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…And That Little Girl Was Me

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Roger: My name is Braff Zacklin. I was an international race car driver. One day a baby carriage rolled onto the tracks, so I swerved into the retaining wall to avoid it. The car burst into flames, but the baby miraculously survived. I was that baby.
Steve: That doesn't make any sense.

One character treats another to a lengthy third-person anecdote. Either the receiver, or the person telling the tale, will be one of the crucial characters. Usually it's revealed, but sometimes it's just implied.

Can be used to inspire a fellow character in a similar predicament, but it's most often a means of explaining crucial Backstory. You wouldn't think you would explain something the heroes need to know in a way that looks like wasting their time with some story about irrelevant third parties, but it seems to be a pretty effective distancing tool for these narrators.

Seen often in Glurge. If you're reading one, and the wise old stranger is telling the discouraged younger person an inspirational tale of someone who was just like them once, you know it's coming.

Compare You Know Who Said That? or Historical Person Punchline, where the anonymous example of some value turns out to be a historical figure. Also compare I Have This Friend, Actually, I Am Him, Let Me Tell You a Story, and Future Self Reveal. For when the entire story turns out to have been one of these, see Narrator All Along. If the main character does this, it's Nostalgic Narrator.

This trope can be subverted when the narrator is asked how the story is relevant (with bonus points for the story being depressing) and he replies by saying it isn't. Can be double-subverted if he follows up with something about the story that was inspirational. From here, it can encounter the rare triple-subversion if it is revealed afterwards, such as after the other characters leave, he reveals that he was in that story, such as pulling out a memento or taking one off of the wall/shelf, and talking about his companions or saying something along the lines of "Good times..."

Because of the nature of this trope, expect unmarked spoilers ahead.


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  • The "Shaggy Dog" Story about the monks listed on that trope page's Jokes subpage ends with the "revelation" that the joke teller is a monk, implied to specifically be (depending on the teller and how the joke is told) the person who had spent so long searching for the source of the mysterious sound.

  • Subverted with Avril Lavigne's "Sk8ter Boi". We are led to believe that the girl described in the song is Avril herself, who had a crush on a boy but turns him down due to peer pressure from her friends, but then falls in love with him again after seeing him as a rockstar on TV. However, as the bridge reveals, that girl was someone else entirely, and Avril herself is now dating the boy that the girl dumped.
  • Arctic Monkeys have "Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts", a B-Side to a single off their album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. It describes a boy who gets played by a girl who's only interested in older men, before turning around and saying that he was in fact that boy.
  • Emilie Autumn, "Opheliac"
    She speaks in third person
    so that she can forget that she's me.
  • Mary J. Blige's song "Take Me As I Am" ends the second verse describing a girl's life before the bridge with "ask me how I know, 'cause she is me(eeeeeee)."
  • In Jim Croce's "Box #10", the narrator sings of "a down home country boy" who has a rough time of it in the Big Apple. The verse ends with, "Oh well it's easy for you to see that that country boy is me".
  • In Leonard Cohen's "Winter Lady" song, the narrator invites a stranger to stay the night. He then talks idly about her resemblance to his Childhood Friend, finishing:
    And why are you so quiet now
    standing there in the doorway?
  • Danish singer Anna David's song "Den Lille Pige" ("The Little Girl") about a teenage girl who was raped. Translated into English: "Even though she's a grown-up now, she'll never forget you. Take my word — I know it, because the little girl was me".
  • The spoken word song "Deck of Cards" has the artist tell a story about a soldier who was once caught in church with a deck of cards. They wanted to punish him, but he then explained he didn't have a Bible and used the characters and signs on the cards to remind him of biblical facts and characters. He then concludes: "And that soldier... was me."
  • Delta Goodrem has done versions of this twice in "The Analyst" and "Uncovered".
  • In Bob Dylan's song "Simple Twist of Fate", Dylan uses third person pronouns to narrate a story about a man and a woman who had a romantic encounter that ended. In the last verse, the narrator switches to first person — "I still believe she was my twin" — revealing that he was the man in the story.
  • Eminem:
    • He used this in "Criminal", as part of another rant against his mother:
      My mother did drugs, hard liquor, cigarettes, and speed
      The baby came out - disfigured, ligaments indeed.
      It was a seed who would grow up just as crazy as she.
      Don't dare make fun of that baby, 'cause that baby was me.
    • Inverted at the end of "Stan". When Eminem finally reads Stan's increasingly unhinged letters and sits down to respond to him, he tries to warn him that he's on a dark path and that he really needs to get help. After all, Eminem had just seen a news report about a man who drove off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk, and he wonders how somebody could be so sick as to do something like that. Then he remembers what the news report said the man's name was...
      Come to think about, his name was... it was you.
  • The country standard "Harper Valley P.T.A.” ends with the singer saying Mrs. Johnson was her mother.
  • The video for Ice Nine Kills' "Hell in the Hallways", an homage to the book and film Carrie, features a high school guidance counselor trying to scare a bully straight by giving him a book to read about one Carrie White, a teenage girl with psychic powers who killed all her bullies at prom ten years ago. The video ends with the guidance counselor closing her office door with just a wave of her hand, with the nametag on the door revealing that she is Carrie all grown up.
  • In Jo Jo's unreleased song "Paper Airplanes", describing a disintegrating relationship:
    I feel her pain,
    'Cause she's me.
  • The chorus of Lindsay Lohan's "Drama Queen (That Girl)" from the similarly-named film Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen:
    That girl was a one-time teenage drama queen,
    A hot, tough everyday wannabe,
    But she'll have changed her destiny, now she's a somebody.
    That girl was a wild-child dreamer but she found herself.
    'Cause she believes in nothing else,
    And you'll look back and you won't believe
    That girl was me.
  • In Metallica's "The Unforgiven", the narrator switches between first (in the chorus) and third person. The last verse ends with:
    The old man then prepares
    To die regretfully -
    That old man here is me.
  • Played for Laughs in Tim Minchin's "Rock 'n' Roll Nerd".
    He knows that his music lacks depth
    But it just can't be helped
    He has nothing interesting to say
    So he writes about himself
    But he doesn't want to seem self-obsessed
    So he writes in third person
  • Stevie Nicks belts out "That girl was me!" at the end of her song "Angel", but the rest of the lyrics confusingly address a friend or lover, who may or may not be dead, so we're not sure...
  • This trope is referenced in Lauren O'Connell's song "The Pilot":
    Didn't know what he told those stories for
    'Bout the only blind pilot in the second Great War
    And when he'd reach the end, we'd say
    That man was me".
  • Britney Spears has done this with 'Girl in the Mirror.'
    I can't believe it's what I see
    That the girl in the mirror
    The girl in the mirror
    Is me
  • Played with in "Three Wooden Crosses", made popular by Randy Travis, where four passengers board a bus, "A farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher." At the end of the song, it's revealed that it's a preacher telling the story. The twist is that the preacher telling the story is actually the hooker's son, having been inspired by the bloodstained Bible that the preacher gave to his mother before dying.
  • Neil Young's "Barstool Blues" has the drunken, rambling narrator declare "Once there was this friend of mine who died a thousand deaths...."

  • In the Welcome to Night Vale episode "Condos", The Faceless Old Lady Who Secretly Lives in Your Home relates a story about a girl she once knew, who was always trying to fit in, and pretending to be someone she was not, so that every day there was less-and-less of her to see, until eventually...
    Old Woman: ...she died. [Beat] Oh, that wasn't me. I see the confusion here. No, that was a woman I watched. I secretly lived in her home.
  • Zig-zagged in Within the Wires when "Cassette #1: Stress, Shoulders," Side B has its Narrator instructing its listener, the patient in a research hospital, to imagine themself as a dragonfly handled by a little girl. While the metaphor would initially suggest that the Narrator is the girl grown up, Cassette #2 implies and Cassette #6 confirms that the girl is the patient, with the Narrator trying to cure her Laser-Guided Amnesia.

  • The indirect version is a staple of Paul Harvey's routine. Usually, at the end of his radio show, he'd reveal "The Rest of the Story", where he'd talk about a young boy or girl who underwent some sort of hardship. And at the end, wouldn't you know it, he'd say "and that little boy/girl grew up to be... (name of famous person)."
  • A fictional version is occasionally used by Garrison Keillor when he reports the News from Lake Wobegon, where he'll mention that he was visiting Lake Wobegon for some reason or other, and then shift to third-person perspective to tell the characters' story, only to switch back to first-person to reveal that a person he was talking about was actually him all along. The best part is that he does it so subtly that it takes a few moments to notice the shift.
  • A humorous version is used in an episode of The Life of Riley called "The Hold Up," which guest-starred Burt Lancaster. Chester Riley is outlining the perils of becoming a gangster to his son, Junior. After telling Junior the story of a gangster who got the chair, he closes with this:
    Riley: ....slowly they opened the little green door. He could see the chair. And then.... his nerve snapped! He shook like the yellow rat that he was! He began screamin', "I DON'T WANNA DIE, I DON'T WANNA DIE!" They had to carry him to the chair! They strapped him in and he kept on screamin' until they pulled the switch! Son, that no-good yellow whimperin' rat was....(Beat)....Chester Riley!
    Junior: Pop! What are you tryin' to hand me? If they pulled the switch on you, how come you're still alive?
    Riley: No juice. The warden forgot to pay the electric bill. And let that be a lesson to you, Junior!
  • The opening narration of every episode of The Lives of Harry Lime:
    That was the shot that killed Harry Lime. He died in a sewer beneath Vienna, as those of you know who saw the movie The Third Man. Yes, that was the end of Harry Lime ... but it was not the beginning. Harry Lime had many lives ... and I can recount all of them. How do I know? Very simple. Because my name is Harry Lime.

  • The Bible has an example of this with the Trope Namer of The Uriah Gambit. After the king sent Uriah to his death so he could take Uriah's wife (despite having several wives already), the prophet Nathan tells him a story about a man with many sheep stealing a sheep from someone who had only one. When the king is outraged and says that man should be punished, Nathan reveals that he was talking about wives, not sheep, and the king is that man.
    • Another has a man named Mordecai uncover and report a plot against the king. The king asks his Evil Chancellor Haman (who had previously been humiliated by Mordecai) how to best reward a man who has done him a great service. Haman, thinking it's himself, starts going on about the lavish honors and riches to be given to the man. When he's finished, the king agrees, adding "Thus shall I reward Mordecai".
  • There's an older Egyptian version of that biblical tale: the god Set is attending a congress of deities, and an old woman comes to him asking for redress: her evil brother has killed her husband, usurped his position, and maimed and driven away her son. Set agrees that a great injustice has been done to her, and asks for the name of the criminal. It's Set himself, as the old woman is really the goddess Isis, her murdered husband is Osiris, and their son is Horus.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • This is how PBB introduced himself to Rex in Dino Attack RPG. When Rex freaked out at the sight of a Brickster-Bot, PBB began to tell an anecdote about a Brickster-Bot who was built by an Alpha Team agent and helped to battle Evil Ogel... and then revealed that he himself was that Brickster-Bot.

  • Svetlana or Florence, depending on the production, has a song like this in Chess. Though everyone in the audience has figured it out by then, it ends:
    And if that girl I knew should ask my advice
    Oh, I wouldn't hesitate, she needn't ask me twice
    Go now
    I'd tell her that for free
    Trouble is that the girl is me.
  • I and You: It's not revealed until the very end of the play, but the boy Anthony saw die at his basketball game was actually him; Caroline has been unconscious and speaking with his ghost the entire time.
  • The musical adaptation of Matilda changes the twist from both the novel and the film. Here, the story of Miss Honey's birth and childhood is told by Matilda, who thinks she's making it up, and is surprised to discover later that her "fiction" is real.
  • The reprise of "Who Am I" on Les Misérables where Valjean reveals his past to Marius.
  • Parodied in The Prom. Angie tells Emma the story of a cast member in the original production of Chicago who got cast as Roxie after everyone in the cast got sick.
    Emma: Was that you?
    Angie: Just how fucking old do you think I am?
  • "The Barber and his Wife" in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  • Twelfth Night has Viola, disguised as a boy named Cesario, talking about love with Orsino, with whom she's fallen in love. Orsino claims that women aren't capable of loving very strongly, and Cesario responds by telling Orsino about his..."sister".
    Cesario: In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
    My father had a daughter loved a man,
    As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
    I should your lordship.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the second Fragment's Note, Yukitsuki gives one to Kyoichi in an attempt to convince him that she really does have the ability to empathize with him and understand his pain.
  • Parodied in Monster Prom, when Damien starts telling a story about himself and then tries to give this sudden reveal:
    Damien: And that little boy... WAS ME!
    Liam: Yeah, we know. You told us.
  • At the end of the first chapter of Sharin no Kuni, Kenichi revealed himself to be the same person as Ken, the person whom the other characters kept mentioning as the boy who deserted them years ago.

    Web Animation 
  • Bee and Puppycat has the latter character attempt to placate the sad Wallace with a lullaby about a once handsome space outlaw who fell in love with a princess, who betrayed him to the king's warlocks. The warlocks attempted to capture him, but his rage at her betrayal caused the magic to instead transform him into a "horrible monster", giving him the ability to escape. Fast forward to the end of the episode, and as Bee leaves the room, she turns out the light, leaving Puppycat to see in his reflection, for a second, the original form of the space outlaw.
  • Inverted in this Etra-chan saw it! story. Karin narrates the story about a social worker suspecting the motive of a couple adopting a girl, but she didn't realize that the little girl was her until Yuri spells it out.

  • Subverted by The Non-Adventures of Wonderella here.
    Rita: Are you that young girl?
    Dana: Nope, you are! Bye now!
  • The Order of the Stick: In the side story How The Paladin Got His Scar O-Chul and Saha discuss whether people are inherently evil or not. O-Chul tells the story of a sergeant in the army who, upon catching a pair of bandits and their teenage son, brought the son to his sister in another part of the country to be raised right. Saha sees this trope coming, but says it proves nothing: Yeah it's great that he was kind to the bandit boy, but he was already a good man at that point. O-Chul says he was not the sergeant, but the boy. Saha was shocked that O-Chul of all people used to be a bandit but that was the point of the story. If a former bandit child can become a righteous man because of the kindness he was shown, then other bad folks can change too.

    Web Original 
  • r/StoriesAboutKevin is a subreddit dedicated to stories about stupid people. Some of the stories end with "Kevin is me". Commenters often counter with "If you are self-aware then you aren't a Kevin."

    Web Videos 
  • David Near: Laughing Jack's first Story Time video has him tell a little girl the story of a demon clown who brutally butchered children visiting an old amusement park. Jack can't seem to recall his name, but he knows that he absolutely hates children. Jack is disgusted to learn the girl he's talking to is only 11, then he says he does remember that clown's name, which is his own.
    Laughing Jack: Oh that's right, I remember his name now. How forgetful of me. (snickers) His name... was Jack. No no no, not like me. It was me.
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Penny's inspirational song begins "Here's the story of a girl...", but she realizes how silly it is to keep up the pretense by the end of the fourth line.
  • In the Cold Open for one episode of The Eleven Little Roosters, Vladimir Putin tries to motivate Comrade Hadam with a story about a Russian bear that was picked on in school because his pants didn't fit properly, inspiring the bear to bulk up and learn judo until eventually he became the most powerful and feared bear in the world. When Hadam asks what the bear's name was, Vlad insists that it's not important.
  • In "TF2 - Slugman's Transformation", Jerma985 tells a story about Slugman, a human with the mind of a slug who can't bring himself to do anything. It turns out that Slugman is Jerma, as a metaphor for his struggle to overcome laziness.
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie and George want to tell her viewing audience about how Darcy allegedly screwed George over but Lizzie doesn't want to cast unproven aspersions on anyone. The solution? They tell an entirely fictional tale about how "Batman" and "Dar...vid" used to be friends before the latter betrayed the former's trust.
  • Played for Laughs in the Scott The Woz episode "To Delay a Game", where Scott immediately admits that the story he's about to tell is about himself.
    Scott: This is a story of a brown haired white boy with glasses.
    Scott: Guess who.
  • When the Video Games Awesome! played The Binding of Isaac, they started sharing stories of unhappy memories from their own childhoods. Every time one of the stories also involved someone else, someone would joke "And that boy... was Deacon/Ben."
  • Woolie Versus: In the The 3rd Birthday Playthrough, while Woolie and Minh were reflecting on past regrets (long story), Minh tells a story about the time where he asked a friend of his to check his email on their PC, but wound up closing all of his friend's millions of tabs in the process, and lied to said friend about it out of embarassment. Since there was no browser history in those days, there was no recovering them, and his friend was really depressed about it. Minh then asks Woolie whether or not the story seems familiar to him:
    Woolie: It doesn't.
    Minh: It doesn't? 'Cause that was you.
  • World War II: In Episode 22 - "The Enigma of Germany's Wartime Economy" covering the week of January 26, 1940, host Indy Neidell tells the story of Basil Reay, an Englishman working in the Egyptian Ministry of Education. On the 26th, Basil welcomes a daughter, Joy, into the world. That girl will go on to be Indy's mother, illustrating that the events of World War II are not as far removed from recent history as we would think.

    Urban Legends 
  • An story of an artist who was commissioned to do the life of Christ in a giant mural. He started with Christ's birth, using the most cherubic baby he could find as a model, and after years reached the end, but was only stuck on the model for Judas. He simply could not find anyone degraded enough to use, until he finally found a worn-out drunk with the most depraved look and hired him. The drunk could hardly refuse the money, but when they reached the studio and saw the mural he burst into tears. Asked why, he said "I know about this painting. My mother told me about it. I was the model for the Christ child."
  • There is an inversion about Leonardo Da Vinci painting The Last Supper. In order to find the appropriate look for Judas, he went to the local prisons and found a man who looked haggard, angry and dangerous and used him as the model. Some years later he still hadn't found the right person to stand in for Jesus. While pondering the question, a man walked into the studio who looked perfect, clean, with kind features. Leonardo immediately chose the man as his inspiration for Jesus. When Leonardo asked the man if they had ever met, the man replied "Yes, I was Judas."note 

    Real Life 
  • There's a famous Real Life subversion of this. American psychologist Gordon Allport was visiting Sigmund Freud and told him a story of a boy he'd seen on the train who wouldn't sit near anyone dirty. Allport said that the boy's mother seemed to be domineering, which might have something to do with his behavior. Freud leaned over to him and said, "And was that little boy you?" It was not.
  • In the afterword of A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick listed all of the friends he'd lost to drug use — among the names was "Phil, Permanent Pancreatic Damage".
  • During the second night of the first Democratic Debates in 2019, Kamala Harris attacked Joe Biden over his previous opposition to desegregation busing, telling the story of a young girl who was part of busing, before Name Dropping this trope to the surprise of Biden and everyone else. It quickly became one of the more iconic moments of her campaign. The Biden-Harris ticket went on to win the 2020 presidential election with a historic number of votes (81 million) and "that little girl" became the first woman, first black person and first person of Asian descent to be elected Vice President of the United States. The irony of her change in attitude towards Biden appears to have been lost on many.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): And That Little Boy Was Me


There was a guy that I knew...

Warren sings a song about "a guy that I knew" then tries to blindside the students with the reveal that it was actually him all along. This falls completely flat because it was obvious from the start that he was talking about himself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AndThatLittleGirlWasMe

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