Monday, August 11, 2014

Hardwired for Stories

Anthony Griffith is a comedian from Chicago.   

I had become a fan of the legendary escape artist Harry Houdini. While other boys were playing sports in high school, I was getting out of handcuffs, chains, and straitjackets. I still played basketball since escape artistry wasn’t in vogue yet with the women. 

I grew up in the inner city so I grew up on two things, church and Pepto Bismol. Do you know how how much Pepto Bismol you need to recover from a gun shot? 

Kids in my neighborhood loved playing cops and robbers, which I hated, because I was always forced to be the prostitute.

I was raised Baptist so I was in church all day on Sunday. I would have Catholic friends come over to play football. I can’t. I got to go to church. We’ll play when you get out. Uh-un. I’m Baptist.  You won’t see me until Monday. 

I felt sorry for my brother because he always had to wear my hand-me-downs. Even his childhood pictures were old pictures of me.  My dad would say this is you in 8th grade.  But I'm not in 8th grade yet. Well this is what you're going to look like. 

The only way my grandmother can remember anything is by starting with the emancipation of the slaves.  Grandma, do you need anything at the grocery store?  Let me see. Lincoln freed the slaves in 1864. Cubby Checkers came out with the twist in 65.  I went to the grocery store on Wednesday.  No honey, I’m good. 

George Dawes Green, a novelist, is a current New York City resident originally from Georgia.  He missed the sense of community, when friends would gather on the porch to tell stories and moths circled the porch lights. In 1997 he started The Moth, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. 

Catherine Burns, The Moth's artistic director, "Human beings are hardwired for stories."  

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