It starts like this…

jcp-reallyLife has some universal truths. For instance, when cable goes out, it’s always during your favorite TV show and traffic is worse when you’re running late. Through some sort of divine providence, you can also count on a strange smell at a discount store, one you originally think is unidentifiable then regret you’ve lost that innocence when you locate its source. You can’t escape these types of things.

I’ve determined that one of these universal truths is that the best stories start with the same opening phrases. The king of them all has to be, “There was this drunk guy…” Something like 63.8% of all good stories start that way. The endings may vary, but you can count on bodily fluids, a police car, and a broken foot somewhere in the story. It will be funny (unless you were in the police car) if for no other reason than simply because it didn’t happen to you.

I think there are some other phrases that get overlooked but still pretty much guarantee a funny story. You see, I know I’m going to get to laugh at someone’s stupidity when a story starts, “One time in college, me and my buddies…” That sort of story never ends well for the guy and his buddies, but it really entertains. In fact, eyewitnesses to the event will later retell the story by saying, “There was this drunk guy…”

I’m also partial to stories that start with, “One time I was at a party and my friend said, ‘Hey, watch this.’” Strangely enough, that story also usually involves bodily fluids, a police car, and a broken foot. Unfortunately for the redneck who just rode his nephew’s tricycle off the tin roof of the chicken house, that’s not the only broken bone involved. But let’s face it, you’re gonna laugh from the time in the story he yells, “Geronimo!” all the way through the part where he uses the nurse’s salad fork to scratch the itch in the backside of his body cast. These types of stories are closely related to the, “One time I told my buddy to hold my beer…” stories. The only difference is point of view and a stutter from blunt force brain trauma.

I’d also like to introduce an obscure one to the list. Stories don’t usually start with this one, but every one that does is a doozy. “So, there was a bear in town…” Wow! Always delivers. Unfortunately, the drunk guy sometimes gets mauled in these stories, which coincidentally may be the only time he ever becomes a sympathetic figure, especially if you were in the police car. What I want to hear is a story that starts with all of these. “One time when I was in college, there was a bear in town and a drunk guy. One of his buddies said, ‘Hey, watch this!’ and another turned to me and said, ‘Hold my beer.’” That story won’t end well, and I’m sure at some point I’ll feel sorry for the bear, but who doesn’t want to laugh at not one but three drunk guys getting mauled?

Source: David Swann