I can't help myself. Halfway through a witty anecdote, I will inevitably pause, feeling suddenly awkward and say, "I might've told you this already...", but of course I can never remember. The problem here might be my tendency to witticize my life and share each individual moment with those around me (this will drive my husband into a coma, without fail), but, eh, it was funny the first time--why shouldn't it be funny the second, especially with a few minor plot adjustments, some added suspense, and character voices?
Here are my top 5 most retold stories:
5--The Time I Ran Over My Own Arm Snowboarding. Sad but true. Don't know how it happened, but it hurt an awful lot and the story always draws respectful curiousity from the first-time listener. "You did what?"
4--The Time My Dad Swung Off the End of Our Rope Swing, Down a Rather Large Hill and Landed in the Ditch by Our Driveway. I was maybe 5-years-old at the time, and could not make sense of the very odd sight of my dad curled up in a ditch and snoring. I turned to my cousin Jenny and asked if he had died (he hadn't, thank God--but he did spend a bit of time in the hospital after that one).
3--The Time a Childhood Friend's Younger Sister Poked Me in the Ear With a Chopstick. Never play "Doctor" with two small children at once. If you do, graciously bow out when they suggest an "ear check-up," or keep a close eye on both at all times. I tell you, a chopstick to the ear drum hurts.
2--The Time That A Co-Worker, While Telling a Rather Entertaining Story, Punched Me in the Eye. I had walked up behind her to ask a question at precisely the wrong moment--she swung her fist back to illustrate a point and made alarmingly solid contact with my left eye. She felt terrible, but I was laughing too hard to accept her apologies (all of them, many) for a few minutes.
1--The Time I Had a Kidney Stone, a Hand-to-Mouth Virus and a Ruptured Appendix (the latter resulted in hospitalization) in Less Than 5 Days. This story is not so lovely, but terribly dramatic. I didn't suffer any of these at the same time--they spaced themselves out over the 5 days rather nicely--but I really don't feel that detracts from the overall effect: I need to crack my knuckles and push back my sleeves before I tell this one, and it always gets a good reaction.
Hmm. Most of these involve me, or somebody near me, getting hurt--I hadn't realized that. I am my own slapstick routine.
Of course, this list changes often, but these are the classics--the ones I come back to periodically and ask, "Did I ever tell you about the time that...?" when there's a lull in the conversation.