So I hope you can bear with me for a moment or at least through this post – or not. I’m going biblical, mainly because I can’t get this story out of my head. You may be familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark, but what’s stuck in my head is another story from before that ever happened – or didn’t, you can decide. I stopped trying to cram any religious beliefs down other people’s throats a long time ago.
Anyway, the story I’m referring to is the one where Noah got drunk and passed out, naked in a cave. His one son found him and quickly ran out to tell his brothers. The brothers went into the cave backwards with a blanket, covered him, and left without ever looking at their father.
Noah woke up, with a killer hangover I’m sure, found out what the one son did and cursed his whole family line for generations to come. Very Old Testament.
So why is this story stuck in my head? For the longest time, weeks if not months, I couldn’t figure it out. It would pop into my head at the most random times and I would be left feeling like I was missing something.
Then I was presented with an opportunity to over share. You know what I’m talking about. You’re speaking with someone and they are talking, talking, talking and sharing the most intimate details of their lives and you feel like you need to share something of yourself. Sometimes it becomes a game of one-up-man-ship which is a whole other post… But this is different. This is about talking about the almost humiliating things the people you are closest to do.
And then there are the people you don’t care for. You know the ones, the family members who drink just a bit too much at family gatherings and then do and say things they wish they never did. But, oh, how much fun it is to roast them alive behind their backs with the other family members who were or weren’t there to witness the ‘deplorable’ behavior.
And, yes, I know exactly how easy it is. I also know how hypocritical it is. Can you say ‘been there, done that’? I can. I can also say that I have some wonderful people in my life that have walked in backwards to cover me so to speak. And yet, I find it easy to start bad-mouthing other people instead of covering them and letting stuff go.
I’m not talking about major transgressions that need to be addressed. I’m talking about stuff people do, say when they’re drunk, that they wished had never happened and they never do again. These are things that would only hurt the person if they knew someone was telling the story.
So why do we feel the need to tell such stories? Why do we post embarrassing videos or pictures? Why do we insist on sharing the most intimate, most embarrassing of stories?
I think this is why the story of drunken Noah and his sons has been stuck in my head. I’m trying to figure out the answers to these questions. The only thing I can figure is that we need to make ourselves feel better about us.
For those of you who don’t drink or haven’t gotten drunk ever, you may not understand. But I would venture a guess that you’ve still behaved in such a way at some point in your life that you wished you could take back. Think about that, then maybe you’ll understand. Maybe you’ll see why it’s so easy to run and tell someone, anyone when you witness someone else doing something embarrassing – perhaps something you would ‘never do’.
So maybe the bigger question is why does telling stories about someone else’s mistakes make us feel better about ourselves? Why do we need to put someone else down at all? Why can’t we remember our own mistakes, feel empathy, and keep our mouths shut?
I wish I knew. All I know is that story about Noah and his sons is burned permanently into my mind so every time I go to tell a story about someone else I have to question why. I have to make sure I cover for the people I love the most. Because ultimately the Golden Rule applies and what goes around, comes around.
Karma is a bitch…