I was struggling to remember the term - I knew there was one - for the type of stories where it’s long-winded and the narrator is generally trying to keep the audience hanging and eventually ending in an anticlimax. These are called Shaggy Dog Stories, there’s even a subreddit for them.
The ones I heard the most growing up were from my high school crowd, and I remember two of them:
- the “bloop bloop”. Basically, a kid is asked what he wants to do when he grows and he says “I want to invent the bloop-bloop!” and the story proceeds to describe the kid’s academic growth track and at every milestone he repeats the same goal; he takes a number of courses, joins research projects, and at the end he announces that he has finished his life goal and invites everyone to a demonstration. He takes out a small round object and drops into a vat of liquid, where it makes the sound “bloop bloop”
- the pink table. A kid is asked what he wants for his birthday, and he says “I want a pink table!”, but his parents get him something else. This scenario repeats every year. But I forget how this one ends.
I tried Google searching for the above stories, but because these were largely transmitted via verbal narration in the pre-internet days, it is unlikely there are “standard” versions of these shaggy dog stories recorded online.
The most famous shaggy dog story I do know of is of course, Nate the Snake. (The wayback machine tells me this site and domain have been up since 2012, that’s neat, I’d have at least put ads on it by now!)