The Weather. “Golly gee, it’s COLD outside!” Yes, it is. “Don’t you think it’s COLD outside?” Yes, I do. “When you were outside just now, didn’t you find it COLD?” Yes, I did. “When you go outside later, I bet it will still be COLD!” Probably. “Why is it so COLD out?” Because it’s December, you stupid, boring asshole. Unless it’s 30 Celsius in February, a hurricane hits downtown Ottawa, or it snows blood, weather is boring. It’s also not something only the conversation-starter is aware of. I know it’s raining/hot/cold/snowing/windy/ninja-toads are falling from the sky because I, like you, CAN FUCKING SEE/FEEL IT.
What Day of the Week it Might Be. “Wow! It’s Friday!” It sure the fuck is! Guess how I knew that? Because I don’t pour lead paint on my Honey Nut Tard-ios every morning! If you go to bed on a Monday and it is Friday when you wake up the next day because of some cosmic re-aligning of the bloody calendar, then -- AND ONLY THEN -- are you allowed to talk to me about what day of the week it is without me kicking you square in the nutsack.
Something Someone Said to You About Your Lawn. “My neighbour just can’t figure out how I keep my lawn in such good shape!” I’m going to guess it’s because you have a lot of spare lawn-tending time, what with all the not-getting-laid you’re doing. The only reason to try to start a conversation that way is to get the person you’re about to bore into a stroke to ask you about how awesome you are. Well, I won’t do it. I will stare blankly at you until you cry if I have to, but the only thing I’m going to ask you about your lawn is what the soil is like, as it pertains to digging graves.
Something I Just Told You I Already Know. “Did you hear about that woman who set that guy on fire yesterday?” Yes. “The one who doused him with vodka and threw firecrackers at him until he caught fire?” Yes. I read that. In the newspaper. “And then she pushed him into a bathtub to put the fire out?” Yep. Read that part. “And then she rolled him in salt and bees?” Oh, wait -- nope. That's a completely different story than the one I read about. Thanks. Drop dead.
I Just Saw Something With My Eyes, and Now I’m Going to Say What I Saw Out Loud With My Mouth. “You have a blue shirt on!” “Hey, that’s a dog!” “You are running at me with a knife screaming ‘SHUT UP!’” I eat at my desk at work. A co-worker who I will call Jackass McDoucheGargler sometimes walks up to my desk, stands there, and says “You’re eating a bagel/apple/fistful of glass.” Then he continues to stand there, trying to turn his ability to convey something he has seen into word-form into a long, drawn-out conversation. To my credit, I haven’t punched him in the throat yet.
We’re all guilty of small talk sometimes, out of boredom or nervousness or being too drunk to say anything to the guy at the bar beyond “you have pretty teeth.” But more often than not, small talk is used by people who cannot stand being silent. It is used by people whose own thoughts bore their brains SO MUCH that their bodies repel those thoughts out into the world. It is used by people who have so little going on in their own heads, they have to speak so their brains don’t flat-line, turning them into drooling morons who walk around licking things off the surface of parking lots.
I just read back over this, and it kinda makes me sound like a bitch. I’m OK with that.