So You Want to Have a Conversation With Me…

Words are only part of a conversation.People are always asking me, “Charlie, why did you just punch me in the face and try to light me on fire?” It’s not because I’m schizophrenic – it’s the voices in my head that are schizophrenic. It’s because those people didn’t follow the essential etiquette in having a conversation with me.

To avoid that inevitable burning sensation that comes from me touching a lit match to your gasoline-soaked flesh, please follow these simple five steps. Doing so will ensure a healthier, happier, and combustion-free conversation.

So you want to have a conversation with me…

  1. Make sure you have bathed or showered within the last 24 hours. I’ve spent a good chunk of my life on the campus of one of the most liberal, hippie-populated universities in America. I don’t care if you think soap is bad for the dolphins. If you smell like a barn and come within five feet of me, I will defend myself.
  2. Pants are not optional. To be more accurate, pants are not optional for anyone who is not my wife. She can talk to me without any articles of clothing on at all if she so desires. With that one exception, pants are one of the greatest inventions of mankind. Wear them proudly. Pant-like clothing, such as shorts, skirts, and the like, are also acceptable. Don’t think you’re attractive enough to get away without wearing pants. Odds are that you are wrong. Even if you’re correct, I won’t willingly enter a conversation with even an attractive pantsless person. That will only lead to sexual harassment suits and my wife Sarah inevitably stabbing me to death later on.
  3. Don’t assume I share your politics. I don’t like Democrats, and I don’t like Republicans. I don’t think we should have invaded Iraq, but I also don’t think that taking away the right to bear arms solves anything. Like most real people, my beliefs do not fit into one political category. You’re free to disagree with me on any subject, but don’t assume that anyone who doesn’t share your viewpoint is an ignoramus who needs to be re-educated.
  4. Don’t assume I share your religion. Jesus is an exception here – I figure the guy got nailed to a piece of wood, so he gets the indulgence of discussing the hereafter. But if you haven’t been crucified and you can’t walk on water, I’m really not interested in having a discussion on religion with you. I realize perfectly well that I am likely bound for hell on account of being a godless homosexual-sympathetic blasphemous player of Dungeons & Dragons. I have made my peace with that, so please don’t shove pamphlets, bibles, or prayer beads in my face.
  5. Don’t drop the Nazi bomb. Unless we’re talking about something that specifically has to do with Nazis, they are not appropriate for the conversation. Too often people choose to throw out Hitler or Nazis or the Holocaust as comparison in an argument, and it is almost always overkill or irrelevant to the conversation. You wouldn’t use a shotgun to swat a fly, so don’t bring Nazis into a conversation about sports or action movies – unless those action movies involve someone killing Nazis, in which case we’re cool.

So there you have it. These five simple rules will allow you to have a conversation with me where I don’t try to burn you as a witch. Of course, there are no promises that said conversation will be sane, comfortable, or enjoyable. At the very least, though, we will both be wearing pants and having a Nazi-free chit chat.

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