Sucker for the story-behind

In graphic user interface based software development there is the UX layer, the interface the user interacts with, and then there’s the functional layer with all the actual code in it. Probably somewhere there is also the data layer, that holds all the information the entirety of the software needs, the data the code intearcts with and then relays messages and actions to the user. Without the fuctional code, the user interface is just a pretty (in best cases) but dead picture. This code behind the user interface is referred to – quite logically – as the code-behind file.

This is pretty much how I view the world. Every image we see, every song we here, every person we interact with, everything we experience in daily life is just the superficial, just the user experience layer. We reeal a polished image of ourselved to other people. We receive and interact with a similar honed image of others. We watch a movie, we listen to an awesome band, we wonder about the kid who slapped another kid in school. Kids are not polished yet.

Often times, especially in the age of the Facebook, it’s quite easy to feel the sting of jealousy. Look at the perfect wedding and honeymoon photos of this person! See, how beautiful children that one has! Oh, these people are so perfect, they have it all! Just listen to this song, he is so talented and successful, his life must be a ball! Many people blame Facebook for this jealous behavior induced by perfect looking lives of other people, but even though I said “especially in the age of the Facebook”, I believe this is a very core trait in us people.

Who wouldn’t want to look good, even perfect in other peoples’ eyes? We show others what we choose to show, we tell others what we choose to tell, we share only what we choose to share. Whether it be in Facebook or in “real life” (I hate that term, by the way, because it indicates that communications in FB aren’t real), that’s the way we act. We show the nice UI, hiding the ugly looking story behind, into a story-behind file only a few people are allowed to access.

Some people are more open about their story-behind and some lock it down more tightly. Celebrities often times gain from opening up the story file to all the curious fans of the world. Some celebrities go on to fabricate a life more interesting than they really had, hiding the story-behind even deeper and actually reveal another image instead of revealing any reality behind it. Some people write their stories just for the sake of writing it, maybe hoping that reading it will some day help someone else who is going through similar things, or maybe to shine light on some otherwise hidden larger story.

The world is full of stories. Every person has one, a quilt of stories made of different story patches. Ecery place has one, woven in history by the people who lived there and passed through and stayed a while. Every object has one – maybe not the cow bell you by from a souvenir store or the brand new winter coat bought from Esprit, not the things straight out of a factory, but after they see life for a while, they get their story too. Like the cow bell. Maybe one day when I am gone, my daughter will want to keep it and tell her children that granny brought it from Seefeld. Maybe my winter coat will keep someone else warm some day like my grandma’s winter coat keeps me warm now.

I am a sucker for that story-behind. I love to hear the stories behind objects, places, people, music and books. Understanding – hearing or reading – these stories attach me to the *thing* with a special bond. Like Purnumukka. I needed to go see the place, when I heard the story of this brave woman who lived there. Later on, I read her book and felt like she had become a friend. Like Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl or Chili Peppers and Anthony Kiedis. After reading the stories behind, the music caught up a whole new intensity and feeling for me.

Even though I think this trait is in me somewhat stronger than average, I don’t think it makes me unique in any way. Isn’t this exact trait the reason for all the biographies and making of [movies] -documentaries etc.? The very human desire to understand the story-behind of other people, of incidents, of things and places. The story behind the movie, the rock album, the band the small town, the little object you bought at the flea market. Isn’t that the very essential that makes something dear to us, knowing the story-behind?

I come from a family of story tellers. If it wasn’t for modern technology, if it wasn’t for the ability to write things in books and blogs and whatnot, my family would be passing on tradition by the camp fire of the village. My grandfather –  as a teenager I loved to sit with him and listen to his stories – my grandmother, my dad, my mom, my mom’s parents, me, my sister, my kids. Story tellers. Tellers of the stories behind the appearances.