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List-of-Experiences Speech

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Some people feel the need to reminisce about the busy, exotic and event-filled lives they have lived. These reminisces tend to follow a list pattern, such as "I've dined with the Maharaja, I've gone over Niagara Falls in a spoon, I've run a fortune-500 company" etc.

Sometimes used by someone who as Seen It All.

Used for a number of reasons:

  • To show someone has lived a full and satisfying life, especially if they are about to die.
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  • Conversely to show that someone who is about to die shouldn't because they have so much useful experience (in this case it's often another character who recounted said list of experience)
  • As part of a Badass Boast.
  • When added "...But I've never seen/experience (a certain thing)" at the end, it expresses how extraordinary/impossible said certain thing is, even if you've done a lot of eventful things before. Alternatively, instead, he simply doesn't like said certain thing.

Compare Remember When You Blew Up The Sun when other characters reminisces one awesome thing that a certain character supposedly did. May sometimes overlap with Exposition of Immortality when the (immortal/very old) character personally experiences things that happened a long time ago (without Time Travel that is).


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Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • The Chrono Crusade anime ends with an absolutely heart-wrenching variation, with Rosette listing off all of the shared experiences with Chrono she will never actually have, since she only has a few hours left to live.

     Audio Plays  

  • The Big Finish Doctor Who, "Phobos" has the Eighth Doctor giving a chilling one to the Monster of the Week:
    Was that supposed to frighten me, Farl? I've seen entire species destroyed; civilisations left in ruins. I've witnessed solar systems vanish in the twinkling of an eye. I've seen things that would freeze your blood. So don't threaten me. Don't ever threaten me.

     Comic Books  

  • Watchmen. Doctor Manhattan combines this with "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    I've walked across the Sun. I've seen events so tiny and so fast they hardly can be said to have occurred at all, but you... you are a man. And this world's smartest man means no more to me than does its smartest termite.

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     Film  

  • Roy Batty's final speech in Blade Runner.
    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe... Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
  • Alan gives a much nastier list of experiences in Jumanji when he explains exactly what Judy and Peter are getting themselves into.
    You think that mosquitoes, monkeys, and lions are bad? That is just the beginning. I've seen things you've only seen in your nightmares. Things you can't even imagine. Things you can't even see. There are things that hunt you in the night. Then something screams. Then you hear them eating, and you hope to God you aren't dessert. Afraid? You don't know what afraid is. You will not last five minutes without me."
  • Notably subverted in The Ghost and the Darkness, where Great White Hunter Remington has a quote about how time steals away many of the memories that would otherwise be part of one of these speeches.
    So many things flash by and at that moment you say "Oh yeah, this is gonna stay with me. Surely. I will never forget this dawn. This hunt. This passion." And then... it's all gone.
  • Secondhand Lions: Hub at one point grabs a hotheaded youth by the throat and tells him who he is and what he's done, including seeing the headwaters of the Nile and tribes of natives no white man had seen before.
  • Han Solo gives one of these to young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: A New Hope, poo-pooing the concept of The Force: "Kid, I've flown from one end of this galaxy to the other. Seen a lot of strange stuff. But I've never seen anything to make me believe there's some all-powerful force controlling everything. No mystical energy field controls my destiny." This speech neatly gauges how cynical and faithless Han Solo is at that point.
  • Good Will Hunting has a speech like this except Maguire is using the speech to show Will that he isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Will has been arrogantly frustrating one therapist after another but Maguire tells him that all he has is book knowledge. "But you've never been inside the Sistine Chapel and smelled the mortar."
  • Cool Runnings: Irv Blitzer to Sanka Coffie
    "Yeah, I dig where you're coming from. Now dig where I'm coming from. I'm coming from two gold medals, I'm coming from nine world records in both the two- and four-man events. I'm coming from ten years of intense competition with the best athletes in the world."

     Literature  

  • Inverted with Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!, which is a list of experiences that haven't happened yet.
  • The Hunt for Red October: One of the Dallas crew comments, "Y'know, I seen me a mermaid once. I even seen me a shark eat an octopus. But I ain't never seen no phantom Russian submarine."
  • In the fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion Lannister gives one on behalf of Daenerys Targaryen.
    I know that she spent her childhood in exile, impoverished, living on dreams and schemes, running from one city to the next, always fearful, never safe, friendless but for a brother who was by all accounts half-mad...a brother who sold her maidenhood to the Dothraki for the promise of an army. I know that somewhere upon the grass, her dragons hatched, and so did she. I know she is proud. How not? What else was left her but pride? I know she is strong. How not? The Dothraki despise weakness. If Daenerys had been weak, she would have perished with Viserys. I know she is fierce. Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen are proof enough of that. She has survived assassins and conspiracies and fell sorceries, grieved for a brother and a husband and a son, trod the cities of the slavers to dust beneath her dainty sandaled feet.

     Live Action TV  

  • Parodied in Manny's speech in Black Books.
    Now look, you have given me everything that money can buy. Yes, I've slept on satin sheets, I've eaten crinkle-cut chips from a silver bowl, I've been driven all over town in minicabs. But there are some things that money can't buy.
  • Overlaps with Badass Boast in Doctor Who episode "The Rings of Akhaten", when the Doctor attempts to cause a Phlebotinum Overload in a god that eats memories:
    The Doctor: I walked away from the Last Great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and I watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time. No space. Just me! I've walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a MAD MAN! I've watched universes freeze and creations burn! I have seen things you wouldn't believe. I have lost things you'll never understand! And I know things. Secrets that must never be told. Knowledge that must never be spoken. Knowledge that will make parasite gods BLAZE!
  • When Gus (a former sailor) from Road to Avonlea goes blind, he says this to his fiancee: "I've travelled Felicity and I've seen things... The southern cross in the night sky... The fire of Saint Elmo dancing on the water... I've seen the sun rising on old Spanish ports... And I'll never see again. I'll never see your face again."
  • Parodied by Stargate SG-1's Self-Parody episode "Wormhole X-Treme!":
    Col. Danning: Princess, I've seen a lot over the years, the crystal rivers of Erridel, the blue volcanoes of Kashtorr Rama, even the Starfires of Grablax Six. (grabs her) None of it compares to you. (kisses her)
    (somebody's cell phone rings)
    Director: CUT!

     Music  

  • Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me"
    Oh, I've been to Nice and the Isle of Greece while I've sipped champagne on a yacht
    I've moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed 'em what I've got
    I've been undressed by kings and I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see
    I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me
  • The circus song in Doctor Dolittle
    I mean, I've seen the world
    I've been around
    I could tell you stories
    That would quite astound you
    I'm not a fool!
    I went to school!
    I've been from Liverpool to Istanbul, Istanbul.
    I'm no fool!
    And anyone will tell you
    That I'm sharper than a knife,
    But I've never seen anything like it in my life!
    Well, I've never seen anything like it!
    Never seen anything like it!
    I've never seen anything like it in my life!
  • The bridge of Everlast's "What it's like" is one of these:
    I've seen a rich man beg
    I've seen a good man sin
    I've seen a tough man cry
    I've seen a loser win
    And a sad man grin
    I heard an honest man lie
  • The Country Music standard "I've Been Everywhere" starts as Seen It All and then turns into this as the singer lists out all the places s/he's ever been.
  • Professor Elemental's "Cup of Brown Joy" is largely this.
    With Sherpas who work herds and use a fresh fountain
    I've discerned brews from Peruvian mountains
    ...
    I've slurped up a cuppa from an elephant's trunk
    With a couple of monks who utterly stunk
    I've had bourbons with sultans and creams with queens
    And I've bathed in Earl Grey—I'm really that keen!
    ...
    I've been around the world in eighty brews,
    To see the place it takes me to
    To make a brew that tastes like the
    Cream cakes made by angels do
  • Weebl's song Scampi is probably a parody of this.
    I've seen things, I've seen them with my eyes,
    I've seen things, they're often in disguise, like
    Carrots, handbags, cheese, toilets,
    Russians, planets, hamsters, weddings,
    Poets, Stalin, Kuala Lumpur,
    Pygmies, budgies, Kuala Lumpur!
  • The song "When I See an Elephant Fly" from Dumbo is a parody of this.
  • The song "In Search of Diamonds" is about the amazing things a player has seen while touring a Minecraft creative server.
    Saw a lava lake near the core, Kratos from God of War, mushroom spore, liquor store, statue of Dumbledore...
  • Spitting Image's "I've never met a nice South African" song. In that song, a guy recounts many many near-impossible things that he's seen (a working Yorkshire Miner, Rowan Atkinson paying for lunch, and a close encounter of the twenty-second kind (that's when an alien spaceship disappears up your behind)) but maintains that he's never met a Nice South African.
  • "My Own Eyes" is a list of things "Weird Al" Yankovic has seen...and wishes he hadn't.
  • U2's "But I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" features a list of things Bono has done interspersed with the chorus, which is just a repetition of the title.
  • James Taylor's "Fire and Rain":
    I've seen fire and I've seen rain
    I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
    I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
    But I always thought that I'd see you again.
  • Inverted with VeggieTales' "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything," in which the pirates sing about the things they haven't done (because they don't do anything).
  • "I Can't Get Started" by Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke, first sung by Bob Hope: the verses list all the singer's astounding achievements, but the refrain is the one thing he's never achieved:
    The North Pole I have charted
    But I can't get started
    With you.
  • "Do Ya" by Electric Light Orchestra has verses that are a good example of this, with the singer explaining how he's seen practically everything, but nothing like the woman he's singing to.
    In this life I've seen everything I can see woman
    I've seen lovers flying through the air
    Hand in hand
    I've seen babies dancing in the midnight sun
    And I've seen dreams that came from the heavenly skies above
    I've seen old men crying at their own grave sides
    And I've seen pigs all sitting watching
    Picture slides
    But I never seen nothin' like you

     Poetry  

  • Part of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" is this trope. The title character (also known as Odysseus) describes his adventures.
    All times I have enjoy'd
    Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
    That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
    Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
    Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
    For always roaming with a hungry heart
    Much have I seen and known; cities of men
    And manners, climates, councils, governments,
    Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
    And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
    Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
  • General George S. Patton, Jr. wrote a poem called "Through a Glass, Darkly" about what he believed were his previous incarnations as a warrior. Part of it (which was quoted in the film Patton):
    Through the travail of the ages,
    Midst the pomp and toil of war,
    I have fought and strove and perished
    Countless times upon this star.
    [snip many stanzas about his combat adventures]
    So as through a glass, and darkly
    The age long strife I see
    Where I fought in many guises,
    Many names, but always me.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In Warhammer 40,000, Commander Farsight has a speech like this (almost certainly a Shout-Out to the Blade Runner example above).
    I've seen things you wouldn't believe - entire worlds in flames, chains of supernovas on the edge of nothingness, the great hole in space. I am changed, an outcast now...

     Theatre  

  • In a children's theater musical production of O. Henry's The Ransom Of Red Chief Sam & Bill lure Red Chief away from home by telling him of all the adventures they've had and places they've seen, saying that if he joins them he'll have similar adventures.

     Video Games  

  • Starcraft: Zeratul to Aldaris, who's getting uppity with him:
    You speak of knowledge, Judicator? You speak of experience? I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities... Unto my experience, Aldaris, all that you've built here on Aiur is but a fleeting dream. A dream from which your precious Conclave shall awaken, finding themselves drowned in a greater nightmare.

     Webcomics  

  • In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn, Son of Quinn has listed his experiences at least twice as a Badass Boast, and "The Reason You Suck" Speech in the first case.
    • First time, to a gangbanger who threatened him after being arrested thanks to Quentyn.
      I have slogged through the Dire Swamps, killed a Gragum god-priest and three of his followers single-handed, and waded thru an army of shadow wights to kill a rat-king. I also happen to be the guy who just hospitalized half your big, bad gang, jackass.
    • The second time he's added slaying a Swamp Kraken and surviving The Wild Hunt to his list.

     Web Video  

  • In season 6 of Acquisitions Incorporated, Wil Wheaton's character discovers that the giant demonic statue he's hiding under has a hole at its rear end that leads into its stony bowels. While understandably reluctant to explore it further at first, nudging from other players and the audience forces him to reconsider and climb inside. Before that, however, he lists all the famous D&D adventures he played (including Against the Giants, Temple of Elemental Evil, and even the Tomb of Horrors), before concluding that he never had to say following words before: "I will climb up the asshole."

     Western Animation  

  • Played for Laughs in Family Guy, where after opening up his own restaurant, Peter laments that he hopes he doesn't have one of those handicapped Vietnam vets who's missing both legs come into his store, before seeing one enter and acknowledging it happening.
    Wheelchair-bound Vietnam Vet: I've seen some things man, and did some stuff. I wouldn't recommend it!


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