Bob? Bob! ... Robert Francis McDonnell get down here this instant!
I was just informed that you took some money out of my wallet to buy toiletries—deodorant, sunscreen, and a … um … a digestive system cleanse. Is this true, Bob? Answer me.
You disappoint me, son.
Oh, you’re darn tootin’ you’ll pay me back, but it’s not about the money, Robert. Heck, we’re only talking about a few dollars. The bigger issues are trust and integrity.
For the last three years, we let you live here rent free. You could take the car whenever you wanted and we—not you—we filled it up when you left the tank empty. We fed you three squares a day, and never complained when you and your buddies raided the fridge after a night of partying. You didn’t even have to do chores because we hired an entire cleaning crew to clean up after you.
All we ever asked is that you pay for your own sundries and incidentals. But apparently, that was just too much for you to manage.
I don’t know, Bob. Maybe it’s our fault. Maybe we’ve been too lenient with all you little governors. Looking back I probably should have stepped in when Jonnie Williams gave you that $15,000 check to cover the catering at Cailin’s wedding. But, darn it all, that check put such a big smile on your face I just couldn’t tell you that your excuse for taking it was flimsier than an Ikea bookshelf.
Bob, did I ever tell you about the time that I ran out of deodorant? I was getting ready for an important meeting and I was running late. Yeah, again. Anyway, when I popped the cap off the deodorant, the last little clump of Sure Unscented fell right into the sink. I tried to scrape up as much as I could, but there was only enough to barely cover my left arm pit. And the only other deodorant in the house was some very sweet strawberry roll-on that my girls were wearing back in their middle-school days.
Long story short, when I put in my contact lenses, I darn near fried my corneas because I hadn’t quite washed all of that deodorant off of my fingers. So by the time I got to my meeting with ol’ man Digby, my eyes were red, my pits were stained, and I smelled like an eighth-grade girl after volley ball practice.
And you want to know the worst part, Bob? I was just at the Rite Aid the day before but I forgot to pick up deodorant. So you see, I really can relate to buying deodorant.
And that's the lesson for you, Bob. Nobody really understands—or much cares—about your crazy transportation plans, or whether you knew that taking Jonnie’s check was probably illegal. The common man just doesn’t relate to big numbers and abstract concepts. But when you’re talking deodorant and bowel cleansers, well son, you’ve got their full attention.
So when you do tell a story, make every effort to speak of the little things that you think your audience can relate to. Oh, and use concrete words as often as possible. If you do, you’ll find that people will really enjoy listening to—and retelling—your stories.
Now go put your jeans on, son. You’ve got some chores to do today!