Have you ever had something really funny happen to you, and then try to turn it into an amusing anecdote and discover that it just doesn’t work at all as a narrative?
I will illustrate.
Let’s begin at the end…
Message left on Sandy’s voicemail Sunday afteroon after finishing brunch with a friend: “Hey babe, we’re done with brunch, but we’re heading to a bookstore. I’ll be back in a bit.”
Sandy, calling me back, confused: “What did you say in your message?”
Me: “Um…I don’t know…that I’ll be back later?”
Sandy, more confused: “Was that all?”
Me: “I said I was done with brunch and I’d be back in a while.”
Sandy, totally baffled: “That’s so weird. I listened to the message over and over and it sounded exactly like you said ‘we’ve got the sour cream.’”
Now, let’s travel back in time…
Message left on Sandy’s voicemail Saturday afternoon, when I got back from the gym and he was at the grocery store getting stuff for dinner: “Hey babe, I just got back. We’ve got enough sour cream.”
Key narrative point: Sandy never listened to the message. He got home, pulled his phone out of his pocket, said “oh, did you call?” and then never listened to it.
See—see how that’s funny? Because he listened to the wrong message?
Later, Sandy and I both confessed that we’d spent a good part of the afternoon trying to figure out how to tell this story to friends – mulling over various sequencing strategies and punchlines. Neither of us could figure it out.
So, you’ll just have to take our word for it. It was fucking hilarious.