Perpetually Peeved

So there I was…

Let me start this post by saying thank you all for missing me.  Apparently, my blog gets just as many hits when I don’t post as when I do… I don’t know exactly how to feel about that.  Maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder. 

So, I need a vacation from my vacation.  Every time I go back “home” I swear I’m never going back.  There’s just too much to do and see and eat – too much trying to make everyone happy and only succeeding in making no one happy.  Know what I mean?  I’m making you all t-shirts:  Perpetually Peeved went to NY and all I got were these lousy rants.  There’s that at least.  And, the fried clams.  Those were amazing. 

These were not too shabby either... Cheesesteak/Pizza steak from Jim's in Philly

Let’s start with the Peeved family reunion.  Family reunions are always fun. My big, Italian side of the family has a reunion every July 4th.  This year was the 37th annual picnic.  I hadn’t been to one in about 10 years.  So, it was nice to see everyone again even if I couldn’t recognize half of my cousins.  

What I did recognize were the stories.  You know what I’m talking about.  Every family has them.  The stories that are told every time you get together, no matter how many times you’ve gotten together.  Now, hearing these stories made me come to a realization.  There are those who are meant to tell stories and there are those who are meant to listen.  It should be apparent who is who.  If you are telling the story of the time Grandma left the pits in the cherries when she cooked the pie and find yourself off on a tangent about the exact shade of purple you wore to Aunt Matilda’s wedding, then you should not be telling the story.  Leave it to the professionals. 

All stories in my family require a complete ensemble cast to tell the tale.  You have the STORY TELLER, the FACT CHECKER, the CORRECTOR, the INSTIGATOR, the UNDERMINER, the TANGENTIAL CONVERSER, the TOPPER, the POSER, and the VIRTUAL CENTER OF ATTENTION.  Let’s review: 

INSTIGATOR:  Remember that time that Grandma left the pits in the cherry pie?  STORY TELLER, tell that story you tell it best. 

STORY TELLER:  Oh, gosh.  That was great.  So, we were all sitting around the table, and mom had been baking this pie all afternoon.  We wolfed down dinner and were all set to eat this pie that we had been smelling for hours.  So, mom brings out the dessert plates and puts them in front of us and then sets down a little bowl next to each dessert plate. 

FACT CHECKER:  No, CORRECTOR would have gotten the bowls, that was always his job.  

CORRECTOR:  Yes, I put out the bowls, and it wasn’t a bowl for every plate.  Mom would never want to do that many dishes.  She would have only had me put out two bowls – one for each side of the table. 

STORY TELLER:  Well, it’s funnier when there’s a bowl for every plate. 

UNDERMINER:  Oh, don’t tell me… the bowls were for the pits that she forgot to take out of the pie. 

STORY TELLER:  Am I telling this story here, or what? 

TANGENTIAL CONVERSER: Grandma totally wouldn’t have put out a bowl for every plate.  She used to make us drink out of disposable dixie cups.  Do you remember that?  I think I was still drinking out of those cups when I was 22. 

TOPPER:  Yeah, that was a funny story, but remember that time that Grandpa pretended to hate the cat for years and then cried like a baby when it died?  Tell that story. 

STORY TELLER:  Okay, so one year your uncle Stanley brings home this stray cat. 

CORRECTOR:  Actually, it was Merle.  Merle brought the cat home. 

STORY TELLER:  What difference does it make?  One of us kids brought the stupid cat home.  We begged Ma to keep it. 

POSER: Yeah, then when she said yes, a couple of years later it died and Grandpa cried like a baby. 

STORY TELLER:  Well, there you have it.  There was the story. 

VIRTUAL CENTER OF ATTENTION:  Oh, I remember that, he cried like a baby it was, like, so funny. 

STORY TELLER:  You weren’t even born yet. 

VIRTUAL CENTER OF ATTENTION: Oh, I wasn’t?  Why are we telling stories that don’t involve me? 

FACT CHECKER:  Well, actually, it was in 1981 because I was in 12th grade and had just taken my SAT the night that Merle brought home the cat.  So, technically VCoA was born, but not old enough to remember it. 

STORY TELLER:  Oh, for the love of Pete, where’s my beer? 

Moral of the story (pun intended): 

  • If you don’t know how to tell a story, don’t.
  • If you want someone else to tell the story, don’t give away the punch line in your introduction.
  • Don’t correct or fact check the storyteller.  Remember, the storyteller knows what they are doing and is probably embellishing or omitting depending on what makes for a good story.  It’s called creative license and editing.
  • Don’t interrupt the story.
  • Don’t ask the storyteller to tell the story just so you can interject and tell the story yourself anyway.
  • Don’t wait for a break in the story to interject with your own.
  • Don’t try to make the story yours if it isn’t.
  • Don’t try to “top” stories.
  • Don’t forget to take the pits out of the cherries before you cook the pie!

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