Contemporary Tall Tales

I used to like reading classic tall tale stories.  Paul Bunyan, Mose the Fireman, Pecos Bill, John Henry, and Stormalong, to name a few.  Baron Munchausen was a real person who returned from his travels and told outrageous stories of his adventures.   A tall tale sails past simple exaggeration into unashamed lying, and is an expression of fantastic imagination.  Words are used to conjure up images of impossible things happening.

Picture postcards have used the same idea in a visual form.


In animation, we had Popeye, who with one punch, could turn a bull into a fully stocked butcher stand, or steel girder into a cannon.

What brings this up is the contemporary version of the tall tale.  The two most popular would be Chuck Norris and The Dos Equis Man, “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”  In the age of twitter, the one liner rules this style of tall tale.

One of the hallmarks of tall tales is going out of the way to claim the truth is being told.  Thus, Chuck Norris “facts”.

Chuck Norris doesn’t churn butter. He roundhouse kicks the cows and the butter comes straight out.

Chuck Norris wears a cup not to protect himself, but to protect the players on the other team.

Chuck Norris can do a wheelie on a unicycle.

Chuck Norris s tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Advertising has given us the Dos Equis Man, “The Most Interesting Man in the World”  Some examples:

He is so macho it wasn’t until his annual doctor exam that He learned He had been shot five times 6 months earlier.

His snowglobe gets 24 inches of fresh powder annually.

The phrase”cat nap” was coined after he got into a nasty fight with a leopard that ended when he placed the feline in a sleeper hold.

After his birth he cut the umbilical cord from his stomach & used it to choke the doctor for inappropriately touching his mother.

He has found Waldo several times, but has released him because he enjoys the hunt.

He once lapped his opponent in a drag race.

When life gives him lemons… he makes champagne.

He was born in a log cabin he built with his own two hands.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Leave a Reply