"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Monday, 18 April 2016

Off-Topic

Part O of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

This is a re-posted blog from 18th May 2015. 

There's a certain type of conversation that I love having. It's my favourite type of conversation in the world, and if I have it with you, chances are I really like you and will be friends with you forever. I want to give this type of conversation a name, but I don't even know how to define it, let alone name it. So the best I can do is give you examples of the type of thing I mean and see if you can think of a name for me.

At this time last week, I sent my friends The Buttercup Gang a message on Facebook. It said
'Hey guys, can we agree now that if we ever get attacked by a predator, it's every man and woman for themselves?'
After some confusion as to how a thought like that could possibly occur to me, Mitchell offered an alternative.
'I feel like if you and I team up we could probably take it down.'
'No way,' I replied. 'I appreciate it, but there's no way you and I will stand a chance against a fully-grown lion.'
'Oh, you meant A predator! I thought you meant THE Predator!'
'That wouldn't really change anything. We still wouldn't stand a chance.'
Jason weighed in. 'What's the context? Where would we be that we could be attacked by a lion?'
'Well the only two realistic scenarios are that we're either on safari or at the zoo. If it's at the zoo, it would probably be captured before it could do any real damage.'
'Nothing about this is realistic,' quipped Jerida. 'Just saying.'
'I'm serious! If we were held hostage or something and the perp wanted to shoot one of us, I'd try as hard as possible to make sure it's me who takes it. But the thought of getting ripped open by an angry tiger scares me too much. I wouldn't try to save anyone, I'd just run.'
'Wouldn't it be easier to just hide and then come up with a plan to take it down?' said Jason.
'I wouldn't even want to try and take it down. I'd just want to get out of there,' I replied.

I also had this conversation with Mitchell after going to the bathroom at a restaurant:
'You know, with all this crazy new technology we've invented, wouldn't you think by now we'd come up with something to replace the urinal?'
'What's wrong with urinals?' he asked.
'I'm picturing it's the year 2200 and we're showing someone around who's from the past. It's like "Here's our cancer curing machine. It uses lasers to pinpoint the cancer and then cut it out. This is a device we can use to see into the future. And this... This is our pissing wall."'
'It's probably perfected technology,' Mitchell laughed. 'What would you have instead of urinals?'
'I don't know, that's the point. We haven't come up with anything.'
'Maybe something that extracts the urine from you and you don't even have to remove your pants.'
'I think that's just a catheter.'

I heard comedian Wil Anderson describe how he and his friends were trying to drive back to LA from Las Vegas and a snowstorm had slowed the traffic down to a standstill. They'd all had a long weekend and were sitting exhausted, frustrated and silent in the car. Then, without warning, fellow comedian Justin Hamilton spoke up.
'Okay, you have to think seriously about this and give an honest answer. You have to kill one of our friends. Who is it and why?'
That sparked up a very heated and challenging conversation that lasted all the way back to LA. When I told a couple of friends about it, they got very intrigued and wanted to have the same discussion.

Jerida and I were once driving along and we started trying to invent a new sense. It was harder than we thought because everything we came up with seemed to be just an off-shoot of feeling or seeing.

As a gang, we've discussed the idea of who from the group we'd want to be our parents.

I heard a story of a girl who would introduce herself to new people at work by asking "What's your favourite type of sneeze?

I've had a long discussion with people at my radio station over what is indeed the best type of sauce.

Am I getting the point across? It's those kind of weird, off-topic conversations that are either unimportant or wonderfully abstract. They explore areas of ourselves and the world that are typically untouched by day-to-day events. Seinfeld was a show that was really good at that kind of thing, with its talk of effective shirt buttons and the importance of wash-cycles. What would you call those conversations? How else would you define them? Do you like having them? What are some you've had in the past? It would be great to hear some so I could have those conversations with my own friends ;)

51 comments:

  1. Those sound like fun conversations! I love what-if discussions and such. I wish more people would engage in them. I only know a few people I could have conversations like that with.

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    1. Yeah I think you usually need to have a certain level of comfort with someone to be able to do it.

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  2. Weird rules. All other experiences are a distant second. If you can get more weird conversations going in your life, you'll have a more interesting life!

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    1. It expands your imagination and yeah I do think it makes you more interesting.

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  3. My son and I have conversations like that. Basically completely illogical, random, but amusing banter.

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  4. ha, the best! And how you know you're really comfortable with someone. It's fun to let the mind go with all sorts of scenarios.

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    1. Yes! Starting to have those conversations is like taking the next step in the relationship ;)

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  5. OMG I'm SO into weird conversations like that. My husband will give me strange looks when I say morbid things...but I think it's fun!

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    1. It's SO fun, hopefully he's gotten used to it ;)

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  6. I get into some of those weird conversations with my band mates. Which sometimes is really odd as we are a Christian band and the topics veer way off...

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    1. Hey, Christians can talk about weird stuff too ;)

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    2. What's the name of your band, Alex?

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  7. Those are some of the best conversations to have! I borrowed a card game with totally random topics like this from my in-laws for a long car trip with my husband. Certainly made the ride interesting, but you have to be able to take the good answers with the bad without getting pissed off at the one answering the question. Otherwise, it can turn pretty ugly pretty quickly.

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    1. Ah yes totally true. Like you couldn't tell any of your friends "If I had to kill someone from our group, it would be you" :P

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    2. No, I'd totally tell my friends who I'd kill out of all of them, but if I had to tell one of them who smelled the worst or who was the ugliest, I just couldn't because feelings would definitely get hurt and relationships frayed lol.

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  8. YES! I love these conversations. I call them "hyper hypotheticals" but that's not necessarily the best option. I'm friends with my friends because they bring up conversations with confidence like, "The hippo is the most ferocious animal, not the deadliest or strongest, the most ferocious." Or, "is there anything more abstractly funny than a little person descending the stairs projectile vomiting on a dancing monkey wearing a vest and fez?"

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    1. Well hyper hypotheticals is the best name we've got so far, so I'm going with it for now :) And the answer is no, nothing is more abstractly funny than that.

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  9. Haha.. yes! I have these sort of conversations, too! It's reserved for the people I really like or sometimes, if I'm feeling generous, a random person. Sometimes I'll just start out with a random question. Anyway, yeah I know what ya mean!

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    1. It can be a good way of testing the waters when you're just getting to know someone.

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  10. Meaningless conversations are the most meaningful ones to have, because life makes no sense, nor does human nature, so let's discuss it. One of my favorite snippets is when Seinfeld reserves a rental car. They don't have the one he reserved (they never do), but they insist on an "upgrade" which costs more (this always happens). He asks what the purpose of the reservation is...It's all good stuff. But your favorite sneeze? I'm wondering what the categories are. That's a good one. I feel one coming on right now.

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    1. Yes I remember that scene, he always has such good points. I think there's big forceful ones, small puffs of air and disgusting snotty ones.

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  11. From the top of your blog (which you should know because...it's your blog)....
    "An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser"
    It's PRECISELY because of posts like the above that convince me I'm really on to something.
    G'day.

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    1. What can I say, you're a good judge of character ;)

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  12. MICHAEL ~

    Which is the best of all the most underrated movies?

    What do you think is the most uncommon common name for dogs?

    Sure, but what's on the third side of the coin?

    To find out how quick someone is on their feet (so to speak), start a conversation somewhere in the middle and see who can pick up the thread and run somewhere with it. I have been doing this for decades just to see who can hang and who can't, who has a good imagination and who doesn't.

    I spoke very specifically about this in the blog bit (Link:->) HERE.

    I dig that you do this sort o' thang, too, MICHAEL.

    Now, having said all that... Where were you when the lights went out? (Remember I axed you that Q a wee bit back? I said that "in the dark" would be the most expected answer. But there are so many other places an answer to that Q could take people with imagination.)

    ~ Stephen
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. That's a great idea, I'm definitely trying that. I think The Quick and the Dead is a fantastic movie despite its low budget and terrible effects.

      Fido. Definitely Fido.

      I assume you refer to the actual SIDE, the bit that doesn't have heads or tails on it. The side that's very hard to stand upright.

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  13. Years ago when I was stalked by the invisible platypus, my friends would often hide me in their dorm rooms. In fact if it hadn't been for my friends, I'd have never known I was being stalked. Of course the platypus wasn't nearly as dangerous as the invisible antelope that stalked my cousin, Charlene. That was one vicious animal.

    Wait, what was the question? What to call these conversations? Hoodwinked, I suppose.

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    1. Well now I don't need to ask what conversations you've had with your friends ;)

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  14. Well, these are the perfect conversations to have when you're sheltering from a torrential rain storm or watching a game of cricket. BTW, never run away from a lion, it will instinctively chase you down. You've got to stand tall and face it squarely. If you're with friends, riding piggyback would be a good way to increase height. What you should debate is who would be on foot and who would be the jockeys.

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    1. Oh right I completely forgot that :P I should have realised the gorilla would know :P

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  15. Maybe because you are a comedian you have those types of conversations. I would call them "comic"... but maybe that belittles the fact that deeper issues can be discussed. Or maybe people have bigger brains in Australia. If I tried to have a conversation like that with someone here in America, they would just look at me like I was insane. I use to have conversations like that with one friend, but one day it's like he completely lost his sense of humor, and started looking at me like I was insane as well. Or maybe I am insane, but I don't think so.

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    1. You're probably insane, but in the best possible way ;)

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  16. Name suggestions: 'pointless ponderings', 'devil's advocacy', 'absurd abstractions' :)

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    1. Maybe pointless ponderings would work :)

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  17. I think these conversations come under the heading of 'Random Hypotheticals'. They are always fun, and often illuminating. Sometimes I have rethought how I felt about someone after listening to their responses...

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    1. Hypotheticals is what you'd immediately think, but I'm not sure that encompasses convos like "What's you're favourite kind of sneeze" :P

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  18. Seinfeld did it perfectly. I have those conversations with my brother, 8 year old cousin(toned down a bit more in the morbid department lol) and a friend all the time. The Sense in Nonsense seems like a good thing to call them.

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    1. Yes, it's interesting having them with much younger people. My 10yo cousin joined in on a "Who's most likely to be Superman in a fight" convo and had some valid points to contribute.

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  19. I guess I would call those quirky conversations. I've had them a few times although not often recently. Those are the kinds of conversations we had with dorm roommates in college years ago.

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    1. Everything you've just said makes perfect sense ;)

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  20. Wacky conversations are the best. My kids are great at having them, but my husband is much more logical than we are. He gets annoyed with our craziness.

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    1. Nothing to get annoyed about, they're fun!

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  21. The Hurricane and I had conversations of that sort when she was younger. I don't know how to describe them. I think my favorites were when she wanted to be called by a different name. One day we went shopping, and she wanted to be Coco. She was probably 18 years old. I took advantage of every opportunity to call her Coco. When she tried on clothes, I lurked outside the dressing rooms, calling, Coco, where are you, Coco? She came up with other names at various times. Another day we sang everything we said. We sang about the toilet paper and everything else we needed at the grocery store. I tried to do the same thing the next day with Favorite Young Man. He told me to shut up. The Hurricane, a.k.a. Coco, and I come up with all sorts of things to discuss, such as, What is her cat thinking and how does he feel about the gift I sent him? He wrote a nice thank you note. Occasionally we talk about people we disliked intensely when she was young, and what we'd like to do to them now. We have vivid imaginations. Favorite Young Man and I often come up with situations we're in that we can relate to Seinfeld episodes. Everything in life can be related to an episode of Seinfeld. We also say to each other, Well, it could always be worse. We went to see Garrison Keillor, who said that Midwesterners always say, Well, it could always be worse. When we left the show, it was raining a bit. Favorite Young Man said it was too bad it was raining when we had to walk outside. Without even thinking, I said, Well, it could always be worse.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Those are all GREAT examples. You guys all seem to have a great relationship with each other :)

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    2. We did. I rarely see her now. I miss her so much. She lives in a faraway land.

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    3. Aw :( I wish I could help you, I don't know what that would be like :P

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  22. I have those conversations. But they're usually disgusting.

    Extract from one of those conversations:

    "Just fyi guys: if you're attracted to somebody and the conversation is going well don't bring up Kanye West and more importantly don't defend him when the woman you are interested in calls him a dick by detailing how culturally important he is.

    That's some really valuable advice guys. Screen shot that."

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    1. Well, I would argue that anyone who thinks less of you for pointing out his cultural importance should remove the stick from their backside. But that's beside the point, that's a perfect example of the conversation I mean.

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  23. Hey Michael,

    Repost or not, I still like this! In particular, I love this following mental journey "As a gang, we've discussed the idea of who from the group we'd want to be our parents." What a tremendously wide door of mental gyrations that opens...

    I hope to be back and read more.

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    1. I especially liked it because they all she'd I would be the best Dad ;)

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