Every Childlike Author needs a Playground.

Tips to Avoid Being a Bore: Strategies from a Society Pro and, in general, the Cleverest Person at the Party

Image Courtesy of That-Guy-Who-Took-This-Picture

Hyenas are verrrrry social. You won’t bore them at all. They’ll even eat you.

I admit that my last post was a bit of a sneaky trick, and it’s possible that some readers who wanted more to actually read were probably disappointed. And the two posts before that were both book reviews, which, unless you already plan on reading the books being reviewed or have already read them, are usually dull and boring no matter how well written. Put another way, most people are more interested in something they know about because most people are more interested in their own opinion, and that’s just the way it works. So if you haven’t read or don’t intend to read The Illustrated Wee Free Men or A Hat Full of Sky, then I apologize for boring you. To make up for it I thought I’d make this post especially interesting and rollickin’ good fun.


Really, I’m just sad you found me boring—I usually avoid that by implementing my Tips to Avoid Being a Bore®. Did I ever say that I hate being a bore? I absolutely can’t stand it, so I use different tactics to avoid being described as a brick-in-the-mud. One of these tactics I call the “Whack-A-Mole.”

The way you correctly use the Whack-a-Mole tactic is to wait around uselessly for a half-hour or longer until something witty enters your noggin, and then you quickly pop your head into the conversation circle and say it like a society pro before you forget it. That’s the easy part. The hard part is escaping before, metaphorically, you get whacked. You’ve got to pop your head in and then instantly pop back out and into a different conversation (traditionally this other conversation is one you’ve held in reserve for just that purpose) so that the conversationalists who try to whack you will see that you’re preoccupied elsewhere and leave you alone. It’s hiding in plain sight so to speak, because they only get to glimpse you at your wittiest. If done right, and with enough conversations going on around you, you’ll be able to pop in and out of them non-stop like the moles of a Whack-A-Mole machine. The brilliant thing about this tactic is you can use the same witticism for each new conversation until you make the complete circuit, in which case you’ll have to stand around uselessly for another half-hour or longer. But hopefully by then the party will have ended, leaving you regarded, in general, as the cleverest person who attended. Just be warned that the host or hostess may have the same idea, except they like to call it “hosting” as an excuse to gain a monopoly on the Whack-A-Mole tactic—ignore them.

Another tactic I like to use is called the “Hyena.” The Hyena is well-known for two different things: scavenging and laughing. This one can easily get you in trouble because, like hyenas, this tactic can be seen as cowardly or spoil-sport if not done correctly. This one is also best used when you and your friends are “just hanging out,” with no planned activity. What usually happens is someone in the group will get tired of the hum-drum and call for suggestions on what to do for entertainment. When this occurs, and you realize you have zero ideas, just wait. Then, as your other friends start to pitch their suggestions, do a Bartleby and politely say that you prefer not to. Eventually the suggestions will mount up so high that some members of the group will split off to do their own thing. When you’re the only one left, look around and see which activity is generating the most fun (this activity will ultimately swallow up the smaller, less fun options) and scavenge it by joining in. After that, all you have to do is grin and laugh a lot (like a Hyena), and repeatedly say “This is such a good idea!” or “This is so awesome!” and you’ll be considered a fun person  to be around. Be cautious using this trick! If your group is too small, there will only be one option from which to choose. Additionally, if you end up by yourself too often your friends will think of you as a pariah, a naysayer, or just plain scared of social interaction, which means you’ll miss out on the Cinnamon Rolls made by That-One-Guy-Who-Likes-To-Bake the next time everybody gets together (because they won’t invite you). Also, be aware that a male lion could run you down and kill you, or perhaps recruit you for a Nazi-Youth program.

A third trick I like to use to avoid being a mud-in-the-stick is called the “Cat in the Hat” after the cat in the hat in The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. This tactic is by far the easiest to master, and perhaps the most effective. All you need to do is show up at your social get-together with a large, colorful, and preferably outlandish and ostentatious hat on your head. If you chose your hat correctly you will become an immediate sensation and the envy of all those other socialite wannabes. This is not all! Your hat will prompt you to behave in entertaining ways precisely like the cat in the hat in The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, and you will find you’re witticisms increase in frequency from a half-hour or longer to a half-hour or less. Be warned, however. Most hats can only be used once, since the novelty wears off after the first magical encounter. You will also want to have a hat collection just like Dr. Seuss so you can rotate a new one in once the old one has lost its allure. And don’t worry, if you have an old favorite, you will still be able to wear it in front of a new audience to achieve the same effect. Just remember that not all hats are created equal, and that you should clean up any messes caused by your new, uncontrollable antics, such as eating cake in a tub.

The Whack-A-Mole, the Hyena, and the Cat in the Hat are just three of my Tips to Avoid Being a Bore®, and I have many, many more. As you can probably see, you really shouldn’t have been bored by my book reviews at all, because I follow similar tips when writing and am no bore. In fact, I would probably share them with you if I weren’t so offended by your description of me as a stick-in-the-brick. I just hope I’ve taught you a lesson, and that you’ll find me interesting in the future.

What do you think? Are book reviews more interesting when you’ve already read the book? Do you have any Tips to Avoid Being a Bore? Leave your thoughts and comments by clicking HERE.


2 responses

  1. Alex Hurst

    I really needed this to be narrated by Ze Frank…. XD


    March 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    • That… is a true fact. Man that would be so awesome! It really does read a little like he talks now that you mention it…

      On a side note, I never knew that frogs will eat mice until I watched one of his videos…


      March 22, 2014 at 11:36 pm

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