More Small Talk Gone Awry

I’ve spoken before about how, when I open my mouth, the most innocuous conversations can go horribly wrong. Inevitably, the unfortunate target laughs nervously and scoots away as quickly as possible. This latest one occurred with the barista at Starbucks. I was fingering some snack near the cash register:

HER: They’re really great.
ME: They look like Turkish delight, but they’re not.
HER: What’s Turkish delight?
ME: Oh, well, it’s kind of fruity. It’s one of those weird British treats. Those British have bizarre taste in candy.
HER: I see.
ME: Have you ever read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
HER: Yes.
ME: Well, when Lucy goes into the wardrobe and into Narnia, her brother Edmond follows her. However, he runs into the White Queen in the forest near the lamp post. Basically, she brainwashes him, and promises him all the Turkish delight he can eat. He gorges on the stuff, then feels bad later. It’s kind of a whole bulimia thing.
HER: Oh.

Fortunately, by this point, her fellow barista had prepared my slim, no-whip, tall, double-fancy-in-the-pike-position hot chocolate, so she escaped further trauma.

On a related note, moments earlier I was in Chapters. I lingered at one of the display tables, then headed to the cash registers. The staff there advised me that I had been unwittingly standing beside Christina Ricci for several minutes. I’d probably have recognized her, had I looked up, but I guess this book distracted me.

They must get a lot of famous people in that Chapters. Lex, who works there, recently spotted the excellent Bill Nighy and the ridiculously attractive Scott Speedman. They’re apparently up here to film Underworld 2. The original was redeemed from utter tedium only by Kate Beckinsale in black PVC. While trying to determine what Ms. Ricci might be shooting, I turned up these photos of her getting a tattoo by a local artist. Apparently these people don’t know either.

Written by dbarefoot

Darren Barefoot is an author, speaker and digital strategist. He’s the co-founder of Capulet Communications, and co-author of “Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook”.


  1. Would it surprise you all that much to find out I’m the same way, except generally in larger groups?

    I have a weird mind which allows me to grasp at the weirdest … Dunno. But, often throughout a larger group setting out will pop a 1-liner that’s so completely out there that everyone laughs so hard they split a seam somewhere. Or they stare at me like I’m a fool.

    I think I’m batting .350 overall for being “funny”.

  2. The trick to making good small talk is not to worry when the other person drops the ball. I think that’s pretty funny, although as the above two posters note, Turkish delights are, in fact, Turkish and are sold in little shops all over the Islamic world.

    Sometimes I say things that are so funny, not even my friends understand them. Then again, often I say things that are just dumb.

  3. The Salmon of Doubt made me cry. I was absolutely absorbed by the new Dirk Gently and then it just … it just … STOPPED!?! If medical science is going to bring anybody back from the grave, for any reason, it’s got to be Douglas Adams. Christina Ricci be damned!

  4. Seems like more anecdotal evidence supporting Tannen’s “rapport talk” vs “report-talk”. Women aren’t always so interested in hearing about… anything.

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