If there’s one thing more obnoxious than having my news feed flooded with cheesy inspirational quotes, it’s getting ear-humped by a small-talker.
I take the act of avoiding small talk as seriously as the pentagon does counter-terrorism. It’s not like I ever have anywhere important to be, but it still grinds my ass when someone impedes the process of me getting from point A to point B. Point A is where I am now, point B is where I’d like to be in the near future, and standing between the two hypothetical points is motor-mouth Marty. That’s a problem.
Listening to someone with irritable-mouth syndrome is like winding up a pair of those chattering teeth toys. It’s a dizzying experience. Five minutes of watching someone’s head jerk back and fourth, their hands mimicking every word spewing from their mouth, and I’m reaching for the Dramamine. Being cornered by one is such a helpless feeling too. It’s the same sensation an African gazelle might experience as its last breath is being squeezed from it by a boa constrictor.
It goes without saying that I’ve learned a lot of useless information over the years, yet I find it troublesome to know how many people are wandering around, aimlessly in search of someone to sort out their lives for them – free of charge. This just in: I’m not your psychologist. Although, based on all of the information that I just learned about you, I’d highly recommend consulting one.
It’s a predator versus prey world, and preparedness is the key to surviving it.
Here’s a handy how-to guide to help identify and fight back against these persistent chit-chatters:
This kind of talker insures you’ll walk away from the conversation feeling like an absolute failure at life. In no time at all you’ll have gone from hero to zero. A few steps in the other direction and you’re already reassessing your weak retirement plan, lousy career path — maybe even contemplating marriage counseling. This guy is god’s gift to humanity – according to himself, of course. Failure is no option and his life resume backs it up. Anyone see that roll of duct tape I had laying around here?
How to combat a Bragger:
Do not try to one-up a bragger. Any attempt to do so will be countered with more bragging. Your best bet is to just lie down and play dead – figuratively of course (literal translation my lead to bigger problems). Think happy thoughts, but pretend to feel dejected. After all, that’s what he wants – to make you feel like a turd on the bottom of his shoe. Use a lot of “uh-huh’s” and “I know what you mean’s”. It works every time. When the lips stop flapping, head for the nearest exit as quickly as possible.
Oh god, here we go. As soon as I hear the phrase “let me tell you a quick story” I can immediately deduce from it two things: 1.) This is going to be anything but quick, and 2.) I won’t be interested in whatever bullshit you are itching to ramble about. Storyteller Steve is always well-traveled and lives to tell tall tales. I’m positive that none of them are true. Give him a pull-start and he’ll blab forever about the time he caught a narwhal out on a Baltic Sea expedition, or about his pickle farming venture back in Utah. Shut up Steve.
How to combat Storyteller Steve:
Timing is everything with this type, and the remedy must be administered before the onset of the story. When the person uses the phrase “let me tell you a story”, place your hand on your pocket quickly, then reach inside for your phone. Place your pointer finger in the air as if to say “one second please”. Hold a mock conversation with the imaginary person on the other end and use words that imply an urgent matter of some kind. Example words/phrases to use are: “Now?” or “You’ll be there in ten minutes?” or “Oh no, are you serious?” Pretend to end the call and politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
Too Much Information Guy
These types will share every intimate detail of their lives with complete strangers. Medical procedures, incontinence issues, a rocky divorce – anything goes. Listening to this type makes me feel like a nurse or a psychologist. I always feel like I should be seated in a leather chair while jotting notes on a yellow legal pad. Be grateful that I’m not your therapist. If I were, I would probably have suggested some rather unorthodox ways of treating your issues. Tissue?
How to combat Too Much Information Guy
This type is extremely fragile, so you don’t want to do anything to further upset him/her. Your best bet is to act concerned about the problem, then suggest they seek a professional opinion immediately. Reiterate the urgency part. If possible, dial the phone number of whatever service they are in need of and hand them the phone. Leave the scene immediately after.
Being it’s another election year (oh goody), Political Pete is out trudging the campaign trail in massive numbers. He enjoys collecting bumper stickers and yard signs, spreading political e-mails, and trying to convert citizens of the opposite party. Most of these idiots don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to sound like a fox news correspondent. Flinging mud and spreading false information is what Political Pete does best. If you are approached by him, avoid eye contact at all cost.
How to combat Political Pete
Whatever you do, do not express your political views. Doing so will further extend the conversation and add fuel to the debate. In the past I’ve recommended people void themselves from the conversation by stating that they are not a U.S. citizen, and therefore do not have voting rights. This information is outdated, and may lead to an altercation if he/she is a supporter of the national rifle association, and/or a resident of the state of Texas. The most current and effective method for dealing with Political Pete is simple. Ask him to provide you with a bumper sticker, then run away in the opposite direction while he is searching his car.
This is one of my least favorites. Having to listen to someone’s uppity, know-it-all banter about the after-life makes me want to send that person there myself. If you’re that giddy about whatever comes next then why the hell are you wasting your time here? God, if you’re listening to me right now, please let the floor open up under Religious Rick the next time he is standing in front of me. He desperately wants to meet you.
How to Combat Religious Rick
This one is a bit more drastic, but can be a lot of fun if executed properly. Make sure you know the person’s name before you begin. While the person is conducting their sermon, drop to the ground and begin thrashing around as if being possessed. Add flair by cussing and spitting, and if possible, try to foam at the mouth. Finally, cap it off by yelling gibberish in an altered voice — be sure to use the person’s name at this point. Before you can wipe the spittle from your chin, Religious Rick will be running to the hills. It works every time. I know this from experience.
So there you have it. Enjoy your new found freedom the next time your out in public. But most importantly of all, don’t forget your running shoes!
Please let me know if I left anyone out…
-Happy Blogging Ya Anti-Social Bitchers!