Inspired by Susannah Nadler, a graduate of The Spence School, New York, NY

Storytelling is an integral part of the formation of our identities. The stories that our parents and our communities tell us about themselves and the world form our first map of the universe. At some point, we begin to tell our own stories to ourselves and to others. Tell us a story you tell. Your story does not have to be either true or a story you would think to tell anyone but yourself; but the story must be your own, and its telling should have significance to you. Your story should also be significant to a listener who might tell a story about you.


France is a European fusion of culture, claiming diversely mastered specialties in its many regions and provinces. Crpes, dentelle Bretonne, languedoc, and fromages-mania are all constituent to this cultural synthesis, until you come down to Marseille. Of all things to be celebrated for, what is their specialty? "Les histories Marseillaises", or "tall tales". As it is told, the people of Marseille are notorious for their especially keen powers of exaggeration-sort of like me. I contest, minor embellishment must find its way in several stories I tell for audience appeal (as long as such embellishment remains consistent!). Whenever I tell this particular one though, I start off by saying "the story I shall tell you in itself is too colorfully absurd to require any ornamentation. This is exactly how it happened":

Five years ago, when I was about twelve or thirteen, still on the steps of teenagehood in Saudi Arabia, the whole family decided to go shopping at the gaudiest of places to buy anything in Riyadh! This little center had a good hardware store, and an adjacent clothes shop where you can buy anything for about a tenth of the price! Calvin Klein becomes Calvin Clein, GAP BAP, Lacoste Locaste, and...

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