No Small Talk, Episode 18, “The Meatbag Argument,”

 

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:

Imagine the following three sensations:

  1. Chewing and swallowing the first mouthful of your favorite food after starving yourself for 48 straight hours. The food is prepared perfectly.
  2. Lying down on an especially cozy bed after 12 hours of nonstop physical labor on a cold day.
  3. The first moment of urinary release after having held a completely full bladder for more than 90 minutes.

For the rest of your life, you will feel one of these three ways, all the time. This is how you will always feel, 24 hours a day (you won’t be doing the specific activity, but you’ll always be experiencing the act’s accompanying euphoria). Which one will you select?

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No Small Talk, Episode 15: Rest in Peace Evel Knievel

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:

    You are given a choice between two rewards. The first reward us to be twice as intelligent as you are right now-you’ll be able to read twice as fast and remember twice as much, the size of your vocabulary will double, and you’ll be able to solve intellectual problems with twice your current aptitude. The second reward is that you will never again feel sick (even when you are) and you can always be whatever weight you want, regardless of what you eat or how little you exercise-you can simply imagine the body you would like to have and that is the weight you will magically become.

Which reward do you choose?

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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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No Small Talk, Episode 6, “Icing On The Sex Cake”, 2/16/15

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. You encounter a boulevard filled with homeless people, human waste, and dried blood. There are at least 50 people lying in the street—men, women, and teenagers. It’s the middle of summer, and none of them have bathed in weeks. A few are crackheads. Most are intoxicated. A handful are mentally insane. All are hungry and desperate. Suddenly, you are granted an incredible capability: If you have unprotected intercourse with any one of these individuals—right then and there, immediately, on the sidewalk, in public—you will end worldwide homelesssness forever. Within five years, no one will ever homeless again, and everyone will know it was because of your selflessness (however, if you elect not to do this, no one will ever know you had this opportunity—you will not be held accountable for choosing to do nothing).

2. You are close friends with a wonderful 30-year old woman who has never been in a romantic relationship. At long last, she meets a man she seems to like (and who likes her). He is 35, a successful architect, relatively attractive, and refreshingly unguarded. In fact, he is so unguarded that—during the first meal you ever share with him—he stoically tells the entire table a stunning story. This is his anecdote: “When I was twelve years old, I was playing with my neighbor on a railroad bridge near our home. No one else was around. We got into an argument, and I pushed him off the bridge, killing him instantly. I told everyone it was an accident and I never got into any trouble, but I knew what I was doing. At the time, I truly wanted to kill him. Now, in retrospect, it was obviously wrong. I wish I had not killed that person. But that was twenty-three years ago. Little kids do crazy things. You know how it goes.”

The next day, your female friend asks if she could continue pursuing this relationship. How do you advise her?

 

 

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