He meant to be kind. Dad always meant to be kind when he pointed out the obvious to me. It was an afternoon party, where we were expected to make polite conversation with our parents’ friends, which was what I was doing and, I thought, doing superbly.

I probably prefaced my remarks with “Did you know … ?” And when the adult I was talking to said, “No, I didn’t know,” I felt it was my duty to fill them in. My father waited for the right moment when he wouldn’t embarrass me and quietly said, “Not everyone is as interested in that as you are.” I can still hear his voice telling me this, but it doesn’t stop me telling you about it.

When we are seven or eight we don’t listen; we expound. Dad’s advice did not deter me, which is why I’ve been a bore my entire life. Small bore, medium bore, crashing bore—it depends on the topic. My problem is the things that interest me do not tend to interest other people very much. Such topics as ski racing in the 1930s, the bizarre anecdotes of Augustus Hare, English graphic artists from Gillray to Pont, espionage thrillers from the interwar period, the parenting methods of Evelyn Waugh and David Mitford, the second Baron Redesdale.

Looking back on my career of boring people over dinner and at parties, I realize that they brought it on themselves. Down our way the polite answer to someone who is boring you is to say, “That’s interesting,” which means the opposite. But my interest gallops past such subtle nudges.

Indeed, such politeness provokes in me only a deepening interest in what they said was “interesting.” I acquire a sense of mission. One becomes an evangelist on behalf of “interesting” and obscure topics. One becomes deeply boring.

The English call these obscure interests hobbyhorses. They call the people who ride hobbyhorses “eccentrics.” “Eccentric” is the polite term for “insane.” I believe I am the exception that proves the rule.

I’ve been a bore my entire life. Small bore, medium bore, crashing bore—it depends on the topic.

Our minds run in grooves, and I can’t help pitying the people whose conversational grooves are dedicated to polite listening. They are good hosts. They are diplomatic and inclusive, drawing the less voluble people out and thereby boring an entire roomful of people who might otherwise be listening to me lecturing on how Arnold Lunn invented the slalom in Mürren, Switzerland, in 1922, or explaining the finer workings of the geschmozzle start in the Alpine downhill, topics that are quite interesting. But I won’t bore you here.

Dinner parties are adjudged successful when they are filled with “amusing” anecdotes about the children of the guests, usually children we were happy to show the door at the end of birthday parties. “Amusing” is another way of saying “unfunny.”

This is not to say our store of anecdotes about our own children are uninteresting or unfunny. They are simply tiresome. The ones that were funny the first few dozen times I told them are not funny anymore. I’m not clueless. I see the lips of my friends moving in unison as I tell about our kids’ childhood antics for the hundredth time. But minds enjoy running in grooves, and the same anecdotes emerge onto the tongue and across the dinner table before we are aware of it.

Again, I blame the polite adults who flattered me with their attention at an impressionable age. They made me into the precocious menace I was and the sad old bore I am today. The saddest thing of all is I am not the least bit bored. I could listen to myself for hours and often do because no one else is around.

How did this happen? Allow me to explain, because I have a theory: those who were encouraged to bore their parents’ friends in infancy received an exhilarating dose of adrenaline each time they performed. It’s adrenaline that fixes these triumphant memories in the mind, making them indelible and irresistible. This natural—and therefore blameless and unpreventable—process turns the child bore into an adult raconteur, or, worse, a memoirist. I am writing my memoirs now. Please don’t write letters telling me how fascinating this sounds. It will only encourage me and my publishers.

Eric Hanson wrote for Skiing magazine for 20 years. He’s written three books and illustrated for Rolling Stone, Outside, Spy, Vanity Fair, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, and other magazines