Me and My Small Talker

It was Thursday evening, which meant the countdown had begun for a well mannered Saturday feast at which I’ll must make small discuss, an exercise I’m ill-equipped to have interaction in by each nature and nurture.

“What a coincidence–I discover it exhausting to speak to folks too.”


“I don’t know why you discover it so exhausting to speak about easy superficial topics,” my spouse says, laying into me with a string of sardonic sibiliants.  “Can’t you flip off the excessive seriousness once in a while and simply . . . you realize . . . relate to folks as folks.”

“I want I might,” I say, “however I drank too deeply on the bubbler of German philosophy in faculty.  Schopenhauer, Neitzsche.”

“No one desires to speak about them.”

“And I used to be a morbid little chap to start with,” I add, recalling a childhood during which I used to be dragooned into taking part in a corpse for the Future Undertakers Membership in fifth grade.

“It’s attending to be an issue,” my spouse says.  “I depart you alone for a minute and after I come again with an asparagus stalk wrapped in philo dough everybody’s their watch.”

“Everybody’s  his or her watch,” I say, and she or he pounces on me like a cat on a chipmunk.

“See–you might be too able to trivial dialog.  It simply must be one thing that appeals to your extraordinarily slender vary of pursuits.”

“Effectively, I’m not going to alter in two days,” I mentioned, hoping that will put the matter to relaxation.

“Why don’t you get a small talker?” she says.

“Seems like a small countertop equipment.”

“No, it’s cellular, like a type of robots that vacuums.”

“And the way would that remedy my downside?”

“It could remedy the issue by taking it out of your fingers.  You’re incapable of human interplay, so get a machine.”

When she put it that manner, the proposition didn’t sound all that unhealthy.

“Would it not immediate me, or converse on my behalf?”

“I don’t know.  I assume they arrive with a wide range of accent packages.”

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“Howareya . . . howareya . . . howareya?”


I thought of it for a minute.  “I suppose if I might get somebody to chime in with prompts I might observe his lead.”

“Certain you may.”

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“However what if it’s like Bizarro Superman, and makes use of its small-talking super-powers for evil reasonably than good?”

“Speaking small discuss is a victimless crime.  Do it for me, would you?  So I gained’t be blamed to your lack of persona,” she mentioned as she turned on Gray’s Anatomy.

It was a ninety-minute double episode, so I needed to get to her earlier than she entered full body-heaving sob mode.  “The place within the hell am I going to discover a small-talker in forty-eight hours?”

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“We’d like a persona transplant, STAT!”


“Name the rental place down in Newton Decrease Falls–they’ve every part.”

“Hmm–you’re most likely proper.”

“I’m all the time proper.  Now go away so I don’t must hearken to you rolling your eyelids throughout my present.”

I began to right her, however any individual was already dying on TV, so I went into the den to lookup the quantity.  I known as it and a man on the different finish picked up.

“Tyler Rental, Mike talking.”

“Hello, uh, do you might have any small talkers accessible for this weekend?”

“Male or feminine?”


“We bought a man named Bob.”

“Is he any good?”

“Good?,” Mike mentioned with a tone of offended incredulity.  “We cost him by setting him in entrance of The Climate Channel when he’s within the store.”

“That’s the man I would like,” I mentioned.  “Can I reserve him?”

“I’ll want a serious bank card quantity.”

“You bought it,” I mentioned, and I had my pockets out of my pocket earlier than you may say “How’s the spouse, how’s the children, how ’bout these Patriots?”

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“How did I get dragged into this silly publish?”


Saturday afternoon discovered me pulling into the car parking zone, keen to fulfill my new wingman.  “Are you Mike?” I requested the man behind the counter.

“In dwelling shade,” he mentioned.

“I’m the man who known as in regards to the small talker.”

“Okay, let me test within the again.”

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He disappeared into the storage room and emerged with a remarkably life-like male determine, common top like me, receding hairline, horn-rimmed bifocals–the works.

“That is Bob,” he mentioned.  “2 hundred {dollars} for 2 nights.”

“However I solely want him for one.”

“That’s the minimal.”

“Hey, no downside, feels like enjoyable!” the small talker mentioned.  Apparently it’s a self-starting mannequin.

“I’m getting you for a celebration.  I don’t want any individual to make small discuss to my spouse after I’m residence.”

“That’s not what she says,” he replied, a lame line that he laughed too loudly at.  In order that’s what I used to be in for over the approaching two days.

“All proper–two nights it’s,” I mentioned to Mike.

“What’s for dinner Sunday?” the small talker requested.

“We haven’t determined.”

“No downside,” he mentioned.  “I like every part!” he boomed as he headed out to my automotive.

I signed the paperwork and we drove residence to see if Bob handed inspection.

“Honey, I’d such as you to fulfill Bob,” I mentioned.


“Good to fulfill you,” he mentioned in a voice that recalled the smarmy tone of Eddie Haskell complimenting June Cleaver on her fetching outfit.  “Your husband couldn’t cease speaking about you on the way in which over.”

“He has a exceptional capability for invention,” she mentioned defensively.  “I can guarantee you I didn’t eat our younger, they’re in faculty.”

“Ha ha ha,” Bob laughed politely in a well-modulated tone.  He had his patter down pat.

“I’ve to go prepare,” she mentioned to me.  “Are you able to put on one thing in addition to that god-awful Brooks Brothers pullover sweater-shirt with the cat hair throughout it?”

We had been off to a flying begin.

* * * * * *

As we made our manner up the walkway to the Waltons, Invoice and Stephanie, I couldn’t assist however really feel a way of foreboding.  “You possibly can’t simply discuss to all people–perceive?” I requested Bob.

“Why not?  I really like to speak–and other people love to speak to me!”

“Effectively, there will likely be some folks right here tonight who could also be much less able to open up in regards to the common secure matters than others.”

“Like who?”

“Effectively, the Darrows.  Their home has been available on the market for 2 years and not using a chunk.”

“Ouch–bummer.  Anyone else?”

“Jane and Andy Sandals are going by way of a tough patch.”

“What’s the matter?”

“He simply bought fired–can’t appear to carry a job.  So don’t ask him how work’s going.”

“All the pieces occurs for a cause!”

“Straightforward so that you can say–you occupy a crepuscular nether world the place nothing unhealthy ever occurs.”

“That’s not true in any respect.  At any time when I hear about any individual dying, I’m simply sooooo unhappy to listen to it–even when I didn’t know them!” he mentioned, making a protracted face with downturned lips and sappy-sad eyes like a basset hound.  He nearly appeared honest.

Our hostess opened the door and the spouse and I entered to air-kisses from our hostess.  “Stephanie, that is our pal Bob the Small Talker,” I mentioned.  “He’s staying with us for the weekend,”

“Good to fulfill you, Bob,” Stephanie says pleasantly.  “You didn’t convey your higher half?”

“No, she’s having a women evening out,” Bob mentioned.  “For some cause she’d reasonably be along with her associates than me!”

Ha-ha–self-deprecating humor.  How are you going to not love the man–if you happen to’re not gagging.  “Let me take your coats,” Stephanie mentioned as she pointed us in direction of the kitchen.

The kitchen had not too long ago been re-done at a value within the excessive five-figures, the place everybody congregates at these suburban shin-digs a lot to the dismay of the hostess.  I needed to get a beer, however the way in which was blocked by Jill and Todd Bishoff, two Harvard MBAs who put on their credentials like a coat of armor.

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“See these two over there?” I requested my Small Talker.

“Appear to be a pleasant couple.”

“We’ve to undergo them to get any alcohol.  Suppose you possibly can deal with it?”

“I’ll do my darndest.”

We headed into the slender corridor that separated the eating room from the kitchen, and the male half of the Dynamic Duo seized upon me like the long-lost pal that I wasn’t.  Once you’ve bought his & hers attitudes like theirs, it’s not simple to get folks to speak to you.

“Hey there!” Todd mentioned, and Jill moved in for the compulsory occasion kiss.

“People, I’d such as you to fulfill my pal Bob,” I mentioned, and there was glad-handing throughout.

“Say–is {that a} Harvard Enterprise Faculty tie you’re sporting there, Todd?” Bob requested, all wide-eyed surprise.

“Why sure it’s,” Todd mentioned in self-appreciation.  “Humorous you need to discover.  You recognize, these had been most likely the most effective two years of my life,” he started, and I checked my watch to set a time restrict on the quantity of verbiage I might enable myself to be filled with.  Life’s too brief to hearken to this form of homage to 1’s self for greater than 5 minutes.

“Now, are your youngsters going to observe in your footsteps?” Bob requested, hoping to flatter the Bishoffs with a crack about how intelligence is 80% inherited.

“Er, no,” Jill mentioned, immediately discovering one thing fascinating in her chardonnay glass.

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“Set ’em up–and maintain ’em coming!”


A glance crept over Todd’s face as if his bichon frise had simply died.  “It’s . . . not one thing that we’ve completely gotten over but.”

“I’m sorry,” Bob mentioned, sensing some private tragedy that had scarred the 2 overachievers for all times.  “Did you might have a baby die?”

“Worse than that,” Jill mentioned, a lump in her throat and her eyes tearing up.

“I’m . . . soooo sorry!” Bob mentioned.

“You couldn’t have identified,” Todd mentioned, comforting his spouse.  “Our little Lauren solely bought a 350 on her GMATs . . .”

“. . . and she or he’ll be attending–”

Right here the distaff half of the couple was too choked as much as proceed, so her husband completed her sentence.

“A state college!”

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