Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lesson 16: "Interesting" People Are Lame

Let's get one thing straight here; the dictionary defines the word 'interesting' as, "Arousing curiosity, attracting or holding attention or provoking thought." The media's definition?

Well, not that. Contrary to the brainwashed opinion of the general public, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (or New Jersey, New York, Atlanta, Orange County, Washington D.C., Miami, Fargo, or wherever), are not interesting. Dramatic maybe, but interesting? No.

To me, the definition of an interesting person is someone who has learned life lessons the hard way, by experiencing them. Someone with a passion for life and the guts to pursue it. A story that starts with, "Well I totally wanted those pair of shoes but then my friend was like, 'Those are hideous,' and I was like, 'Ya, but I want them' and she was like, 'My tongue itches' and I was like,'Your tongue is fat...' " really isn't going to peak my interest for too long.

One person who is interesting? My mom. She got married when she was 16 and moved to Montana where she trained horses for a living. My mom's been a florist, a waitress, a dog groomer, a single mother, a teacher, a cook, and still owns her own ice cream truck. She was married twice and divorced twice (once to a diagnosed psychopath for 20 years), but she's still never lost her innate warmth and sense of humor. She's always up for anything and she never takes life too seriously. My mom has been through life's twists and turns. She's an interesting person.

Another of my favorites, of which I'm not as obviously biased, is an 86 year old man with oversized ears and icey blue eyes. For the sake of confidentiality, we'll call him Jack.

Jack and I met when he was admitted to the psychiatric hospital during one of my nightshifts. Even though he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's, at 6'1" he still had an undeniable presence. One day, while handing him a cup of water, he punched me in the side, bringing me to my knees. After taking some time to gather my thoughts (and resisting the urge to give him a swift kick in the shin), I clumsily made my way to the nurses station positive he'd cracked one of my right ribs. I was informed, however, that I should've been more careful. Had I been given a more accurate report, I would've learned that, back in the day, Jack had been a professional boxer known for his killer left hook. Oh really...

Turns out, Jack had been more than a professional boxer. He'd first been a professional baseball player until he was drafted for WWII. Then, while he was in the Navy, he took up boxing. After the war, he went pro (where he met his wife, who was also a professional boxer). His father, mother, and two brothers had all been musicians (violin, cello, saxophone, and piano). According to his wife, Jack himself played a mean fiddle, which he showed when his entire family (among others) performed for president Truman in 1950.

And he was funny. His wit was the inappropriate kind I find so hilarious. Once, when one of his sons visited:

Jack: "Who the hell are you?"
John: "Dad, it's me, John."
Jack: "No, I know my son John, and you're not him. For God's sake man, you have breasts."
John: "Well, you're going blind. And besides, maybe I like them."
Jack: "I can see why. You look good in a 'B' cup."

He also gave me my boyfriend's all-time favorite quote:

Me: "So what did you like more, boxing or baseball?"
Jack: "Baseball, always baseball. A real ball player never likes anything more than baseball. Hell when he can't play anymore he coaches, and when he can't coach anymore he just hangs around and rakes the field. A dirt diamond is the best place on earth."

He told me stories of the games he played in, the crowds he boxed for and the people he fought alongside in battle. He described places he'd been, the foods he'd eaten, the first time he laid eyes on his wife, and the feel of a fiddle that had been handcrafted just for him. He told me of the night he got drunk in an Irish pub and, "...won a fight over a lass that turned out to be a fella." Another time, he won $6,400 on a dog race only to lose it all in a poker game with Doyle Brunson.

Listening to him tell stories, just as listening to my mother tell stories, is an adventure in itself. People like these two, you see, are interesting. The media, however, would probably classify both Jack and my mother as "boring."

So strange that the opinions of pop tarts and reality stars are valued over those who have real life experiences. I know I'll never see the paparazzi outside my mom's house, questioning her about the latest trends in pantsuits, but I'll take her stories over a fake-baked camera-hungry bimbo any day. Real people have been through real struggles and real triumphs, and the emotions that come with those experiences cannot be scripted.

Someday, I hope to be an interesting person myself. Or better yet, I hope to be a "boring" one. "Interesting" people are lame, it's the "boring" ones that are having all the fun.

Who are your favorite "boring" people?

Give a Hoot Wednesday Blog Hop


  1. Great post! Jack sounds like my kind of man :) Thanks for the follow! Following you back and hoping more stories of Jack arise ;)

  2. Wow! I feel like they could make a movie out of John. Husband and Wife boxers huh? How INTERESTING!!!

    I LOVE that quote too, definitely sounds like something you would hear in a good ol' baseball movie :)

    Great post!

  3. I used to do in home care for seniors and was fascinated with the stories of their lives. This is great! Thanks for linking up today.

  4. Yes, these people are definitely "interesting" especially Jack! What an amazing history! I loved reading your blog. Thanks for checking mine out at my2centswithagrainofsalt.blogspot.com. I really appreciate you dropping by. I hope you will drop by again soon. :) I know I will for yours.

  5. So true.. both great stories. Every person has an interesting story =) Celebrites... eh most of them are just fake and boring ;-)

  6. I am your newest follower via GFC, from Sara's Blog of Fun hop! Following you from http://couponingfromfl2mi.blogspot.com/

  7. OMGosh do i love this post -- you are a fabulous writer...

    thanks for adding me to your directory and i am rockin your button(s) on my blog as well!!

    misadventures of a chunky goddess

  8. Seriously, laughing out loud about the Jack and John story. I agree with you; your "boring" people sound WAY more interesting than most other media proclaimed "interesting" people. I have to admit I have a sick fascination with bad reality shows like the ones you named: it's like watching a train wreck.

  9. My mom is interesting too. And our neighbor who pushes an ice cream cart at the age of 65 I think. And you.=) You have interesting thoughts Marlee.



  10. Yes-this was fantastic! I absolutely agree-these are the people worth learning something about.

    I'd say my mom is also one of those awesome, interesting people.


  11. What a fun, unusual post! I am so used to reading motherhood related posts, I love this change of pace. Well, you do have some motherhood stuff in there, but it's different... not from the perspective of a mother. I need that sometimes.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. :0)

  12. Oh, yes! I live in a small town. Small towns have these local folk called 'characters'. As in, oh yeah, he's/she's a real character. Way more fun than TV. One guy challenges all comers to Scrabble and talks while he plays. I think he's helped a lot of teens to think straight and to laugh at life. It's the realness of 'characters' that's so attractive-they're not trying to be anything but who they are.

  13. You are SO right! Give me real people any time! Thank you so much for this post! And I hope to hear more 'Jack' stories in the future!

  14. Great post, I couldn't agree more! I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds those reality show stars lame and the "boring" folk interesting...

    Found you through the Tuesday Train. =)

  15. I love your posts. The sad part is that most people don't care enough to give the "boring" people a chance to share their life. At the same time, these people who have so much life to tell don't open up until someone shows enough interest in them. Sometimes, they're just waiting for someone to pry into their lives.

  16. Awesome post! I was beginning to wonder if I was the only sane person avoiding the brainless Housewives shows!

    I know my family lore verges on the unbelievable, but I love telling them anyway! I especially like hearing about it, and unfortunately, the only one left able to tell it is my Great Aunt. She's one of my mom's father's sisters and the stories she tells makes me feel like I know the woman who raised her, the father who taught her, a life that seems so far from the now that it still boggles the mind to realize that she had lived it.

    I love finding out about real people with real lives and real trials. And as much as I like shoes and clothes and all the flippantries of fashion, I couldn't care less about the people showcasing them.

  17. This was great but I would love to ask Jack if he could help us moms of baseball players who have watched their sons grow up playing baseball. Could he tell us what we do now?

    Your right "real people" are far more "interesting" than the fake ones. Great post.

  18. Thanks so much for dropping by the Be-Bop-A Blog Hop! I'm a follower and I hope you'll stop by again soon! Have a great day! :)


  19. Yeah, the really interesting stories hardly ever make it onto front page. ^^

    The trick with "scripted reality" documentaries is that either people watch it because they want to be like that (that's most likely the "white trash" public) or to feel superior (that's the "We're better than you because we're *upper* white middle class" public). I really cannot understand why people would want to watch someone or something like that - but okay, maybe there's enough drama at work for me. ^^

  20. I completely agree with you. I hate the housewives shows- I especially loath Bethanny Frankel because when she was on the show she wasn't even a housewife, I don't get it. My sister in law always asks me if I watch it and I tell her that I can't stomach it being that I am an actual housewife. I love the real interesting people. I recently hung out with one of my best friend's grandmother about a month ago and she was able to tell me wonderful funny stories about my grandfather who pasted last summer. I hadn't even known that they knew each other but I grew up in a small town so everyone knew everyone. Great post.

  21. Well, I found your post very interesting, so maybe you're on your way.:) New follower from Hump Day.:)

  22. You know what I love boring people! I admit I watch crap TV and have been pretty honest about it but I know what they are and I know they are NOT interesting it there for entertainment folks and anyone who actually believes that "reality" crap on TV is real...well
    My dad was born in Ethiopia,Africa during World War II my grandfather was POW during that time so my grandma traveled there to be near her husband {my grandfather} - to this day the old black and white photos she was able to bring back and keep of were my dad was born amaze me!

  23. Hello! I'm a new follower and would love it if you could follow me back!


  24. Congrats on being featured on Six in the Nest. I'm your newest follower.

    Like you, I think my mom is quite interesting as well.

  25. I'm not interesting, I'm eccentric. In my life I've traveled all over Europe, been a freelance writer, been a door bouncer at a strip club, lived in the Philippines, worked in Alaska as a sec. guard at a salmon cannery, started and failed more times than I can remember but I still get up in the morning ready to take the next chance.

    The Vintage Recipe Blog


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