Thanksgiving is just around the corner. That means families, friends, that guy you just met on the subway who seemed nice, all together to catch up and share a little food. Which is fantastic. After all, it’s not every day you have a socially acceptable reason to eat like a rhino. But sometimes the conversation can get a bit dull, or repetitive, and before you know it you wind up having the same conversation as the year before. For example:
Jim, how are the kids?
Swell. Sam is off at Stanford studying environmental science. Josie is having the time of her life interning for POLITICO over in Europe. And little Jimmie – well, can you believe he’s 16. It seems like just yesterday he was throwing lit bottle rockets out of his bedroom window and –
And into the neighbors highly flammable backyard. I think we had this conversation last year.
Huh. I think you’re right. Well, how about some cider? I’m pretty sure Grandma Barb put a little something extra in it.
Yeah? How can you tell?
It tastes strongly of alcohol. And she also left a bottle of Evan Williams next to the bowl.
Ah. I’ll take two cups then.
That, or you end up trying to make small talk about the lint you saw in the corner. In order to avoid that kind of stuff, I’ve gone ahead and compiled a few conversational tidbits. They are tried and proven methods, and, on occasion, have even been known to excite audiences past the point of being civil, so use mindfully and as needed.
The following twelve debate topics are meant to act a starter. There are no boundaries as to where the conversation can go. There are, however, a few rules. First, everybody has to side one way or the other. Strongly at that. None of this teeter-tottering, no really, I could see it going either way, I just want everybody to be friends! business. And second, be respectful. If somebody likes apple pie but you’re a lemon meringue guy, hear them out. Then respond with reasons why they couldn’t be more wrong.
1. Star Wars vs. Star Trek
2. Mountains vs. The beach
3. Chocolate vs. Vanilla
4. Strawberry Kiwi Caprisun vs. Grape Caprisun
5. Left sock vs. Right sock
6. Sunrise vs. Sunset
7. Dogs vs. Cats
8. Paper vs. Plastic
9. Tap water vs. Bottled water
10. Running vs. Biking
11. iPhone vs. Android
12. How to pronounce ‘ornery’
Fake Random Facts
I set out with the intention of finding actual facts. Like this one that says there’s a colony of ants that spans three continents, and surprisingly, Antarctica isn’t one of them. But then I started doing some research and realized a lot of people don’t cite where their facts came from. I thought, man, a lot of people are making these outrageous claims and I have no idea whether or not they are true. Which gave me an idea. I, too, would make outrageous claims. Except they would be admittedly made up. The people you’re talking to on Thanksgiving don’t have to know that, though. See what you can get away with. (Outrageous-ness increases as the numbers do.)
1. Light bulbs have been known to cause confusion.
2. Excessive pillow use can lead to a loss of hearing.
3. Water cooler talk has been proven to increase productivity at work.
4. Left handed people are more likely to write in cursive than right handed people.
5. Dogs are 85% more likely to pee on a red fire hydrant than a yellow one
6. ChapStick enhances the taste of Greek food.
7. In 2015, there were more rollerblading accidents on sidewalks than there were car accidents on the road.
8. Shoelaces were created by Native Americans as a practical joke.
9. In the movie Anchorman, the line, “I love lamp,” by Brick Tamland, was actually stolen from the original manuscript of Romeo and Juliet.
10. In 1963, a man named Edward Goddfellow ventured into the woods with nothing but a knife. He returned to town hours later with that same knife.
Laffy Taffy Jokes
I found these Laffy Taffy jokes at a gas station in Morton, Illinois, a town I do not live in. I stood in the candy aisle for what must have been 15 minutes, writing down the jokes I determined to be the best. It wasn’t weird.
Q. Why don’t crows ever get hit by cars?
A. Because another crow hollers, “Caw, caw!”
Q. Why couldn’t the skeleton share the bad news?
A. He didn’t have the heart.
Q. What do you get when you cross a monkey with a pie?
A. A meringue-atang.
Q. Why do campers walk quietly at night?
A. So they don’t wake their sleeping bags.
Q. Where would you learn how to make ice cream?
A. At sundae school.
Q. What do a referee and the Seven Dwarfs have in common?
A. They like to whistle while they work.
Q. What do you call a bear with no teeth?
A. A gummy bear.
Q. If April Showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?
If all that fails to stimulate a worthy conversation, try blurting out something about the recent election or politics in general. That should spice things up. Not to mention Uncle Mick might throw the turkey through a window.