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Litmus Test

If you're like me, and you're frequently pressed for time, a good New Year's resolution is to cut down on the number of stupid conversations you let yourself have during the day. And while I understand that it isn't always easy to tell from the get-go whether or not a conversation will end up stupid, here's a good way to make sure that, at the very least, you never get roped into talking baseball for twenty minutes with someone who sucks.

Guy: So hey, how about those Yankees? What are they spending now, a trillion dollars? LOL! Am I right?
You: What do you think of Raul Ibanez?

Don't worry about the other guy's initial attempt to engage. What he asks doesn't make any difference. The only thing that matters is that he wants to talk about baseball, and as soon as the baseball subject is broached, you should politely but pointedly interject with the Ibanez question, shut up, and await the other guy's response. This is a critical juncture, so be sure to pay attention.

If he responds with:

...something like "pretty good bat but he's old/bad at defense/old and bad at defense," then if you so desire you may proceed. This is an individual from whom you may actually gain a little insight or inspiration. Tracking those sorts of people down is difficult, so cherish this interaction.

If he responds with:

...some mindless combination of great bat/underrated/real pro/good leader/winner*/determined/hard-nosed/classy/etc then, unless his answer is qualified with expressed concerns over Ibanez's age and/or defense, you may be 99% certain that continuing this conversation purchases you a one-way ticket on Retard Airlines to the Isle of Regret. You should leave. Make up an excuse if you have to. You should just be sure to flee the scene. There is likely nothing to be gained from speaking to this person. Leave and save yourself time that, if you're at work, could be better spent enjoying a delicious Nestle hot cocoa.

That said, if you're feeling particularly patient, or you're dissatisfied with jumping ship until you're 100% sure that it's going to sink, then you may choose to stick around to briefly point out Raul Ibanez's downsides just to see how the other guy reacts. The trouble here is that, by speaking, you have made the conversation that much more inextricable, but there does exist a slight chance that the other guy will respond positively, in which case you may be able to teach him to be less wrong. Given the opportunity, it's noble work if you're up to doing it. But I recommend just running away. Probability says that's always the right decision in a situation like this. If you press the issue, and the other guy still disagrees, then the interaction minefield becomes incredibly difficult to navigate.


Avoiding stupid conversations is all about taking the right preventative measures, and by making but a few simple changes the methodology provided herein can be applied to any number of different subjects. Be proactive. Have a better day and be a better you. You'll be glad you did.

* If Raul Ibanez is such a winner, then why is it that since he became a regular player in 2001, five of his teams have finished in last and none of his teams has been to the playoffs?