Have you ever found out something about someone that you’ve known for a long time and it kind of blew your mind?
When I was 12 years old, my parents scrounged together every penny, tracked down every cheap deal they could, and took our family to the most magical place in Florida, Universal Studios (Disney World is the most magical place in the world).
We went during Mardi Gras break, which a massive festival in Louisiana that schools let students out for. What is even better is that the schools of rest of the country doesn’t get out for Mardi Gras break. We had the entire Universal Studios Park to ourselves (this was also pre-Harry Potter World and I know I missed out).
I rode The Incredible Hulk eight times without a fast pass. Dueling Dragons got boring we were on it so much. Every ride, every adventure, and the park felt like going to the mall at 10am on a Tuesday.
Throughout the whole trip, my sister really wanted to go and see if she could get in on “Nickelodeon’s Slime Time Live”. If you don’t know what this is, you either didn’t have a happy childhood, you are too young, or you were a missionary kid. My sis was so excited and we finally relented and stood in line to see if she could be on the show. I thought I was too old but being 12, they let me sign up too.
We put our names in the hat and my name got called and her’s didn’t. She was devastated. I REFUSED to give up my spot but because I’m awesome and my mom bribed me, I gave her my ticket. Then something magical happened…
Another girl got scared and gave me her ticket. I WAS CHARLIE AND THIS WAS MY CHOCOLATE FACTORY! It was about to go down!
We both went on the show. I got to meet Kenan & Kel, Nick Cannon, & David Aizer! There were three rounds of incredible, intense competition (my sis got out in the first or second round because she didn’t possess the prowess of a lion such as I do).
At the final round, I somehow managed to out the competition and was crowned by a massive amount of heavenly green goo as the winner of Slime Time Live! BOOYA!
Nowadays, I try not to reminisce of my glory days. It’s easy to live in the past. And when people find out that I was former Nickelodeon royalty, I just smile and change the subject. It’s always interesting to see the shock in their faces. Like it was something I should have told them the moment we met. Like I was holding out on them by keeping this from them.
I think a lot of times, we settle for bullet points of people’s lives. The small amount of information that sums up who they are. Just a quick glimpse of people instead of hearing the story of it.
We train our students to summarize everything into small little bits of information that conveniently fit into a test question that determines if they proficiently understand the information. That’s why we hate essay questions. They force us to really know the whole story.
Imagine if Barney hadn’t looked in to Robin’s story on How I Met Your Mother. We would have never known about the majesty of Robin Sparkles!
I recently asked my grandfather about his time in the military. Come to find out, he had a Top Secret Clearance level! Some great stories came out of that (I’m not at liberty to share for national security reasons of course).
There are people close to us that have incredible and wonderful stories, just waiting to be told. For most, it doesn’t take prying or snooping. Just being deeply interested in them. Those stories will amaze you. They will inspire you. They may scare you. But they will help you love that person more. Because what is more real than letting people see the story of who you are?
My favorite question to ask is, “What’s a moment in your life that you always look back on fondly?” Another question is, “What’s something that happened to you that not many people would guess?” Leave the severity of the story up to others. Just be interested in them. People are amazing.