THE GREATEST STORYTELLER

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Submitted Date 05/15/2019
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We all have that one friend who tells the most captivating stories. You know the one I'm talking about. You can easily spot her at a party— just look for the tightly-circled crowd, vacillating between rapt, attentive silence and uproarious outbursts of laughter, and she's bound to be the center of their attention.

She has storytelling down to science. First she hooks you with a long expositional prologue stuffed with background information— not so much as an actual episode within the story, but as a textbook style history lesson prior to it. From there the story begins! She reels you in by introducing a half-dozen boring, loathsome characters, without clearly indicating who is meant to be the main character. Then she meanders down tangential paths that have nothing to do with the story's main thrust, lingering on irrelevant details for as long as possible so you can really soak it all in. After backtracking, starting over, and pausing to explain things so often that you forget how the story even began, she seems to be approaching the climax when... she stops abruptly, leaving you breathless and on edge. You realize that the story is over. She wasn't building to a specific ending— she had no intended theme, no punchline.

That's when you all exchange knowing smirks as you applaud; once again she has effectively conveyed the random chaos of life as lived.

And, as if that's not enough, she's so generous too! You couldn't count the number of times she's taken someone aside who didn't 'get it' so she can privately retell her story in a more clear, concise, and coherent manner, and then explain its meaning because obviously they're too dim to figure it out for themselves.

Man, she's really something, isn't she? The only way she could possibly be any better— and it's blasphemous to even suggest such a thing— is if she told her story's in iambic pentameter and used the archaisms of the King James Bible and Shakespeare. Maybe she could use some Legalese to spice things up too? Ooh— or what if she told her stories in Middle English using the original pronunciation?

If only there was an narrative tradition— in literature, film, video games, and other media— that employed the same techniques used by your brilliant friend.

Oh well. At least you can always count on her.

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