the movie Big Fish has a story to tell. the entire movie is about telling stories.
do you remember the movie some 15 years ago? it starred Albert Finney, Danny DeVito among others. last night for the first time ever i rented a movie and downloaded it to my Iphone. given my mechanical/technical abilities i did have to call Amazon for help in how to do so but with their help i was able to actually watch the movie. the movie i downloaded was the Big Fish.
why did i want to download and watch the Big Fish? the reason involves a story. let me tell you the story.
last night i was eating dinner in the Silverwater Cafe in downtown Port Townsend. i have eaten here before. i usually eat at the bar in the far back of the restaurant, on the mezzanine. tonight was no different. a gentleman sits down next to me at the bar. i recognize him from previous evenings but i have never met him. i ask him if he is the owner. he says yes,introduces himself as David Hero and i introduce myself. and we start talking. his wife joins him and our conversation.
the story he is telling me is about his canoe, and it is a really old canoe. but he loves it. and he takes it almost every day on the top of his car to the water’s edge of Puget Sound where he unloads it, and launches it into the salt water. he has with him in the canoe crab pots. he loves to paddle his canoe in the bay, set his traps for crab, and paddles back to shore. and then on the next day he does the same thing but this time he is pulling the crab pots up and checking to see if he was successful. each day he has to lift the canoe onto his car top and take it down, and then lift it up again. not easy for one person to do, particularly a man in his late 60s and with a bad back.
as he is telling this story his eyes light up. his mouth has a continual smile on it. you can tell he loves doing this every day, or almost every day.
but the reason he is telling the story tonight is that he is having some problems with his back and he needs to find a new way to lift the canoe onto his car, and lift it off the car, and lift it after he has been on the water to get the canoe back on the cartop.
my immediate instinct is to help him solve his problem. to offer ideas on how to fix the problem. so, i come up with several different ideas, many of which are unusual. none of which work for him. for example, declaring his canoe a national historical object which the government needs to protect, and moor for him. we explore mooring it in the marina but that costs money. we explore getting someone to help him, but he loves doing this alone, by himself. this is his special time by himself each day. we explore dragging the canoe up the beach each day, but concerns about security of the canoe nix that idea. we explore getting a different kind of watercraft that would be safer and wouid not require lifting each day, but he is wedded to his old canoe.
what is telling about the conversation with David is that this routine of getting his old canoe in the waters of Puget Sound everyday and loading it with crab pots to be lowered into the bay in front of Port Townsend is a story that has immense importance to David. it is a story that he tells with passion. it is a story that on the surface does not make alot of sense, one where there is some danger involved and one that presents certain challenges. yet, he loves it and will continue to do it. and he will continue to tell the story. it reflects how richly he leads his life.
as in Big Fish, telling stories is really important to a person’s persona. telling the story is as important as the story itself.
we all need to tell our many stories.