A United Nations report warns that Social Climate Change is drying up reservoirs of small talk faster than they can be refilled. This drought of amiable conversation has forced some chit-chat-challenged countries to opt out of small talk altogether, leaving their muzzled citizenry speechless. As more nations begin pulling the plug on small talk, it has created an unsustainable social climate of too many tight-lipped wallflowers clamming-up at too few social events. Anthropologists have named this dreary and dangerous planetary condition Global Boring. What was once an easy and friendly, “Hey, what’s up? How you doin’?” has morphed into a pained and stilted “Your separateness disturbs me. Please leave.”
A worldwide drought of basic chit-chat has landed small talk on the endangered speechies list. It’s sad to think homo sapiens have devolved from erect and engaging conversationalists into slack-jawed text monkeys. If the current rate of stilted conversation continues, social scientists predict small talk will be extinct by 2050 and will be replaced by a few symbolic emojis expressing everything from “Excuse me good sir, may I use your chamber pot” to “Y’know a lint trap is just Banana Republic’s way of telling you it’s time to buy a new shirt.”
The only place small talk remains unchanged is in the bedroom, where the immortal exclamation of “Oh my God, oh my God, Oh…My…God!” is still breathlessly expressed as “Oh my God, oh my God, Oh…My…God!” This time-honored pledge of allegiance to each other, is indivisible; with liberty and just-ass for all.
Small Talk Shortage? Not So Fast.
Global Boring deniers say that “icy periods of diminished small talk” are normal and cyclical, and that we shouldn’t “get our panties in a bunch” just because a few elitist toastmasters are dismayed that their dinnertime introductions fell flat. They say there are better reasons for getting your panties in a bunch – many related to the “oh my God” pledge of allegiance mentioned above. But back to the original point, Global Boring deniers cite the fact that many species have been very successful without benefit of any vocal cords at all. And they’re right, to an extent. Geckos might be at the top of their biome’s food chain, but they don’t have Costco’s, drive-thru pharmacies or sleep-numbered mattresses.
Clearly, as small talk wanes, our most precious creature comforts are threatened and I, for one, do not want to live in a world without heated steering wheels. Ask yourself, would life be worth living without flush toilets? You’ve been to outdoor events where rows of porta-potties are lined up like prisoners waiting to be executed. We should be doing all we can to retrieve and nurture what little small talk we have left in order to secure the blessings of modern plumbing. May we never have to present an emoji saying, “Excuse me good sir, may I use your chamber pot.”
Tongue-tied and Not Loving It
Falling emissions of small talk have lowered billions of people’s “carbon mouth print” down to a few muffled grunts. Sadly it has also precipitated a flood of social awkwardness among our most vulnerable population – teenagers out on a first date. Their already wince-worthy attempts at courting each other have, in the absence of small talk, devolved into a cringe-worthy event of asinine proportions. These small talk-depleted dates among teenagers often play out in gawky exchanges like this:
After 5 minutes of sitting in silence at the Olive Garden, and after finishing their 4th breadstick
Chad: So Cindy told me you like breathing?
Kelsey: What! I can’t believe she told you that. It was supposed to be our secret.
Chad: Aha! So it’s true?
Kelsey: Alright. I admit it. At first it was just a little sniffing habit I thought I could control. Then it quickly became a gateway form of oxygenating. Now I’m pretty much addicted to breathing and find that I can’t live without it. Oh I’ve heard the whispers – “Look at Kelsey everybody. She’s doin’ air.” I’ve tried quitting till I’m blue in the face. Now I’m scared that quitting will be the death of me. I’m not that big into exhaling, but I find inhaling is kind of inspirational.
Chad: Yeah inhaling is…uh, kinda inspirational. I mean respirational. I mean…
Kelsey: You’re kinda perspirational right now Chad.
Chad: No sweat. I mean there is sweat, but ah… Anyway Kelsey, I think your bone structure is just terrific. I can only imagine how pretty you’d look without all your skin and muscles on.
Kelsey: Awww. You’re sweet Chad. Pass the breadsticks.
The poor kids. Not only did Chad not get to first base that night, he never made it out of the batter’s box.
Due to Global Boring, Utter Silence is the New Quiet
As dwindling levels of small talk threaten to further fray social cohesion, critical global challenges like the arms race, economic inequality and environmental concerns have been superseded by the new power grab: Icebreaker Hoarding. Nations rich and poor are desperate to collect and protect vital stores of strategic icebreakers in order instigate small talk and control the flow of all planetary discussions. In time icebreaker-rich nations will jockey for position to see who can produce and sustain the most casual of conversations. Someday perhaps Disney will happily pay Guatemala a king’s ransom for one decent quip if it’ll mean the difference between “go” or “no go” in greenlighting Frozen 3.
These Next Three Paragraphs are Difficult to Process, But in a Good Icebreaking Way
A complicated semantic event of supreme irony occurred recently at a UN Climate Summit dealing with the hazards of melting polar ice caps. The meeting got off to a slow start because, due to Global Boring, the social climate has grown chillingly inhospitable. As the participants groped for pleasantries to share or even the skimpiest of small talk to exchange, it was determined the expeditious thing to do was to cancel the dull event altogether due to a lack of icebreakers.
Let me break down these two kinds of icebreakers referred to above. Firstly, a climatic condition (Global Warming) exists where floating icebreakers are no longer needed to smash receding polar ice caps and yet an event was cancelled because indispensable social icebreakers were unavailable to spark necessary conversation due to Global Boring. It is now estimated there are more icebreakers sailing on the oceans, breaking up ice jams, than there are icebreakers resident in small talk reservoirs, breaking up stare-fests. I told you. These paragraphs are semantically complicated, supremely ironic and denser than a NY cheesecake.
No one at the UN Climate Summit could conjure any conversation in the absence of user-friendly icebreakers – icebreakers that were once easily summoned from deep reservoirs of small talk replenished handsomely by a once torrential flow of worthy discussions cascading over conversation watersheds to eventually percolate into chatty aquifers and booming echo chambers that have long since evaporated into unnecessarily long, run-on sentences that I wouldn’t have to write if only I could rely on small talk to get my point across.
Coping with Small Talk Depletion: Americans React
As Global Boring’s icy grip penetrates into the heart of small talk everywhere, it has had a chilling effect on societal communication. For example, instead of registering at Crate and Barrel, tongue-tied brides and grooms aren’t registering anywhere and desperately asking for “the gift of gab.” NRA members who used to be content target shooting, now prefer to just “shoot the sh*t.” And in a bizarre twist, a majority of Jenny Craig members say they would rather “chew the fat” than lose weight. Any way you talk about it Global Boring is destroying the semantic landscape.
Doing My Part
As taciturnity has metastasized worldwide, I’ve decided to alleviate this global hush by offering relief. As a public service, and in an effort to prevent icebreaker hoarding and general pandemonium, I’ve compiled a partial list of the few remaining icebreakers in captivity and floating in the dwindling small talk oases still in existence. These are icebreakers everyone can use and are all that are left of the once ubiquitous icebreakers because, just like Pandas, icebreakers don’t breed in captivity. Enjoy and employ these rare surviving opening lines. Use them liberally as a social lubricant to propitiate small talk and perpetuate our species. My gift to you:
- I’m guessing you had asparagus recently.
- Would you say your dryer’s lint trap screen is too finely meshed or not finely meshed enough? (I know. 2nd lint trap reference. I keep track of these things too.)
- Y’know, you have a face only a prostitute could love.
- Got Chat? (This icebreaker only elicits conversation with people employed by the Milk Advisory Board)
- Did you know men’s penmanship is better than women’s – in the snow?
- Don’t tell anyone, but Porter Wagoner was the first person to circumnavigate Dolly Parton’s globes?
- Life was better when there was just one kind of light bulb. Am I right?
- I’ve heard that when dwarfs make small talk, it’s just called “talk.”
- Hey, what’s your garbage night? Mine’s Sunday.
- You’d never guess it, but I heard Mr. Rogers was an absolute animal in the bedroom.
- Who can forget JFK’s soaring rhetoric when he said, “Within the next decade we propose to send a man to Jayne Mansfield and then return him safely to prison?”
- I can tell you how they get those Kleenexes to pop up, one after another?
- The only threesome I’ve ever participated in was at breakfast with Snap, Crackle and Pop (Then you hope the person you’re trying to initiate the conversation with says, “Well wouldn’t that be a foursome then?” And now you’re on your way.).
- I hear People Magazine voted Ryan Reynolds the Sexiest Man Alive and Paul Newman the Sexiest Man Deceased.
- No, you start.
Global Boring: A Very Sleepy Wake Up Call
A healthy society requires the robust practice of Socialism – the non-political kind of socialism where citizens engage heartily in passionate discussions on a variety of topics. And to perpetuate this societally nourishing exchange, responsible nations are combating Global Boring with treatment plans for their small talk-depleted citizens. For example, in talkative nations like Italy and Israel, afflicted residents showing signs of Early Onset Small Talk Depletion are sent to remedial Small Talk Habitats where they can engage heartily in passionate stare-fests until they’ve made their point. Sometimes the Italians can convey their point with one of their many hand gestures, while the Israelis’ are able to express a multitude of ideas with just a simple “Oy vey!”
While rehabbing at Small Talk Habitats, many hope for an opening at a more effective re-chatification habitat called a Chit-Chat Camp. These government sponsored camps are a place where the small talk-impaired are sent to regain the chatty muscle memory they’ve lost from Global Boring. One technique involves having the chit-chat challenged person sleep next to a babbling brook in hopes that the aimless chatter of the flowing water osmotically transfers to the socially stunted camper so their once stunted conversation flows (or at least babbles) with greater fluidity.
It makes no difference whether you’re a Global Boring denier or a Global Boring realist. Everyone agrees we cannot afford to let small talk perish from the face of the Earth – especially the mouth part of that face. The last planet where small talk evaporated was Mars, and look how prosperous they are. We vocal cord blessed creatures must think big when it comes to small talk – very big. We must insure that small talk not only survives, but thrives. Our continuation as a species depends on it. And so we concerned citizens do highly resolve that this important social lubricant of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the mouth of the face of the Earth. And that Global Boring is eliminated from all social structures and takes its place back where it belongs – helping petroleum companies puncture the earth while they search for oil.