Stories are snapshots of time, capturing a moment and filtering it through the lens of the present. Adding a spin, connecting it to the conversation and the moment.
I rather like snapshots.
My friend Mo waited patiently for me while I used the ATM this evening. Two freshman boys walked up to wait for their turn, and one started lighting up a cigarette. Distracted by my own accounts, I paid them no mind until I heard Mo strike a deal.
“I’ll give you five bucks if you don’t smoke that one.”
The taller boy looked startled.
“Not even quit smoking, just don’t smoke that exact cigarette,” Mo clarified.
The tall boy grinned. “Hey, sure. I know smoking is bad for me,” he pushed the barely-lit end against the lamppost. “Look, I’ll even break it in half.”
“I’m a man of my word-” Mo started.
“Hey you don’t have to give me five bucks, really.”
“No, no, I keep my word.”
“No, a buck is fine,” the tall boy conceded.
“No, really, it’s fine! I have to pull it out of the machine anyway.”
The tall boy smiled in astonishment, and his friend looked on bemusedly. “Wish I could quit smoking,” the other muttered. Neither quite seemed to understand that this was really happening.
And Mo kept his promise, the tall boy introduced himself, and Mo happily handed over $5. Vince walked away, thanking Mo profusely with his friend still shaking his head in astonishment and murmuring about how he wished he could quit.
As we took our leave, Mo explained himself. “The tobacco industry has hurt so many people I care about. Any little f-you I can give to it is a great victory for me.”
A great victory indeed, for my friend and a few random strangers by an ATM. Something tells me I’m not the only one who will remember that interaction.