Good Narrative Principles

Reptile Brain


IMG_0320From the time he was little, Eddie had an acute sense of how large the world is and that if you want a lesson to stick it helps to relate it to a story about alligators, crocodiles or snakes. That way it goes straight to the reptile side of your brain, which is deep and primal, ensuring you’ll never forget it.  Throughout high school, Eddie was the star of the Model UN. He chose the countries girdling the equator where the reptiles roamed free as did his imagination and growing appreciation for geopolitical narratives. Instead of camping out on his parent’s couch after college, he signed up for the Peace Corps, where he did good deeds in places like Gabon, Kenya and the DRC, formerly known as the Congo. But seven years of poor dental hygiene took its toll. Eddie returned home, spending his accumulated vacation time sitting in the dentist’s chair. During one of his visits, he passed a pretty blonde with drool oozing from the side of her mouth. They half smiled at each other, the numb half of their mouths locked in corresponding flabbiness. The Dentist, sensing a teachable moment, introduced the pretty blonde to Eddie as follows:” See, Eddie. Here’s someone who flosses regularly.” And with that the blonde slipped away. Eddie watched as she disappeared from sight. Right before she turned the corner, her tongue, like that of a snake, flicked over her numb lip. Eddie knew then that he’d never forget her.

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