MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER was a top salesman for Kellogg’s in the 1940s and 1950s. He was funny, outgoing, and he loved practical jokes. In my favorite photo, he sits ramrod straight with the face of a general on a pony so short his toes graze the ground. I never met him but his stories were part of my growing up. Story jokes were popular back in his day. Here is an old one but a good one that helps illustrate the role stories play in communication.

A man walks into a pet store and says, “I want a talking parrot.”

The clerk says, “Yes sir, I have several birds that talk. This large green parrot here is quite a talker.” He taps on the cage, and the bird says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” He knows the entire Bible by ...

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