Monday, 4 June 2012

3 Words: Jesus Goddamn Christ

One of the hardest things in the world for me is making small talk.  I love having long, drawn out conversations with friends that wander from social issues to pop culture to being an armchair psychologist (or patient), but somehow the need to spout a few informal words with a boss, classmate, or friend of a friend usually leaves me tongue-tied and tugging at my collar.  So when one of the guys at my new job asked me to describe myself in three words, I thought it was great. It’s an in with a new coworker, and it’ll both speed up the post-lunch kitchen clean-up and help ignore the dual smells of Comet sink cleaner and freshly wrapped samosas currently fighting for dominance in my nasal cavity.

As my mind went into a paralytic coma, I realized it’s not just initiating the small talk that kicks me in the balls; it’s the entire concept of returning the serve. All I could think was “Jesus Goddamn Christ, not again.” To his credit he jumped back in – apparently sensing that the small child operating inside my head was having an extended recess – giving his three words in with clarity and eloquence. Clearly, he was more prepared for this pop quiz than me.

Now, I could call bullshit on the ‘three words’ icebreaker as exactly that: an icebreaker, as opposed to an actual starting point for a conversation; I could also play holier-than-thou by saying that it’s impossible to accurately sum up anyone, not just me, in three words; but the truth is throwing either of those back in a decent enough guy’s face when he’s just trying to fill the silence would make me another three words: A huge dick.

Ice breakers and small talk are the open window that let in a fresh breeze of new ideas. It’s not his fault I’m too busy swatting flies to enjoy the fresh air. So, in the interest of encouraging small talk everywhere, and since my brain works in such a way as to be a blank slate in the moment, but one of Russell Crowe’s chalkboards in A Beautiful Mind over the next week, I’ve come up with a not-too-short list of ‘three words’ that describe me perfectly, depending on my mood, diet, or level of insomnia.

Plagued by Irreverence

Reluctantly Water Absorbant

Self-Assured Underachiever

Quiet Outgoing Hermit

Continued Irrational Amendments

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (err, wait…)

Rough in Diamonds

Curious Wayward Traveler

Realistically Skeptical Hippie

Absurdist Plus One

Stubborn Contrary Conceding

Irate Man-Child

Sweet Zombie Jesus

Couch Potato Olympian

Bulk Barn Apathy

Home Made Bread

Rarely in Moderation

Music Comedy Food

Check Back Later



  1. Larry David once tried to elevate small talk to medium talk. Ask someone about their sex-life, for example.

  2. Only Somewhat Flammable?
    Hates Ice Breakers?

  3. This is why I don't perform well at large gatherings. "Hello person I don't know! Why, yes, I know the owner of this domicile as well! You're a white person between the ages of 21 and 30? Me too!" Put me near a computer or a TV as inspiration and I won't shut up, but I don't even understand how people are capable of carrying on a conversation with someone when the only thing you know about them is literally everything you can see in front of you. Which is why people with tattoos are awesome -- it's like a cheat sheet to their interests.