This week, I went through some of my old high school assignments, and I found something really interesting.
On Monday, March 20, 2000, I wrote my OAC Writer’s Craft journal entry about the “U”-shaped bench where my friends and I sat during lunch. As usual, that day, there were so many people talking so loudly that I easily caught snippets of several conversations around me. I wrote down some of those snippets in between paragraphs of my journal entry (I don’t remember why; maybe to add a twist of flavour to the writing):
“Oh no, they’re gonna fight again…”
“Are you getting a tattoo?”
“It’s not a fish”
“…and then you just hear his brother screaming…”
“That’s why I have that pause between steps.”
That the people involved in these conversations remember having these conversations, now eleven years ago, is unlikely. That the people involved in these conversations even remembered having these conversations a day or a week later is also unlikely. These conversational snippets made me think about how a huge percentage of what we say only temporarily registers in another person’s mind…usually to eventually be forgotten. Most things just don’t stick…
…like a gust of wind that hits your face and then blows away.
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Can you recall all conversations you’ve ever had, how many stories you’ve heard (or told) or how many things people have said or done that have made you laugh? Obviously not. Do you even remember all the “serious” talks you’ve ever had with people over your life—the ones that seemed so earth-shattering at the time? No, we only remember the most “memorable” ones; the top five, ten or twenty (depending on how melodramatic you or your life is); the ones we want to remember; the ones we can’t help but review, repeat and relive, whether in favour of building up or tearing down our own self-esteem; the most extreme events or stories (the funniest, the nicest, the meanest, the most honest, the saddest, the most significant, the most relatable…).
I was too young to remember, but my mom has told me countless times (and has told countless people) about a conversation I had with my grandma when I was three years old. Apparently I noticed a woman on the street, who I apparently found unattractive, and had the gall to point her out, exclaiming, “Grandma, that lady is ugly!” My grandma quickly reprimanded me, saying, “Now, Christina! That lady is not ugly. You shouldn’t say such things.” I quickly replied, “Trust me, Grandma. She’s ugly.”
(I can’t believe I said that! I would NEVER say something like that now! Remember my Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful post? Maybe that post was some sort of recompense for what I said when I was three…)
My mom and my grandma probably retold that story so many times, reinforcing its memorability, because it was really hilarious to them. That little story trumps all the other things I said when I was little, so it is The Reigning Story about Christina From Her Childhood. (What’s your Reigning Story?)
That story was a sticker.
Anyway, the point is, there’s no way we could remember all the things we think about, talk about, hear about and laugh about—we only remember the [you fill in the blank with a superlative appropriate to your life and personality] stories.
I wonder, apart from the random things that just “happen” and become memorable without any effort, what can I do or say that could have a lasting positive (of course positive because why would you want to have a negative) impact on someone?
What can you do or say that could have a lasting positive impact on someone?
How can we make sure that what we talk about, or do, is something that sticks instead of something that just floats away as though it was never said, or done?
What do you think?
Here are a few words that came to mind as the starting point for potential “stickers”: