There is something I’ve noticed about conversations at public gatherings. From sports events to dining halls to exotic furry conventions, there’s one thing that these areas have in common: banal, useless conversation.
In this age where the ways we communicate with others has and continues to expand thanks to social media, our propensity for meaningful conversation has seemed to fall the opposite direction. We typically fall back to bland, unimaginative questions such as, “How have you been?”, “How was your weekend?” or “What did you do over break?”
The kicker here is that while these questions seem to give the recipient great freedom for expression, these questions are usually asked for the opposite reason. They are throwaway questions where we expect throwaway answers, such as “good,” “nothing much” or “traveled with the family.”
That’s usually where it ends, and soon our two heroes have left the conversation, only to forget it mere moments later when they Snapchat their food.
The same is true at store checkout lines. Whenever you get to the end of the line the clerk will typically ask, “How is your day going?” I wonder, do they really want to know? Personally, I think if someone asks you this, don’t hold back.
“I’m doing reasonably well. Except my dog died, my cat exploded, my car broke down, my parents disowned me, my girlfriend dumped me, my priest condemned me, I failed my classes, I’m out of a job and this wart on my foot is turning purple, mushy and malignant.” I doubt this is want they wanted to hear, especially that last part, but they’re the ones who asked you in the first place.
I think that in order to prevent ourselves from turning into droning, emotional-lacking millennials the baby boomers make us out to be, we need to start asking ourselves more important, thoughtful and specific questions. Here are a few I would suggest.
“Trevor, who would win in a fistfight? Jimmy Carter or Mel Brooks?”
“Michael, has self-doubt hindered your decision-making ability?”
“Chris, did you remember to delete your internet history?”
“Micayla, who wrote the Book of Love? Nope, it was not Stephanie Meyer.”
“Charlie, what are your thoughts on eternity? With or without the existence of God.”
“Zack, what would you rather have? 86 pounds of chickpeas or 39 kilograms of garbanzo beans?”
“Johnny, are you ever going to get married?”
“Amber, are you afraid you’re getting too old to have children?”
“Johnny, have you met my friend Amber? Oh, you have? And it went poorly?”
“Seth, you smell bad. This isn’t a question it’s just something I wanted you to know.”
This ought to get the conversation started I’m hoping you’ll take it from here. With the Cats out of the playoffs, what else is there to talk about?