One of the most important things that I’ve learned about journalism, aside from the basic things like the proverbial “Five Ws,” is that everyone, no matter who they are or where they’ve come from, has a story to tell.
From crime scene witnesses to the homeless man who lives under any given bridge, each person on this earth brings a unique perspective to the great story that is life. The story of every person is much like a thread in a great fabric or tapestry.
One of my favorite places here in Huntsville is the Stardust Room, a local watering hole that I’ve made myself a regular at over the last few months.
One of the things that I like so much about it is that you can go in by yourself, have a seat at the bar, and instantly strike up a conversation with one or more people that lasts for hours.
I’ve met and talked to lawyers, truck drivers, janitors, correctional officers, social workers, and many others, and each of them has what I was talking about earlier; each of them has a story to tell.
There’s the local lawyer who has told me stories about his time as a soldier in Vietnam, the retired truck driver who has told me about his travels along America’s highways, and the workforce counselor who I talked to about monetary and fiscal policy until the bar closed a few Saturdays ago.
My point is that perhaps nothing more has confirmed for me that everyone has a story than my time at the bar, and I’ve taken that as a confirmation of that early and all important lesson that I’ve spoken of.
I’m writing about this not to share my drinking stories or about what I learned in MCM 132.
I’m writing about this because I feel that this is an incredibly important lesson that extends far beyond the classroom or the bar.
I feel that it’s important to always remember that everyone we meet in life always has a unique perspective and story that has shaped them into who they are.
It’s very easy to apply our own worldview as a blanket definition of why the world is the way it is, or what is right and wrong.
But what I think we ought to remember is that our world isn’t just that one thread that I talked about earlier.
Our world is that big tapestry in which every person’s story is important.
I’ve been fortunate because I’ve seen this confirmed in the classroom and in life. Hopefully, many of you have as well.
But for those of you that haven’t, do yourself a favor and strike up a conversation with the janitor in the hallway, or maybe even your waitress the next time you go out to eat.
You’ll be amazed at what you might learn about other people. You’ll be equally amazed at what you might learn about yourself.
And who knows, maybe, if you follow my example, you might just run into me at the bar one of these days.