Monday, October 09, 2006

Bringing Smallpox to the Americas

I have no opener. I used to love hanging out with my friend Jim because he could start a conversation with anyone.

Last night my friend Michael tried to assist me using an old trick I read about in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Teaching English the author would instruct his students not to write a general essay of a certain length and type, but,instead to concentration on one very detailed object such as a specific brick wall or a box of cheerios.

You'd be surprised how long you can talk about a box of cheerios, or Columbus Day.

We morphed this method to initiating conversations with strangers. Looking across the bar, Michael picked out a couple of girls playing pool alone at the side of the bar and muttered "Columbus Day". I then walked over and started a conversation using Columbus Day as my opener.

"Is one day really enough to celebrate Columbus bringing smallpox to the Americas?" Surprisingly, it worked. We left alone, but not until we had exhausted all topics colonial and even managed to get the bartender to invent and concoct a "Santa Maria" for our companions.

Columbus Day was a big hit, we even joined a wedding reception briefly after Michael approached the bride and asked her if she was wearing such a fancy dress to celebrate Columbus Day.

Of course we may have this all wrong as a more effective method was demonstrated for us later. Michael was flirting heavily with cute blond lass (ok, she was in his lap) when a guy across the bar started heaving glass ash trays at the two of them. Several shattered on the wall above their heads. The man which she later labeled a "friend" then approached closer, hit her in the arm with another glass ash tray and ten minutes later they went home arm-in-arm.

This method may have been copied from a childhood spent
reading Krazy Kat. In this illustration Ignatz the mouse hucks
a brick at Krazy Kat, who interprets it as an expression of love.
I'll let you know how it works. If aerial battery fails I guess you can always drag them home by their hair.

See you in prison.