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 rolling over moments;
-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.
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.
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."