds were left to safely cross?

Well, I didn't mention my idea to anyone because even my friends, who know me as an eccentric, would laugh it off as too stupid.

Then blow me down if I didn't notice exactly this idea being used in Santa Monica when I went to LA on vacation.

Ewan

This is a much better story than your "best story ever" from a few days ago.

Peter Payne

Once, back in the days before the Internet, some friends and I wrote a "zine" which is a crappy xeroxed little newsletter filled with presumably "edgey" content that shows how cool we are. Our zine was called Parachute Limit, which is the name of a Japanese song that we liked the sound of. Like 100 people, max, read anything we wrote (for some reason we had a following in Atlanta, GA), but it was fun to do.

Anyhoo, we were writing our little articles on life, the universe and everything, and in my article for some reason I felt the need to reiterate the heterosexual status of my friends and I, I can't remember why now. So I added "Note that we aren't homosexual" to my article. Of course, the Gods of Typos deemed that I should actually type "Not that we aren't homosexual." Which really peed in the Wheaties of my friends, who asked how one omitted 'e' could cause so much havoc.

Note that we aren't homosexual.

Enough Wealth

It seems to me that success in life is more like 10% timing and 90% effort.

For example, when the internet was just starting to go "mainstream" I thought about setting up some web sites for astrology and online dating, and registering suitable domain names, but never got around to doing anything about it. At that time dial-up "bulletin board" services were still all the rage, and the 'net was in it's infancy, so I could have grabbed domain names that would nowadays be worth lots of $$$. Unfortunately, a good idea isn't worth anything if you don't make the effort to follow it up.

Then again perhaps you're right - you must have been the first person to ever think of drawing a cartoon featuring office politics, and of course there was not much effort involved in making Dilbert a success ;)

Regards
http://enoughwealth.com

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