Sometimes the best stories are told just in quotes. No background, no exposition, no clever conclusions. Just quotes. When you put a bunch of them together, they reveal so much about a person, their character and how they think.
Which is why I decided to experiment a little with my most recent storytelling workshop. Every time I pick up a new client, I like to freshen up the training I do.
This one coincided rather fortuitously with Friday the 13th and the first day in power of our newly-elected Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. As everyone knows, as well as being a formidable vote-winning politician, Mr Johnson is also a cad, bounder, liar, cheat, bullshitter and all sorts of other colourful adjectives that seem only to add to his lustre.
He’s also renowned for saying things without really considering if he’s going to upset anyone, much like his now closest ally, Donald Trump. Two very unconventional leaders who many people liken to buffoons.
So on the morning of Johnson’s victory I wondered if my assembled clients would be able to tell the difference between idiotic comments made by two of the most powerful buffoons on the planet and my favourite cultural buffoon, Homer Simpson. Hence, the following quotes which I’d love you to try and guess.
I’ve done the following quiz a few times since and no one has managed to get more than six right. It’s for this reason that I worry deeply about the next few years. I mean if you can’t tell the difference between a gluttonous oaf with a bad hairstyle who delights in offending everyone he meets and can’t perform even the most basic functions properly…and Homer Simpson, what hope is there?
Answers at the bottom…
1. Being popular is the most important thing in the world.
2. The point is you can’t be too greedy.
3. There are no disasters, only opportunities. And opportunities for disasters.
4. You can’t keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once, and move on.
5. It’s like something out of that “twilighty” show about that zone.
6. Women’s Beach volleyball? Mmmm. It’s like watching glistening otters.
7. Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.
8. In Japan they love a bow. The only thing I like about Japan.
9. My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it.
10. Believe me, it takes two to lie. One to lie, and one to listen.
11. Apologising is a great thing, but you have to be wrong. Sometime in the distant future, if I’m ever wrong, I’ll apologise.
12. Using a phone is no more dangerous than any of the other risky things people do while driving — nose-picking, reading the paper, beating the children.
It’s Homer, Donald and Boris in that order, all the way through.