“Tell us a story that we couldn’t find in a newspaper…” (inquisitive voice) in media res
I had lunch with two older gentlemen from my church, we meet once a year and catch up and talk about baseball and life.
We ironically talked about who the most famous person we ever met happened to be. Kenny Rogers in passing… David Schwimmer in passing… The oldest member of our group told a story, ironically, about a football player.
The older gentleman (+65 years old) has had some health problems, so the fact that he’s able to sit there and talk to us is a miracle in and of itself. But, he energetically told us a story about an encounter he had when he was younger. He was about 9 or 10 years old and he was in downtown Cleveland with his dad. His dad was at a jewelry store and struck up a conversation with THE Jim Brown, one of the greatest NFL runningbacks of all time. His dad asked him to tell them a story that wouldn’t be recorded in the media, they wanted a story they could tell others, maybe to prove they met him or to have a story in and of itself. They asked him to “tell us a story that we couldn’t find in a newspaper”
Jim Brown obliged. He recalled a game where the Browns were playing the Giants in Yankee’s stadium. It was a tight game. 7-7, Jim Brown would make a run and then tackled by Sam Huff of the Giants of New York (Eddie Murphy voice/Coming to America) and every time Huff tackled Jim Brown, he would say, “You stink Brown!… You stink.” This went on the entire game. The game eventually was tied again and the Browns were driving the ball down the field. “You stink Brown, you stink!” Continued on that drive. On the final play of the drive, the Browns are at the goal line. Jim Brown is given the ball to jump over the players to land in the end zone. As fate would have it, he lands on who else… Sam Huff. He looks down at him and says, “You stink Huff, you stink!”
It was amazing to listen to this story being retold by my friend, a moment in time that wasn’t recorded was passed down through storytelling. A chance encounter produced a question which produced a memory which produced a conversation piece that produced this blog. The start of one question threaded time and space to land on jeong.me.
This story wouldn’t have lived on except for 3 key ingredients.
- The dad of my friend had the insight to ask for a story like that.
- My friend has had some health issues, so the fact that he was sitting there retelling the story many years later was a miracle and an added bonus to the conversation.
- The story stuck with me and I had to have the desire to retell this story. Now it will live forever* in cyberspace. (forever is a relative term, but this may be read decades after I die).
How can you take this story and use the principles to advance your life and make it better?
Let me guide you with 3 simple take aways.
- Ask the right questions. Look back on your life and ask yourself, what could I have asked in the past? What do I want to remember? Ask the right questions!?
- Understand your circumstances and capitalize on them. If you see Jim Brown, ask him a great question. Make the most of chance encounters and enjoy that time you have with family and tell stories and retell them.
- Write things down in a journal and record moments. Just record moments however you like and make sure it can be passed on to the next generation. Email yourself stories. Take pictures. Take videos (of legal things). Record and pass on!