Never Tell the Same Story Twice

For reasons that are not completely clear to me, I tell the same stories several times over, sometimes to the same person.

If you are aware of this tendency, either because you recognize in yourself or some else, then you know it’s awful. It’s not awful in the obnoxious sense of bragging, because although bragging and repeating likely come from the same root, repeating makes us aware of the mechanical nature of brains, that we simply can’t let go of a story, and continue the iteration with the nauseating brokenness of a skipping CD.

Like bragging, repeating turns a friend into an audience. Listening to people tell the same story again always makes me cringe–you might as well have the person on a cassette which you can punch on and off at your leisure.

And somehow, catching the mind-as-machine is more horrible than seeing the body-as-machine. Jerking muscles, even stuttering, is not quite as unnerving as facial glitches or Turrets syndrome.

you would think that this would be like a glitch while watching your favorite movie–momentarily, the suspension of disbelief is lost, and the story is revealed as a piece of media. But usually this is not quite the case: we are able to return to the movie without too much thought at the disruption, to resume our place in the story without much further worry about the fault in the tape or the internet connection.

but in conversation, our suspension of disbelief in the conversation–that we are humans with will speaking with other humans with will, rather than automatons frozen within predetermined biological rhythms.

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