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Conversations designed to end conversing

Life is not complicated, no matter how often people try to claim otherwise. The key to a pleasant existence on this Earth is fairly simple: Spend more time doing things you like than doing things you hate, and you’ll live a charmed life. Rich or poor has very little to do with it. If you find a job and a mate you like, you’re 99 percent of the way there.

Attaining such a goal is certainly easier said than done, but with hard work and perseverance, it’s not difficult to remove or avoid at least a portion of the things you despise in life. Don’t like sitting in traffic? Go into work early and leave a little late. Don’t like cleaning the house? Stop going to bars and restaurants so often, or stop buying vintage jewelry and little angel statues on Ebay, and use the savings to hire a once-per-week cleaning service.

One of the things I hate most in life is conversation with random strangers. It’s awkward, forced, and usually ends with at least one participant hating human beings a little more than they did before. I especially get annoyed when casual acquaintances at work start conversations with me.

That’s why I write this column. It cuts down on the number of people asking me “What’s new?” They just read this column, see I’m writing about Hitler knitting snowpants for cats, and think, “All right, if Paul has time for this, he obviously has nothing else going on in his life. I’ll find someone more interesting to blather on with endlessly.”

This week at the Minneapolis airport, I had two random conversations forced upon me like rape. One involved the lack of interesting weather this week, and the other involved a reality show called “Hoarders” which apparently highlights people who refuse to throw out their own toenail clippings and urine. I would rather be found dead with my own penis in my mouth than discuss either of these topics with some hairy-necked man from Des Moines, so I had to find a way out.

Fortunately, over the years I’ve compiled a list of three conversations I can use with people that will immediately make them want to stop speaking to me. As a public service, I’m printing these gems here so like-minded introverts may use them as well.


Tactic #1

Man: Hey, did you hear how much snow they got on the East Coast?

Paul: A lot. Nice to meet you. Maybe I’ll see you around sometime.

Man: I think the paper said almost 30 inches!

Paul: Yeah, I already had this conversation with my dad. The difference is, I enjoy speaking to him.

Man: Boy, that’s a lot of snow! It makes me thank Jesus for giving it to them instead of us.

Paul: I find horses sexually attractive.

Man: What?

Paul: When I see a horse, I have an unbearable desire to kiss it on the lips and massage its genitals.

Man: Oh. I think my wife wanted me to meet her in the gift shop. Well, it was nice meeting you.


Tactic #2

Old Woman: Do you watch “Hoarders”?

Paul: No. but I do find horses sexually attractive.

Old Woman: Oh, that’s nothing. I saw this one episode with a guy who saves used toilet paper instead of flushing it down the toilet. His wife vomits into jars and then saves them under her sink. She can’t bear to throw them out because she thinks she might need them someday.

Paul: Y’know, people never write proper html website coding nowadays. It’s like, if you’re going to type “font face=’helvetica'” in brackets, you have to close that first bracket by adding another identical bracket later that has a slash, even if you want to use helvetica for the entire webpage. You can’t just leave the first bracket there unclosed. I mean, sure, the webpage looks exactly the same whether you close the first bracket properly or not, but it’s still incomplete coding.

Old Woman: Oh. Um…

Paul: Have you ever wondered how html tables work? You have a “table” bracket that represents the whole table, then a “tr” bracket for the vertical compartments within the table, and then the “td” bracket for the horizontal compartments within the table. The cool part is that once you do the “table” bracket, you can totally add in an infinite amount of other tables within that first table. Just add more “tr” and “td” brackets. So if I…

Old Woman: (pretends to be asleep)


Tactic #3

Young Man: So what do you do for a living?

Paul: I work at…

Young Man: I’m a Libertarian. Pretty much everyone’s a Libertarian, they’re just sheep who are afraid to admit it. They’re like, “Oh, I want everyone’s kids to have an education so we can advance as a nation and society,” but the thing about that is…

Paul: Shut up and go fuck yourself.

Young Man: What?

Paul: I said shut up and go fuck yourself.

Young Man: You’re a jerk! Fuck you!

The young man storms off in a huff.

Paul: Ahh. Nice.

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