I worked with a raconteur when I was young and impressionable, and duly found him quite impressive. He claimed to have been in the RAF during WWII, and once told an amusing tale about the misreporting of enemy kills during the Battle of Britain. I later discovered that what he claimed to have been a personal experience was, in fact, a well known (and probably apocryphal) anecdote of unknown origin. Henceforth I regarded him as being merely a prime bullshitter, and applied the same pejorative attitude to all raconteurs.
That was probably unfair of me, and I expect I will carry on telling my own tales regardless (if I have any left to tell, that is.) I suppose that as long as the story is genuine, and as long as any elaboration is added only to apply colour and not append anything false to the core truth, there’s no harm done. And maybe it’s all to do with the way you tell ’em.
Another type I have difficulty with is the bon vivant. It smacks to me of trivial values, and even pretension. Imagine going through The Gates and being asked what you did with your life.
‘I was a bon vivant,’ you answer proudly.
Not much of a recommendation for a seat at the Captain’s table, is it? You might as well say that you collected expensive works of art so that people would think you important. I should imagine that having collected cornflakes and arranged them in order of size and shape would get you more points.