Vol. 1, Ep. 9 "Gospel" (2008)


What are you talking about? (Episode 9)

Five Most Common (Hated) Small Talk Topics
5. Pets. Detailed description of behaviors. Eating habits.
4. Traffic. Routes to work. Holiday travel. Traffic nightmares.
3. Shopping. Bargain hunting. Price Increases. New wardrobe.
2. Weather. Temperature changes. Predictions. Climate crisis.
1. Work. Self-important, mind-numbing and/or futile. *

* An informal survey actually found “Kids” at the top of that list, but Bob and Andy protested. While the talk may be trivial, your kids aren't. Understand that nobody cares as much about your kids as you do; nobody wants to hear about their daily triumphs or your sleepless struggle. But go ahead. Talk about your kids. Preservation of the species requires it. We'll tune you out appropriately.

Here's one way to deal with small talk: start thinking of all your conversations within the context of important, meaningful, profitable “bonding conversation.” The real meaning lies not in the discussion of the weather or the care and feeding of a pet.  The meaning and purpose of bonding conversation is to get a sense of the other person and to learn about that person's values, thoughts, and perspectives. Talk about things that matter to you.  Mention something that you just learned or read.  Bring up a word factoid, an amazing or amusing statistic. Start a dialogue.

Not buying it? Didn't think so.

Here's a better way: pick up a box of STOP TALKING cards. This brilliant little innovation from seteditions.com is a stylish and tasteful way to tell someone to shut the fuck up. They are standard business card size, elegantly lettered and perfect for extracting oneself from small talk, excruciating monologues or even potentially embarrassing revelations. Got a friend that says too much? Got a co-worker with foot-in-mouth disease? Hand them a STOP TALKING card before they ruin everything.

Finally, a footnote for those with low cultural currency: the expression “word is bond” is an informal way of punctuating a statement. It means that what you are saying is verifiably true; you do not have to put up money to prove it, you stand by your word. The term originates from the financial markets where, historically, traders would tell each other, "my word is bond", i.e. my word is good enough, you don't need it in writing.

This term also has roots in the lessons of the Nation Of Islam and 5% "Have you not learned that your word is bond? Yes, my word is bond and bond is life, I shall give my life, before my word shall fail." This source is credited for the widespread appropriation of the term by the hip-hop community.

 You might think I'm lyin' but man, you're wrong/ As I told you before, my word is bond ” –- Ice-T, (My Word Is Bond, 1989)
 Cause I'm frontin' in my ride, and my word is bond.” -- L.L. Cool J (The Boomin' System, 1990).
 That nigga Shamiek just got bust in his head two times, guy. Word is bond.” -- Wu Tang Clan (Interlude, 1993)