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a favorite pastime of mine is to get people talking about, in public, things they ordinarily would not talk about in public. over time i have found a few topics which make even the most stalwart squeamish, but conciliatory all the same. i'm not sure how this came to be. i think in that people seem more authentic (not to mention interesting) when you can get them off of their typical and canned conversational fodder. for instance which conversation would you rather sit in on. one about what troy does for a living? or one where david talks about how old he was before seeing his father's penis ... and if it looked peculiar by his estimation?

through a determined commitment to this strategy a surprising topic has recently come about; christmas. lots of people have real hardcore convictions about their christmas and the traditions surrounding it. i would have never guessed how passionate people are over this seemingly innocuous and global(ish) routine. colored v white lights. live v fake tree. tree v no tree. santa v no santa. surprise v chosen gifts. eve v day opening, rotating v static tree topper. and, i hope it goes without saying that engaging a married couple is far superior to a single party. we all know that conflict makes for good drama. and, we all really know that sighing, huffing and "i'm suring" conflicts make for even greater drama.

i think the schizophrenia around this can be summed up in an e-love argument. "now, don't get me wrong. i don't care if we put a tree up or not, but if we do, it's going up my way." this is called the don't care/way care offense/defense and it's a tough one to combat. and, how can you hope to reason with a guy who until two years ago thought that the source of the bubbles in the bubble lights were farting elves.

DEC2002

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