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List-of-Experiences Speech

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"Whatever anyone dares boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare boast about. … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from Jewish leaders the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false believers."

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 has 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.
  • 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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    Anime & 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.

    Fan Works 
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: When Missandei rattles off Daenerys' list of titles, the Wolf quickly shoots back with his own, adding to them the people he's killed and the places he's ravaged.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space
    • Our hero is introduced doing this to what turns out to be a randy Sex Bot trying to seduce him.
      "In my travels throughout the galaxy I have seen much that is beautiful," he said. "The ice rings of Saturn, the song-crystals of Mars, the wild jungles of Venus women. Worlds that look like a painted matte backdrop, and brilliant stars against the black cyclorama of space. But while this sight may top them all, I'm afraid I must decline."
    • Later he bemoans how the public has become apathetic about space exploration.
      How could he explain the marvels of the universe to those who lived with the everyday miracles of science? The great stone Face of Chakotay that changed expression once a week. The Harrie-Kim who can die numerous times, only to be reincarnated in an immature form. Planets enshrouded by global cities that somehow maintained a breathable atmosphere. The strange yellow words he'd seen floating through a galaxy far, far away. And most mysterious of all — the black monolith in orbit around Jupiter, salvaged by the Space Rangers to serve as a coffee table for the President of Earth himself! At least there was a man who appreciated the wonders of Outer Space!
    • Proton scoffs at the idea that an expert called in to deal with an alien invader knows more than his hard-won field experience. "I've come face-to-face with hundreds of species throughout the galaxy: floating brains, radiant energy beings, psychotic teddy bears, gaseous lifeforms from Uranus, facehugging vaginas with acid for blood..."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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, all to show the teenage hoodlums just how much they fall short in comparison.
    "I'm Hub McCann. I've fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, KILLED MANY MEN and loved only one woman with a passion a FLEA like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am. NOW, GO HOME, BOY!"
  • 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."

  • Inverted with Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!, which is a list of experiences that haven't happened yet.
  • In The Dreamside Road, Orson Gregory's List-of-Experiences Speech doubles as a Badass Boast. He describes his frequent battles with supernatural and other powerful foes, making it very clear to Daniel Tucker that his Extra-ore-dinary abilities, while impressive, are not enough to overwhelm the man who battled the leader of Thunderworks.
  • 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!
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar reminds the Orcs everything they endured in his Rousing Speech, in order to boast their moral in the upcoming battle with the Southlanders.
    Adar: My children, we have endured much. We cast off our shackles. Crossed mountain, field, frost and fallow 'till out feet bloodied the dirt. From Ered Mithrin to the Ephel Arnen, we have endured. Ye tonight, one more trial awaits us. Our enemy may be weak, their numbers meager..., yet before this night is through, some of us will fall. But for the first time, you do so not as unnamed slaves in far-away lands, but as brothers. Brothers and sisters in our home! This is the night we reach out the iron hand of the Uruk and close our fist around those lands.
  • 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!
  • Lister in the Red Dwarf episode "Demons and Angels", after testing the "high" food machine:
    Lister: I'll tell you one thing. I've been to a parallel universe, I've seen time running backwards, I've played pool with planets and I've given birth to twins. But I never thought, in my entire life, I'd taste an edible Pot Noodle.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Message In A Bottle", the Doctor gets transmitted to a Starfleet vessel in the Alpha Quadrant, the USS Prometheus, which has been captured by Romulans, and bickers with the Prometheus's EMH as they try to stop them.
    EMH 2: We're medical holograms. What can we expect to do against a ship full of Romulans?
    The Doctor: I'm not sure. Not yet. But I've faced my share of challenges. Alien invasions, macro-viral infestations. I've crossed Borg space, traveled through time...
    EMH 2: Have you run a self-diagnostic lately? The EMH Mark I is designed to function in Sickbay only.
    The Doctor: Voyager lost it's Chief Medical Officer four years ago. I've been active ever since.
    EMH 2: Four years? No wonder you're delusional. Your program's degrading after being active for so long.
    The Doctor: I assure you I am in perfect health. I was saving Voyager from annihilation when you were only a gleam in your programmer's eye. Now, are you going to help me take back this ship or not?

  • 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
  • "A Talk with George" by Jonathan Coulton features the ghost of George Plimpton giving out life advice to the protagonist—which happens to correspond with the real-life Plimpton's accomplishments and experiences:
    First of all, hang out a lot with Hemingway
    Spend some time fighting bulls in Spain
    You should go three rounds with Archie Moore and Sugar Ray
    It's so damn scary you won't mind the pain
    Be ringside at the Rumble in the Jungle
    Make friends with Hunter S. and Jackie O.
    And when they shoot poor Bobby down, you wrestle Sirhan to the ground
    Love your friends and miss them when they go


  • 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...

  • 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 
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: Flashback in Chapter XX shows Fu Hua getting ready for hibernation. While waiting, she takes a moment to look back at her past. Even though she has lived for hundreds of years and her life was full of tragedies, she notes that it took her only 14 minutes to recall her most cherished memories.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: Done in Season 2 Episode 4, Below the Bedrock, where Ivor tells everyone his Backstory on how he became a ninja if you let him.
    Ivor: It all started when I fell through a portal into some sort of strange world. Everything was all white... Master Shadow's domain. He claimed he was a ninja master, a practitioner of the "Shadow Arts". At first, I wanted nothing to do with him, he was a very suspicious character. But eventually, after a lot of uncomfortable eye contact, he asked me—ME, to be his pupil! I was confused at first, because he didn't exactly present his credentials or curriculum, but I'm always open to learning! I'm a student of life, after all—so I said YES! Before I knew it, I was karate chopping wood, cleaning floors... All as part of my so-called "training". At first, it seemed pointless, but after I had chopped a forest's worth of trees and cleaned miles and miles of floor, two things became clear: sometimes, doing menial tasks can be an amazing way to learn martial arts. And sometimes, strange old men just like tricking people into doing their housework. Bah! Anyway, it all worked out because now I'm a ninja, and my newfound ninja skills helped me find my way to you.
    Petra: Are you... are you done? Please? Please be done?
  • 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.

  • 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 

    Western Animation 
  • Archer gives one of these in one episode, pointing out all the bad things he's been subjected to, including but not limited to: stabbed, shot, tortured, held captive, and sexually assaulted. "Stabbed" and "shot" are each listed several separate times in his rant, as though he's recalling the injuries in chronological order.
  • Family Guy: Played for Laughs when, 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!
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Second Contact", during an argument with Boimler over how to conduct their mission, Mariner launches into a lengthy rant about how she has much more seniority and practical experience than him by listing the various situations she's found herself in during her time in Starfleet.
    Mariner: I have served on five ships, man. I have seen stuff. One time I got trapped in a sentient cave for weeks. You ever been trapped in a sentient cave? That's a dark place that knows things. I almost got my head taken off by a singing crystal. I have been in a Klingon prison where I had to fight a yeti for my own shoes for no reason. He was just being a dick.