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Everyone is beautiful and special and amazing, and all of our stories are unique and inspiring and we all have a lot to offer one another.

But seriously, shut the hell up about the following topics.

Your Dreams

In Your Mind

You just had a dream and it rocked your world. It shook you so much that you wrote it down as soon as you woke up, because you had to remember this one. You think about how real it was, and how it felt like years had gone by within the dream when it was only minutes. You look back on some symbols and key phrases from the dream and wonder what they meant, and how you can apply dream lessons to real life. You know, on some level, that dreams are meaningless, but still you think, This dream wasn't like other dreams; this was important.

In Everyone Else's Mind

No it wasn't.

There is no greater gap than the one between how fascinating dreams are to the dreamer and how fascinating they are to literally anyone else in the world. Dennis from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia probably put it best: "Listening to people's dreams ... is like flipping through a stack of photographs; if I'm not in any of them and nobody is having sex, I just don't care."

It's just impossible to get excited about someone else's dream. Unfortunately, having an interesting dream makes it impossible for the dreamer to talk about anything else, so they have to tell you all about it, beat for pointless beat. They want you to be just as moved, they want you to question what it all means like they do, but the second that it's not your dream that's being discussed, you completely lose the ability to consider dreams as anything but meaningless bullshit. How is someone supposed to get excited about a made up story that happened to someone else while they slept and will have no impact on the real world in any way?

When it's your dream, of course it means something and serves as gateway into your unconscious mind, but your coworker's dream? That's just the brain's way of trying to explain the random firing of neurons that occurs while a person sleeps, it's pointless and in no way weighs on the real world.

Unless, you know, people were boning. Then, sure, I've got five minutes to hear about this.

That Time You Almost Won Big in Poker

In Your Mind

You might forget the name of the attending nurse who was present at your first child's birth, and maybe you don't recall what color pants you were wearing the day you proposed to your wife -- but you will never remember anything with as much clarity as you have reserved for that one game of poker where you almost won big. It doesn't matter if it was in the final round of the World Poker Showdown, or in the basement of your buddy's house; in your mind, the stakes are exactly the same in both scenarios. In every "Amazing Hand of Poker" story, two things are invariably true: You played your hand like a skilled, well-trained poker mercenary, and your opponent stumbled into a golden hand because he's a stupid, lucky shithead. You remember exactly every card that was dealt, you remember what was going through your head and you remember the clever, little bluffs you pulled. It was an incredibly tense hand, and the way you tell the story makes it sound like something out of a movie, and you'll carry it with you forever.

In Everyone Else's Mind

Please stop carrying it with you forever.

If you play poker, you undoubtedly have "that hand," the ultimate hand of poker where you almost won huge (where "huge" is relative to the game being played), the details of which you remember with such unbelievable clarity that you can tell someone exactly how the hand played out right down to the suit of each card that was dealt. Also, if you play poker, you lack the self-awareness to realize that no one gives a shit about your poker story.

The biggest problem is that no one can just say, "I was close to winning this one big pot, but then I ended up losing." They have to tell you this incredibly detailed and embellished epic story, even though the conclusion ("I did not win") is exactly the same in either case. And once you get one poker player going, every single player in your circle has to chime in with their own version of the "I was playing poker and an event that in retrospect isn't all that interesting and is in fact fairly commonplace occurred" poker story.

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How Drunk You Guys Got

In Your Mind

You cannot believe how amazingly, outstandingly, black-outingly drunk you got last night. You don't know if there's a way to measure drunkenness on a global/historical scale, but you seriously wonder if maybe you set a record. You drank more than you ever have in the past, probably more than anyone has, and you woke up in a strange place with a bunch of scrapes and bruises, and maybe even a tattoo. That's got to be at least as impressive as being really good at a sport, right?

In Everyone Else's Mind

Nope.

There's a thin line here, because drunk people do hilarious things. Some of the best anecdotes of all time have started with "So my buddy bet that I couldn't drink a fishbowl full of whiskey, and also one goldfish ..." and end with "... one count of public urination and what might end up being either attempted murder or an additional count of public urination, depending on how cool the jury is." Alcohol makes people do terrible, wonderful, awful, amazing things. The only problem is that drunk people rarely remember the hilarious parts. When they tell you about their latest crazy night out, they might have some details confused, they could be forgetting where they went and maybe they don't remember exactly how they got home, but there is one thing for which their memory will be impossibly sharp: what specifically they drank and when they drank it. They will tell you every shot they downed, every beer they chugged, every leftover cocktail they stole off someone else's table -- everything ... except all of the interesting parts of a drunken night out.

And that's why the drunk story is so boring. The teller is so bent on making sure you, as the listener, are impressed by their supernatural ability to pound back an inconceivable amount of liquor, that they forget to focus on anything other than what they had and how much might still be slushing around in their system.

Also, they went out drinking and had an awesome time without you? Fucked up, man. That's like showing off pictures of your Disneyland trip to the children you left with the babysitter. Oh, hey, speaking of children ...

Your Baby

In Your Mind

This little bundle of heaven is the greatest thing to happen to anyone. It was a gift given to you, one you don't deserve, and the only way you can think to repay the generosity of the gods is to share every amazing moment from your baby's life with the rest of the world. Having a baby means that everything you've done in your life is the greatest thing you've ever done, because everything -- every chance you took, every move you made, every job you applied for, even every failure, screw-up and mistake -- somehow contributed to leading you towards this exact moment. Every decision you've ever made has been the right one, because the end result is the little piece of perfection that you're holding in your arms.

In Everyone Else's Mind

Just ... just shut up, man. Come on.

This is similar to the Drinking Stories entry, because the weird thing is that babies and toddlers are actually capable of doing interesting things. They have human faces, but none of the other things that make us real people. They're like humanoid pets, or fleshy stuffed animals that poop. I am incredibly fascinated by watching the bizarre adventures of this vulnerable almost-people-thing rolling around your house. It's like monitoring an alien, or a self-aware bowl of yogurt in which someone has placed googly eyes. (No photoshop for that? Nothing? OK.)

Some baby-related anecdotes can be interesting or adorable or even hilarious. The problem is that a person who has a baby can't tell the difference between boring and fascinating. Babies are like the 9/11 of families in that they change everything. Not only do they make parents forget what pre-baby life was like (apart from the fact that it was meaningless), but they force parents to instantly lose perspective; they can no longer separate the banal, everyday moments of a child's life from the actually interesting moments. Everything a child does seems like a world-altering miracle to a parent, they just can't stop themselves from telling everyone they see. If a friend of yours is about to have a baby, prepare yourself to hear about the following in exhaustive detail:

-First steps;

-First rolling over moments;

-First words/noises;

-The limitlessness of a baby's potential;

-Poop size, color and various other perceived poop-related emergencies;

-The futility of a baby-less existence;

-Like, what are you even working towards if not a baby?

Parents don't realize that, if you don't have a baby, you have no idea how to respond to any of these moments. A baby rolled over. Is that impressive, or is it a natural response of a baby torso trying to handle a baby's head-weight? Is that even supposed to happen? I have no idea. Every parent is biased, and that's fine for them, but I need to know if I should be actually proud of your baby, or just politely tolerant of it. There's no real clear spectrum of impressiveness when it comes to baby antics, so I never know how much enthusiasm I should pretend to exert when you tell me that your son almost clapped. Plus, when you throw absolutely every baby accomplishment into the baby hall of baby fame, doesn't that sort of cheapen baby accomplishments that are actually meaningful? If your baby invented a time machine, you'd tell me about it with the exact same amount of blind passion and manic intensity you used when it smiled for the first time. Gold medals are bound to look less shiny if every baby is wearing them.

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Your Old Band

[Note: I'm focusing on bands, here, but this entry could have just as easily been "Your Skills On Your High School Football Team" or "Your Reign as the King of Your High School Theater Department."]

In Your Mind

Your band was important to you. You got a chance to live out your rock star fantasies, you had some time in the spotlight and for a few nights in your youth, you played music you loved on a stage and people screamed for you. Maybe you played a few big shows and seriously started preparing yourself for the possibility of actually making it as a professional rock musician. You readied yourself for a life in the studio, on the road and in front of sold out crowds.

Naturally, you think, people need to know this about you. The people you see every day see you as an office drone or a salesman or a programmer or whatever it is you do professionally. They have no idea that, once upon a time, you strapped on a guitar, screamed into a microphone and a crowd of fans lost their shit. It's time for you to tell them about life as an almost-rocker, about the managers that approached you, about the amount streams your songs did on your web page (before it got taken down when you eventually stopped paying for it), about how you sort of maybe had a good chance of possibly doing this one showcase where, like, a ton of record label execs and this writer from the RollingStone were supposed to be in attendance, but then it fell through at the last second.

Your coworkers have no clue that you used to be Dio, and they really should.

In Everyone Else's Mind

You know what's not interesting to anyone on the planet? The idea of a band. The stylistic concept of a band. The life of people who used to be in a band. The any-way-at-all-to-experience-music that isn't listening to music. When you're talking about your old band, that's all you're doing: talking. You don't get people to like the Beatles or Jay-Z or Kid Rock by telling them that the artist won a shitload of battle-of-the-bands or freestyle-rap-battles or shooting-beer-cans-off-a-log competitions, (respectively). You don't get people interested in Dylan by saying, "Boy, Bob Dylan could really draw a crowd in his youth, and he wasn't just popular in his own high school; his MySpace Music page had, like, thousands of plays." You get someone interested in a band by playing the band's music.

"Take those headphones off, I want to tell you how many people Jack White brought to the Stone Pony."

Anything else is just mindless nonsense to a listener. It's just the ramblings of a guy who keeps saying, "No, trust me, we ruled." Plus, there is absolutely nothing sadder than a person who is still reliving his glory days of being in a band when he was younger.

No matter how awesome that band was.


Note: The author of this piece is ALSO sick of listening to Cancer brag all the time. All "Ooh, I'm cancer, blah blah blah, I ruin shit, I'm the best, check out my baby or whatever." In an effort to shut cancer up for good, this Sunday, the author will be participating in a 5K race designed to raise money for Ovarian Cancer research and awareness. If you would like to donate, even as little as $5, you can by clicking right here. It's our little way of saying "Shut the fuck up, Cancer."


Special thanks to Soren,Michael and Charley, who helped me research this article even though they probably thought we were just having a conversation.

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