Thanks for a great night of stories last Thursday. I was nervous about changing it to Zoom at the last minute but enough people came out to make it a full show. We’ll probably stay this way until the indoor mask mandate goes away. They say once we get past Delta, the Lambda variant is right around the corner. What happened to epsilon, ficus, and geranium? Did I miss those already?

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me. We’ll be back at our regular Starbucks as soon as we can. Until then, I’ll just keep an eye on the news and take it from there. If I worked for Microsoft they would call this, “Displaying organizational agility in the face of fluctuating market indicators.”

We had a good mix of regulars and first-timers last Thursday and it made for a really fun show.

Emily, a second-timer, called in from Texas to tell a story about swinging back and forth between a life of minimalism and consumerism. I can identify with that! I also swing back and forth between austerity and Amazonism. The only difference is my mom never gave me great quotes like, “We’ve got to do something even if it’s wrong.”

Next up was Laurie, a first-timer, with a sweet story of taking a group of teenagers into the wilderness to give them a full-on nature experience. I didn’t expect her story about a tipping point to be about those kids having an actual tipping point and falling out of their canoes and into a river. Is there anything funnier than kids who think they know everything getting tossed out of a boat? I think not.

Moreah was next and we learned what it was like to pull 35 boxes out of storage and have to go through all the memories you find in them. 

Rachel, another second-timer, told us about signing up for a gym and then hiring an 84-year-old trainer named Harold. By the end of the story we all wanted to go sign up with Harold. I live in Olympia and I’m trying to figure out how long it would take me to get to West Seattle once a week to have Harold order me around. Rachel told such a great story Harold is going to be booked for months. Men and women are trained on different days so I’m a little bummed that I’ll never see 89-year-old Verona do a 45-minute plank.

First-timer Daniel told about a time when he did what a lot of us wished we had done. He silenced a loud neighbor by tearing up a fuse box. It really is true when they say, one of the best feelings in life is enjoying the silence after cacophony. Actually, I think I’m the only one who says that. Well, maybe it’ll get around.

My son Taran told a story after that about a time I remember well. He was in grade school at the time and his two best friends kept running away from him on the playground. It was a game called “ditching” and it was hard to hear him talk about it when he’d get home from school. What I didn’t know then but do know after hearing his story is what happened when he got a chance to ditch a new kid who showed up in class one day. I hope every parent gets to hear their kid tell a story like that one day.

First-timer Gretchen told my new favorite pet story. It was about her cat Rachel who barely put up with being entered into cat shows until one day she stopped putting up with it. It’s funny how you can never tell how close you are to getting on a cat’s last nerve until you’re suddenly bleeding and screaming. Why are billionaires blasting into space when what we really need is for someone to invent a mood ring for cats?

Behnaz told us a story about how there are only three ways to leave your parents’ house if you grow up in Iran. Marriage, school, or death. How did she end up leaving home? Well, you should have been there to find out. Let’s just say she’s responsible for a 700% sales increase in the Farsi version of The Secret.

The last teller was me. I told a story I hadn’t told in years. It was about how I discovered that I could be funny and wouldn’t have to kill a moose to make friends. I wish my old scoutmaster Mr. Allen was still alive to hear that story. I keep hoping one day to get some kind of honorary eagle scout rank since I didn’t quite make it there when I was a kid.

Thanks again to everyone who told a story and those who hung out and supported them with their laughter and applause. Next month’s show is September 16. The theme is “Down But Not Out – Stories of getting up off the canvas.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can.

I hope to see you there.

Paul

freshgroundstories@gmail.com