How to Hold a Normal Conversation

Thomas should be the one writing this post–not me. I’m not particularly great with social interactions, which is strange because I’m the president of my student council and yada, yada, yada. I’m not the only one in the ninja gang that has this problem, either. I’m not going to name names, but there have been many a time the ninja gang has mused among themselves: “What do normal people talk about?” What do ordinary people talk about that doesn’t revolve around literature or a specific fandom?

I’ve found that it varies from person to person. For example, when my mother wants a conversation starter, she immediately talks about health issues–that is, all the things that are ailing everyone she knows. It seems to work rather well. Everyone she talks to about these health issues seems fascinated by broken bones, allergic reactions, surgeries, gluten intolerance, radiation treatment, and heart attacks. If you’re under the age of thirty-five, however, this tactic is likely not going to work for you. So lets move on to a few more realistic ways to start conversations.

1) “Did you do your homework?” and variations of such. This category covers anything school related, from “Isn’t that teacher a bore?” to “Gak! I can’t find Somalia on the map!” Of course, this will only work if the person you’re striking a conversation with goes to the same school you do. Thus, it is somewhat limited. I’d advise you to use it sparingly, because it can be a real downer and a bore, and it only goes so far, unless the assignment you’re talking about is really interesting. Cough.

2) An ordinary common interest. If you don’t know much about the person you’re talking to, you can start with something that a lot of people have in common. Like dogs. Who doesn’t love dogs? Ask if he/she has any pets. Or ask if they ski. Common sports can be a great topic of conversation. It’s easy to go off on tangents from these.

3) Childhood. Talk about things you did as a kid. If the person is your age, likelihood is they played similar games and did similar activities. Talk about how times have changed since then. This usually only works if you’ve already been talking for a while, though, because it’s an awkward conversation starter. It works better as something to keep the conversation going when it’s dying.

4) Jokes. Nothing breaks an awkward silence like laughter. Of course, if you tell the joke and nobody laughs, then things only get worse, so you have to be careful with this one. Don’t tell a lame joke. This is harder than it seems, because when you’re racking your brain for something to say, the first joke that pops into your head is often a lousy one. Also note that inside jokes don’t work here. If you have to explain too much to make your audience understand, then it usually falls flat. Go with things that most people would get. Blonde jokes are good. Other stereotype jokes are also good. Puns are usually bad. Knock-knock jokes are always awful. Never tell a kn0ck-knock joke as a conversation-starter.

5) Observe your surroundings. Is there something interesting to point out? “Ooh, look at that, um, bicycle over there! Doesn’t it have nice, um, tires?” If there is nothing interesting to comment on, move on to another tactic.

6) Observe your surroundings in a different way. Where are you? If you’re at a dance social, you could always ask something along the lines of, “So where did you learn to dance?” This can sound rude, however, so it’s better to word it like, “So have you ever been to one of these things before?” or “How long have you been dancing?” If you’re at a college visit or something of the sort, ask about other colleges the person is interested in, and other college-y stuff. If you’re at an airport, ask where the person is going, coming from, if they’re visiting family or on vacation. If you’re at a cosplay convention, you already know that the person you’re talking to has similar interests. Ask about their favorite anime, how long they’ve been cosplaying, what conventions they’ve been to, etc. But whatever you do, do not ask what their OTP is. Likelihood is that you will be stuck there for an hour listening to babble that you never wanted to hear. You may be scarred for life.

And those are Raven’s thoughts on conversation starters. I use these techniques all the time. By the way, I take no liability for anything that goes wrong following these steps. If you mess it up, it’s your own darn fault.

Mustard Eating (Part two)

Here continueth the epic adventure of The Ultra Awesome Mega Super Sparkling Shiny INTER-GALACTIC Radical Stupendous chocolate-dipped Geek Tournament of Olympic Proportions. I recommend you read events one, two, three , four, five, and part one of Mustard Eating (in that exact order) before reading this one. The Ninja Gang strongly supports chronological order. Event one: Switzerland’s Future Mecha Blaster (neutrality included) Event two:  Flashing Tulips Event three: The Performance of Doom Event four: LEROY JENKINS!!! Event five: So you think you’re an otaku…These can be found in the  Geek Tournament category for your perusing pleasure.

This is what mustard looks like, folks

Three people sat around a table, smoking cigarettes and glaring at each other intently. Of course, the cigarettes were just rolled up paper, and there was no smoke, but it was atmospheric. The dares had gone round and round the circle, like a merry-go-round, but none of them–not Hugo, nor Zepher, nor Quiche-kun–were willing to quit. Thus, we declared that each round after this, if someone didn’t quit, we would default to an tie-breaker. So the dares had to be more severe.

Who was the next one out? DUn, duN, DUN dun!!

It was. . .

Hugo.

Yup. The dare? French kiss Quijote, the rat terrier, who had spent most of that evening licking his unmentionables. Hugo, for once concerned for his own bodily health, politely declined.

Some of the other dares performed in pursuit of eternal fame and glory?

Quiche-kun went outside and walked around barefoot in the snow for a minute.

Zepher told Quiche-kun he was sexy and slapped his rear end. This might not seem like that big of a deal to you ordinary people, but Zepeher does not do this kind of thing on a regular basis.

Now we move on to the final round. Please play the following video while you read the rest of this post, as it will increase the dramatic tension and create an exciting atmosphere

WARNING:

Read at your own risk. If you read past this point, the Ninja Gang takes no responsibility for any mental scarring or anything of that sort. Note that the things done definitely qualify as GROSS and. . . well, we really don’t know what we were thinking now that we’re sane again. It’s very hard to fight the atmosphere.

THE LAST ROUND

So there we sat–little pieces of paper littered the entire living room. There were various things like jackets, Munchin cards, dice, and NERF guns scattered around the room. It was one o’clock in the morning. We stared at each other intently.  Who would win the Truth or Dare marathon?

It was decided that the two contestants would have no say in the final dares. And thus, Miss Demeanor, Hugo, and Raven rose from their places on the ground or draped over chairs, and walked into the Other Room.

“What should we make them do?” asked Hugo.

“I’m sick of the gross stuff,” Miss Demeanor said. “Let’s have them do something awkward, instead.”

“Awkward stuff won’t make either of them quit,” Raven pointed out. “It has to be really, really gross if you want them to quit.”

“Oh, oh, we could–” began Miss Demeanor.

“We can hear you, you know!” Zepher shouted from the living room.

“Shhh!”

“Alright, let’s go in here,” Hugo said, leading his friends into the kitchen, which provided absolutely no more sound barrier than whence they’d just come.

“How about one of them can eat–” Miss Demeanor began, again. Raven thrust her hand out.

“Stop! No more! I can’t take it. I shall have no part in this. ” And with that, she left, and waited in the room with Zepher and Quiche-kun for the sentence. However, since I, the narrator, am Raven, I can’t tell you the words exchanged between Hugo and Miss Demeanor during those dreadful, waiting minutes. I can only tell you that the two of them entered the living room giggling and snickering like they believed they had something brilliant. Whether that is true is completely up to the way you view brilliance. If you revel in the gross, the boorish, the rank, the crude, unsophisticated, voluptuous things of life, then they were brilliant indeed.

Each of the young imps took a piece of paper, and on it, wrote a dare.

Like Light Yagami in the Death Note

They slid the slips of paper into the middle of the coffee table. Zepher and Quiche-kun, sitting on the couch, reached for the same piece at once. They battled for it, like two high school boys over the last seat in a game of musical chairs, and Quiche-kun won.

But he probably wishes that he didn’t.

They opened their dares.

Zepher read aloud. “Stick your finger in your opponent’s ear, and smear the earwax on their face.”

“And yours, Quiche-kun?” Hugo prompted.

Quiche-kun answered, “Pick a booger out of your opponent’s nose and eat it.”

I, Raven, being probably the second-most-squeemish member of the Ninja Gang, did not watch past this point. Just know that both of them were so determined to win at this point that they did, in fact, complete said dares. Since they actually engaged in such disgusting behavior, everyone ran out of ideas to make them quit.

And so, in the end, it came down to a staring contest.

Zepher won. But she gave the win to Quiche-kun, because anyone actually watching this particular tournament event could tell that he was, by far, the most determined of the group to win at Truth or Dare.

And the final standings: (because just telling you right out would be boring, I’m going to give you some cryptic pictures, and you’ll have to figure out which of us they represent)

5th place:

4th place:

3rd place:

2nd place:

1st place:

Oh, clever little things, you figured it out, did you? Well, if you think you did, post in the comments and I’ll tell you if you’re right.