This pass weekend I was eating breakfast (Golden Corral) with my wife and a few friends. As we sat for hours, talked and stuff our faces with an ungodly amounts of food someone said, “Hey lets change the subject from politics.” He (my brother-in-law) continued; “all you (me) ever seem to talk about is politics, how about we change the subject?” My first inclination was to try and explain how most if not all aspects of our lives are effected and in some cases controlled by what occurs in local, state and national politics; what came out was, “ok, what shall we tall about beer?” In retrospect this was an unconscious and condescending shot at my truck driver, blue collar white working class brother-in-law. David, I apologize. Anyway, he replied, “how about the lotto?” So, for the next few minutes we explored the different combinations and the mechanics involved in winning the lotto. What one would collect; taxes deducted from winnings; and yes, the game (most of us play) of what we would do with the money: small talk. Me being me, I ask if the lotto might not be used as a social release valve to quell revolution? Before I could stop myself I went on to wonder (aloud) where the funds from the lotto ended up? It (the lotto) was sold in Michigan as a supplement for funding schools. At this point my brother-in-law reminded me that I had steered the conversation back to politics. At this point I panicked! I started to wonder if I was addicted to substantive conversation and “small talk” was beyond my capabilities. One of the many reasons the coliseum was built in Rome was to distract the citizens and consume their attention with the (gory) details of the games. This would leave politics to the ruling class. To day we have football, baseball, Hollywood, talk shows, reality shows…., and yes, small talk. The Japanese say that, “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down”. Physically, or Psychologically I do not wish to be hammered! Allow me to try again at “small talk”:

So, what do you think of this weather? (your  response in small talk insert here)

You know there could be a connection between the polar ice caps melting and the erratic  mood swings of mother nature?  (your response here: “you are hopeless!”)

What?

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