No Small Talk, Episode 14: PENGUINS CAN’T FLY

The famed author, Chuck Klosterman, created intricate questions in an attempt to avoid “small talk.” Per his words: “Some people are extremely good at making small talk. These people are better known as ‘idiots’. “

Having all their conversations be nothing but small, Matthew Ryan and Stephanie Sottile thought it’d be fun to answer some of these questions:

While traveling on business, your spouse (whom you love) is involved in a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean. It is assumed that everyone on board has died. But then the unbelievable happened: It turns out that your spouse has survived. He/She manage to swim to a desert island, where he/she lived in relative comfort with one other survivor (they miraculously located most of the aircraft’s supplies on the beach, and the island itself was filled with ample food sources).

The two survivors return home via helicopter, greeted by the public as media sensations. During a press conference, you cannot help but notice the other survivor physically embodies the type of person to whom you mate is normally attracted. Moreover, the intensity of the event has clearly galvanized a relationship between the two crash victims. They spend most of the interview explaining how they could not have survived without the other person’s presence. They explain how they passed the time by telling anecdotes from their respective lives, and both admit to having virtually given up the possibility for rescue. At the end of the press conference, the two survivors share a tearful good-bye hug. It’s extremely emotional. After the press conference, you are finally reunited with your spouse. He/She embraces you warmly and kisses you deeply.

How long do you wait before asking if he/she was ever unfaithful to you on this island? Do you ever ask? And if your mate’s answer is “yes,” would that (under these specific circumstances) be acceptable?

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No Small Talk, Episode 8, “Pirate Baby Boxing Match”

The famed author, Chuck Klosterman, created intricate questions in an attempt to avoid “small talk.” Per his words: “Some people are extremely good at making small talk. These people are better known as ‘idiots’. “

Having all their conversations be nothing but small, Matthew Ryan and Stephanie Sottile thought it’d be fun to answer some of these questions:

  1. 1. You are placed in the unenviable position of having to compete for the right to stay alive. You will be matched against a person of your own gender in a series of five events: an 800-meter run, a game of Scrabble, a three-round boxing match, a debate over the legalization of late-term abortion (scored and officiated by reputable collegiate judges), and the math portion of the SAT.

In order to survive, you must win at least three of these events (your opponent will be playing for his or her life as well). However, you (kind of) get to pick your opponent: You can either (a) compete against a person selected at random, or (b) compete against someone who is exactly like you. If selected at random, the individual could be of any age or skill level- he/she might be an infant with Down Syndrome, but this person might also be an Academic All-American linebacker from Notre Dame. If you pick “the average human,” he/she will be precisely your age and will have an identical level of education. The person will be a perfect cross-section of your particular demographic- he/she will be of average height and of average weight, with a standard IQ and the most normative life experience imaginable.

So, whom do you select? Or- perhaps more accurately- do you feel that you are better than an average version of yourself?

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Download the MP3: here