I’ve been dropping crumbs since 2009. I was listening to my mother tell me something that I had already heard, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her to PLEEEEASE not tell that same story again. I vowed that I would remember when I was repeating myself; that I would stop myself in mid mouth movement if I was telling the same story over and over no matter what “doggon shame.”
I’m sure that retelling stories is the human technology upon which rewind, replay, and rerun buttons are based; a remnant of traditional story telling by griots and those who recited scripture. I remember asking my father to retell a joke over and over and over. I would crack up and almost pee in my pants each time I heard the punch line. I would ask my mother to recite “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks. Each time her slick, low melodic voice let me in on the secret place between the words and the snap of her finger. And I always loved to hear my grandmother tell me stories about my grandfather who was missing one part of his finger because of something with a gun. He died when I was two, and repeated stories about him were the only way I got to know him.
Some stories are worth retelling and some are not. The key is to remember which one is which.