I recently articulated to myself, for the first time, a conversational habit I engage in frequently. It is demonstrated by this recent gchat conversation with my friend Nick Krefting. We were talking about Achewood and how the author used to post comics daily, but now they are barely a weekly trickle:
NK: i just really hope he’s not getting sick of his characters
NM: yeah, that’d be really bad
Well, he’s entitled to declare himself done with Achewood. But better that than drag it out.
NK: or that, if that were the case, he would muster up enough effort to give them a proper send off before moving on to something even more brilliant and moving
like Michael Jordan and basketball
This habit of mine is to show my understanding of a concept by providing an example that fits the pattern but is obviously or ludicrously wrong. In showing that I know what the subject is not, I show that I’m on the same page with whomever I’m talking to.
[My line of thinking in this instance was: “What is an example of someone great at something who quit at the height of his powers, but what he chose to do next was the opposite of brilliant and moving? Ah, Michael Jordan’s baseball career.”]
On multiple occasions, however, this habit causes serious confusion. The person doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about, the train of the conversation violently T-bones my attempt at rapport, awkwardness is strewn about the crash site, and we quickly search for a new topic of conversation.
The question I’m posing to whomever reads this and feels like responding is: is this habit just obnoxious, or does it contain comedic potential if the chosen example is a good one?