Conversational gambits in America

I aim to enjoy the time I spend with my relatives in Utah this summer. In order to facilitate friendly conversation with those holding different strongly held opinions than me, I created a list of safe/unsafe conversational topics:

1. Food
2. Kids
3. Olympics

1. Gun control
2. Presidential election
3. Religion

I have been in Utah for two weeks and found it necessary to modify the unsafe list midway through one BBQ:

1. Gun control
2. Presidential election
3. Religion
4. Swan hunting

Yes, swan hunting is seasonally possible in Utah. I never realized that before even though I grew up here.

I exited the swan hunting conversation and swiftly returned to the dessert table, calculating that eating another bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream was better for family harmony than eluding to the super-villain nature of a well-loved hobby.


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Screen grab from the Facebook page of a swan hunting enthusiast

My next move to keep things friendly is to: (1) develop selective deafness; and (2) clarify the unsafe list:

1. Anything at all to do with guns
2. Anything at all to do with politics
3. Anything at all to do with religion

Further, I propose that heated family debates in Utah be limited to what kinds of tacos are the best kinds of tacos and where those tacos can be found.

(With thanks to also Hong Kong-based Jennifer Deayton at The Rock Mom for bantering with me on this topic earlier in the summer.)

7 responses to “Conversational gambits in America

  1. You can also, if you’re talking with someone of the female persuasion, ask for a recipe for tacos. I know, I’m promoting hopeless stereotypes, but the odds are good that I’ll have called it right.

  2. Hilarious Jen! Swan hunting?!? Who knew? After hearing my Father bemoan that ‘dad-gum diversity’ I found a safe space with the topics: meat prices at Food Town and how to make gravy. Good luck with the rest of your summer! Jen x

  3. So true. Learned the “unsafe” list the hard way myself, although I find some family members love to bring these topics up on purpose to get a rouse. And depending on how much wine is involved, I’ll either show myself out or in! 🙂

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