Of all the places, situations and audiences I can think of to tell a good story in,at, or to, there are three that should be avoided at all costs, for they are the worst. They are listed in order of disaster:
1. At the doctor’s office: Don’t tell a good story to a doctor. A close friend complains of a doctor who is enthralled by veiling women (my friend and I are both wives or ex wives of Saudis). Her doctor asks questions, gets off track and forgets to order tests.
2. Don’t tell a good story to a person whose identity is in question. This can happen over the phone if you are not careful. I once got a phone call, I thought, from a woman who had the same name as another one who had just done my hair. (I had tried that day not to burst into tears at the salon.) To this “other” lady, I vented my frustration and realized, at the conclusion, that I was telling an angry story to the woman who had seemingly dropped cans of paint on my head. Such vengeance was not desired.
3. Don’t tell a good (sad, pathetic, etc.) story to a teacher in a classroom, especially if it is to explain absences or missing homework. Excuses are one thing; long stories to explain why homework is missing are quite another. I do not want to hear that a student had to be present for his friend’s wife’s birth of a baby. Now will I ever believe that the urine-soaked papers held in a plastic bag are the work of a cat.