You Can’t Make me Talk!

You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are.

Whoa. Kind of an aggressive prompt. “We have ways of making you talk.” I think I would give my rank and serial number and nothing else. “Matthew Brown. Serial number one eight nine three six four go screw yourself.”

Who are these people who want to know who I am, know it now and know it fast? I didn’t even give a straight answer to that as an author bio. I have a lot of stories to tell, but my own isn’t one of them. So I guess I’ll make something up. Do you suppose these people will believe that I always wanted to be an astronaut? Hm. As overblown fibs go, that one’s kind of obvious. Maybe I’m a public accountant or a piano tuner. If I put forth the effort, I could come up with a long list of false occupations. I could fill four minutes with it.

Then again, maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Isn’t this the kind of thing you’d hear during a beauty pageant? Am I up for the Mister Prevaricator pageant? “Our next contestant likes Looney Tunes and Star Wars. He’s the oldest of five children, lives in Kansas and wastes a lot of time. He says he loves East of Eden, the Sun Also Rises, and Dune, but he doesn’t know he got all the way through Catcher in the Rye. He can make an exceptional martini half the time, he doesn’t own a dog even though he loves them and he’s spent a lot of nights on couches.”

They do this kind of thing with game show contestants too. “That really was an amusing vaccum cleaner anecdote, Jane. Now our next contestant, Matthew, he once crashed a car in a really embarrassing way.”

“That’s right Alex. I was seventeen and I crashed into a car my Dad was driving.”

“Well that must have been hard to live down.”

“Live down? It was hard to live through. To make it worse, that crash smashed my own car and my stepmother’s car. At least they were both still drivable. The only upside is that when I was in my mangled car, people would take one look and get the hell out of my way.”

Maybe this is a really brief job interview. I hate those. I won’t do one without the possibility of employment. Then again maybe it’s more like speed dating. Oh, what a horrid concept. The advantage for those who want to take part in speed dating is that people like me don’t show up. Worst of all, I imagine that this four minute speech is a school assignment. I hated school. It wasn’t that fond of me, either.

Ah, well that’s enough screwing around. I’ve managed to answer without answering, and that’s as much of an answer as four minutes is entitled to.



  1. Nicely avoided, with a great deal of humour in there too. For the record, I didn’t finish Catcher in the Rye either time I tried to read it (can you say over-rated 😉 )

  2. Apparently I am not the only miscatcher in the rye. And here I thought I was making a mistake bashing a piece of beloved American literature. To each their own, but I’ve always thought that if I were to tell a story about myself wandering around for a weekend and whining about the things I don’t have that no one should give a $#!+.

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