Conversation Topics for the Small-Talk Hater

As god is our witness, we’ll never have awkward silence again.

If you’re reading this, chances are high that you semi-regularly spend inordinate amounts of time on the internet reading obscure histories and facts about topics that have little to do with your daily life. Rabbit holes! Wikipedia! Multiple hours of my life spent learning about John Rhys-Davies, and did you know that one of his earliest roles was as a gangster named “Laughing Spam Fritter”? Now you do!

two white bunnies, one sitting on the dirt, the other peeking out of a hole in the ground.
I’d follow them anywhere.

Let us use this time spent for good; we’ll be regularly sharing the most recent Google deep dives of some of our favorite people, that all of our small talking may be enhanced with new trivia.

Don’t eat fish heads or your baby will

be born with a mouth slightly more turned

up and pointed than normal.

Medieval Advice for Pregnant Women

I spent a lot of time last night on the Wikipedia entry for “Middle Ages.” I didn’t quite get what I was looking for, which was something more like excruciating detail about how women had 15 children by the age of 30 assuming they lived that long and had to sleep with their goats indoors and believed toothaches were caused by demons and had feudal lords to report to, etc. This led to a rabbit hole that was dominated by some variation on the Google search for “daily life in medieval Europe.”

Why? The short answer is because a friend sent me this tweet:

The longer answer is that nothing puts my problems in perspective like imagining having to learn how to use a scythe and using prayer to ward off pestilence.

Kelly Stout, articles director, Esquire

These windows are in slots, making it

nearly impossible to kick and break the

glass. Instead, focus your efforts on

the windshield.

How to Break a Windshield to Escape a Wreck

“How to break car windows,” including the windshield. I had a character trapped in a car and I was trying to figure if she had any way to escape. I don’t know how legit it is, but I ended up here.

Kel Coleman, speculative fiction writer and issue four contributor

The FICO score burst into public consciousness

in 1995 when Freddie Mac had lenders use credit

scoring for all new mortgage applications.

Credit Score in the United States

My wife and and I are looking into buying a cabin and it’s gotten me really weirdly curious about things I’ve never really asked about before. “Points” on a mortgage: What are those? Who decides how much they cost? That then got me into the history of credit scores and insurance broadly, which intersects with the birth of the western European coffee culture and the Industrial Revolution. Then I got into the whole question of how we define profit. Who decided it was a good thing? Can it be defended morally? But that’s less a rabbit hole and more a result of my fury at laboring under capitalism.

Simon Ouderkirk, senior product manager, Disney+

First time listening to Bat Out of Hell reaction videos.” RIP Meat Loaf.

If you love opera, you love Meat Loaf; it is my opinion but also a fact.

Ben Huberman, editor in chief, Toward Data Science

As for me, I like some pettiness with my candy and this is all it took to kick things off:

Go forth and chit-chat! You’ll be the belle of the happy hour ball.

– Michelle