No wonder kids want to run away when their parents start lecturing. No wonder middle aged people tune out senior citizens when they begin their ‘Once upon a times’. It is so mind numbingly tedious and boring. Why is it that what is so scintillating to the narrator makes the listener want to scratch their eyes out? Is it the “I” focus? Is it the retelling of banalities that have taken on some golden hue because they happened in the past? Is it the insufferable underlying pomposity! What is it that makes us WANT TO share our wisdom? What makes us think that we are so special? And not only are we special, it is important to tell the whole world why we are special.
I have two theories on this. First, I think people who talk more about their past than their present are people who feel their present is not as exciting as their past. Or their future is not looking as promising. Whatever is exciting on the resume has all happened in the past. So, they want to relive it by sharing those stories with other people – for their own benefit. For their own nostalgia.
The second theory is the smug satisfaction of material success or the belief that having lived a few decades on the planet has somehow endowed us with a unique wisdom which we DO NOT SEE in the people around us. They need to be educated. It is not enough if you savour that whiskey, you have to educate the person next to you about the story of that whiskey’s origin. Everybody should know that you know a lot. It is a power trip- an attitude that says ” I don’t care if my audience is interested in this, but since I know all about this, I should share this amazing information”.