Relating to strangers should be simpler than we make it. You should be able to go up to a stranger and say, “I sure do like to eat and fuck!” And they would reply, “Me too! What do you like to eat, and who do you like to fuck?” Conversation would ensue. It’s like Auntie Yasumura used to always say, “A stranger is just a friend with whom you haven’t yet discussed eating and fucking” (Auntie Yasumura died the way she lived, from type II diabetes and syphilis…and also a knife fight, cuz she had a mouth on her).
However, it’s not that simple. Though we are social creatures, we also have an innate distrust of strangers. Anthropologists tell us this comes from our ape ancestors, who thrive in clans, but will also fight outsiders. Of course, this is left-wing nonsense. We are this way because Jesus wants us this way. Jesus also wants us to handle snakes and speak in tongues and kill homos. No one knows why Jesus wants these things, but it just makes sense. Still, in case the scientists are right, you might want to emit a musk that tells people, “I’m not a threat, but I am strong.”
As the human populations have grown (six billion at last count, because Jesus also wants the rapture will be well attended), points of common human experience have splintered and fragmented. It used to be, you could go up to a guy and say, “Man, I got the cholera real bad – you got cholera?” Even in the modern age we had more points of common overlap. “Hey did you happen to catch Johnny Carson last night?” “Well, since there are only three channels, and there literally was nothing else on TV – yeah, I caught Carson last night. What else was I going to do? Talk to my wife? I don’t think so.” However, the explosion of new media has taken us all deep into our own subcultures. That stranger at the bank? He might really be into LARPing (live action role playing – yeah, it’s a real thing, because Renaisance Fairs weren’t faggy enough).
Truly, we are left with only a few safe points of discussion upon first interaction:
• The weather. We all experience the weather. Even shut-ins are interested in the weather, if only to say, “I miss the feel of sun on my face – but not so much that it outweighs my fear of everything.” People can’t have an opinion about the weather; it is what it is, so it’s a fairly safe topic of conversation. Still, be careful. If, for instance, someone says to you, “Can you believe how warm it is for February?”, what they might mean is: let’s talk about global warming. You don’t want to talk about global warming, because if you don’t talk about it, it isn’t real. Still, in general, weather is a pretty safe topic. In fact, if you really want to be socially adept – the guy who lights up any room – really bone-up on your weather trivia, and maybe even the science of meteorology. You’ll make life long friends wherever you go.
• Sports. “It’s a sad statement about our society that we’ll pay a single athlete the same amount of money it would take to fund a school for a year.” Hey, guess what Morticia? No one wants to hear that, so go back to your lesbo-cave and read your Susan Sontag, alright? Most people can, and will talk sports, if only for a little while. Don’t talk about sports for too long though, because the conversation inevitably ends with one person saying, “I like sports, because it allows me to feel something without actually examining my feelings…sigh.” Sports are a common point of reference for almost all societies throughout history. Though we may support different teams, the experience of the games is a universal point of affection. Unless, of course, you’re in Boston. If you say anything against the Redsox in Boston, they’ll fucking kill you, then eat your heart to steal your soul. Ask Martha Coakley.
• Celebrity Gossip: “Dear Britney Spears – Sorry you went crazy there for a while and shaved your head and showed everyone your snatch and all that. But thanks for giving us all something to talk about and judge for a little while. Otherwise we would have had to discuss Dad’s alcoholism. You took one for the team, you dumb hill-billy lunatic. Thanks again, sincerely, Everyone currently alive.”
Stay Strong America, and Await Further Instructions