You know those conversation starters were one person says, “You’ll never guess…” or, “You won’t believe this…” and the other person picks their farthest out, worst case scenario or guess, just to eliminate that, as a joke, and move on to the real thing?

Have you ever had your worst case scenario be the thing?

As a recent graduate of this horrific experience, let me advise you: When it’s your turn to guess what “you’ll never guess,” either smile silently while waiting a beat for the person to continue, even better, evacuate the scene, or, if you’re trapped, make up something nonsensical. You can borrow from this list:

  • You left my laundry outside, a wombat ate my underwear and I get to finish the rest of our vacation in the nude.
  • You forgot the parking break on my piece-of-shit car, it rolled into the drive of the McMansion down the hill and when the homeowner saw she said it looked so good there she’s trading houses with us.
  • Ferrel monkeys who know how to write entered me into a contest for free tickets to my favorite performer but when the performer saw that I’d won, she changed the prize to free tickets and a date.
  • Your boss’s rich uncle died or retired to go live with wombats and left me the business and everything because I’m just a very good person.
  • A wombat burrowed under the house and fixed that electrical glitch we’ve been trying to find and now we get pirated cable and messages from Alpha Centauri through the toaster.

Work wombats, koalas or kangaroos in, whenever possible. You achieve a jarring randomness while remaining cute and nonthreatening.  If you actually live in the Australian Outback, substitute hippos, armadillos and lemurs.

My particular setup might need its own list. So when your still-best-friend-but-recently-ex-lover calls and says, “I want to tell you something but you might not like it,” silence and a beat are weak tea here. Evacuation by beam out or pneumatic tube is best, otherwise, you might be facing fire fighters with the jaws of life after the house crashes in on you.

If you’re a talker and must respond verbally because you just don’t learn, consider choosing from this list, which I would have given cash money to have in front of me:

  • Alien wombats have elected you their king and are beaming you, and my assistant you’re about to tell me you’re fucking, off the planet tonight.
  • You’re calling from inside an anaconda, where you have surprisingly good phone reception.
  • My assistant would have checked in herself, but she’s inside a hippo inside an anaconda, thus no reception.
  • You and my assistant each love and miss me so much that the only way you could cope was to fuck each other, but you each fantasized about me the whole time.

Oh my my, this list is deteriorating. I imagine that in a year’s time it will look very neutral and serene, like a pond, a still surface with a whole food chain underneath. But until then, dear reader, evacuation might be best after all!


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Coming next: Community and the Perception of Personal Safety

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