Xavier Smith: Stories have quite the shelf life

They shape our world. They’ve been around as long as anyone can remember. It’s almost impossible to go an entire day without hearing, sharing or being a part of one. For one moment, imagine your life without stories.
Jul 23, 2014
Xavier Smith

They shape our world. They’ve been around as long as anyone can remember. It’s almost impossible to go an entire day without hearing, sharing or being a part of one. For one moment, imagine your life without stories. 

As a journalist, my job survives because of stories. Great news outlets deliver great articles about politics, business, sports, entertainment and other topics daily. As a human being, I live for a good story. It doesn’t matter if the tale is told orally, in a book, newspaper or in the form of a movie. Stories get me through my day.

Think about your favorite childhood story. Was it the story told to you by your favorite grandparent, whose animations and details drifted your mind into a world you never knew existed? Maybe it was the tale of ghouls and ungodly creatures that your older sibling told you, forcing you to sleep with a night light for comfort. 

As we grow older, stories can be presented to us in the form of life lessons, such as the little boy who cried wolf. How many stories did your parents recall about the mistakes they made and ways for you to avoid them? 

Stories are more popular than ever in today’s tech world. It’s almost impossible to find a phone without a camera attached to it (not to mention the number of megapixels and clarity that modern cellphones have reached). The advent of social media made sharing stories easier than ever before and in ways that gave people access to the stories almost anywhere. 

Instagram has more than 200 million active users worldwide, who have shared over 20 billion photos since the application launched in 2010.

Stories drive conversations. If you visit a restaurant at lunch time, you’re sure to find dozens of stories being told. 

The lady drinking a Diet Coke could be telling her date about the tale of a man who switched to Diet Coke and lost 10 pounds in a month. The lady’s waiter could possibly be in the kitchen, telling a coworker about the trouble they went through serving the Diet Coke lady who didn’t bother to leave a tip. 

Every summer, family reunions are filled with relatives sharing narratives of laughter, births, adventures and obstacles from the previous year. 

Oral tradition, the telling of stories and news orally, dates back to ancient times when civilizations passed information down to later generations to preserve history in the absence of writing. 

The storyteller became a vital role of society and became a part of the stories they told in the process. I know certain people I love to talk to because I know I will receive a good story because of the way they tell it. 

It’s important to hear, see, tell and even be involved in stories, because unlike the storytellers and camera phones, stories live forever. 

Xavier Smith is an intern and soon-to-be staff writer at The Democrat. Email him at xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

 

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