How to Tell Stories from Your Wild and Crazy Past

By Charlotte Latvala

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to reminisce. In fact, what’s the point of making it through five decades if you can’t look back and brag every now and then? To make your tales really sizzle, you’ll want to:

  1. Admit, with a self-deprecating chuckle, that you’re old enough to have a Good Old Days. Pause long enough for everyone to argue.
  2. Set the tone by starting with “When I was in college…” especially when talking to your kids. Nothing gets the youngsters more pumped than knowing they’re about to careen down Memory Lane with Mom or Dad.
  3. Imply that your past was decadent beyond imagining, to the point where you really can’t remember much of it. This can be achieved with a few well-placed eye rolls, vigorous head-nodding, and half-uttered phrases such as “Oh yeah – wow. The Agora/Metropol/CBGB’s. Now that was something.” Again, shake your head and give a hint of a sly smile, as if remembering some past indiscretion. (Truth: You can’t remember a lot of things, but your misspent youth isn’t the problem. You’re over 50, and your brain is a swampy, soggy mess much of the time.)
  4. Remind the young ones how boring things are now by peppering your story with these phrases: “You wouldn’t understand,” “No one nowadays would get this,” and “Keep in mind, back in the 1970s….”
  5. Add a humorous touch. Pretend you don’t know the modern day names for things, and/or keep purposely using 1980s terminology, e.g. “If you grab my car phone for me, I’ll punch in the number and show you what I mean.”
  6. Quote from Bruce Springsteen songs when you sense your audience drifting. See if anyone notices.
  7. Promise an exciting new installment at a later, unspecified date. Such as “Remind me to tell you about the time I met Devo when I was in college. You’re gonna love that story!”
  8. Forget to tell them. Rest assured, they won’t remind you.
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Filed under 50, humor, mid-life, storytelling, wild and crazy

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