How To Get People To Stop Talking To You
by Peter Holliday

A lot of people seem to wonder why I don't talk much. It is because I don't like them. However, there are some general areas of debate that seem to crop up every once in a while. Short of kicking the other person in the stomach (this works very well unless you're surrounded by a group of people you don't want to talk to), here is a general guidline for getting people to stop talking to you.

Mutually Assured Destruction - stop getting involved in discussions about nuclear war. This seems to be a favourite among types who want to seem dark and brooding. Many seem to think that any day now, we're all going to fry and have our eyeballs melt and end up as a permanent shadow on the wall next to us, while others like to point out that people were thinking the same sorts of things when the bow and arrow was invented. Tell people that if they feel nuclear war is imminent, to move to Chad. I mean, who the fuck's gonna nuke Chad?

Kurt Cobain - buy all of Nirvana's albums but don't listen to any of them. this will get you out of taking sides on the brilliant-disturbed-poet/nihilistic-fuckup-that-we-don't-need-any-more-of- -nowadays-thank-you-very-much debate.

The Environment - give money to some environmental organization and then litter as much as you can. You've paid them to deal with it now, so you come out even on the environmental issues.

Modern Art - buying it and not looking at it is a bit out of your price range, I'm sure. The best you can do in this situation is piss on anybody who brings up the topic and call it a "performance." Whether or not this supports their theory of modern art's validity, it'll be the end of the debate.

Sex - just tell people that you're a rapist. Whether or not its true (I mean, I don't know you that well) it stops people from talking about it. Of course, this doesn't work so well if you're a woman. In that case (and this also works for men if you don't like the first option), tell them that you're waiting to have a sex-change operation but that afterwards, you will still like men (or women). If they accept this, pointing out that sexual orientation and sexual preferences are two different things, just pinch their ass. this works in much the same way as pissing on them (see Modern Art).

Politics - whoever they're talking about, claim that whoever-it-is played the guy who gets killed at the top of the stairs in 'Psycho' or the mourner at the back on the left in the Mary Tyler Moore Show about Peanuts the clown. This will get them away from politics, and since no one knows who these people really are, they will have to stop and think about it while you slip away for another drink.

Literature - find odd old books that no one has heard of, or at least no one has ever read, and claim that they're classics. You don't even need to read them. This always makes people who think they're intelligent and know everything feel inferior. If you feel you can get away with it, relate them to other books that no one has heard of or read. This makes them go away.

The Meaning Of Life - if people ask, tell them that life is an ontological metaphysical state of being. If they actually know what you mean by that, tell them that you never bothered to look up the words and you have no idea what you're talking about. If they don't know what that means, tell them to go look it up. Either way, they should be occupied for some time thinking about it and if they come back, you can claim that you were joking the whole time. This confuses everyone and gets you out of the conversation without actually having to know what you're talking about.

Theatre - if they like theatre, bring up "Starlight Express." If they don't, just start screaming (see Modern Art).

Conversation Openers - there are many ways to stop a conversation before it starts. Running away screaming and tearing your clothes of tends to stop people from talking to me, and stops others nearby from talking to me later. If this isn't your style, here are some other ways to end conversations quickly:

1) Hi - actually, if someone says 'Hi' to you, there really is nothing better than running away screaming and tearing your clothes off. DO NOT say 'Hello' back. This just gets them started. Setting them on fire works nicely (see Modern Art).

2) Watcha thinking? - say 'I'm thinking about the idea of a hotel as a post-modern metaphor.' If they have anything to say about that, I'm afraid you're at the wrong party.

3) Can I buy you a drink? - say 'No. Fuck you, you lying bastard son-of-a-bitch! You missed my brithday because you had a gig?! What kind of excuse is that? You never loved me! 'Black Massacre' was always a stupid name for a band anyway, and more importantly, in what way is the idea of a hotel a post-modern metaphor?'

For most other conversations, this usually works pretty well - whenever a topic is raised, say something along the lines of 'Oh yeah, I know what you mean. Here.. you have to listen to this.' Go get the Clash's 'London Calling' album (you can pick the album but this one works well for me) and start playing it for them. They will assume that this has something to say about what you were talking about and waste forty, fifty, sixty minutes listening to it and waiting. These are just a few examples, but if you really don't want anyone to talk to you, you should take the idea and build on it. You may be thinking that kicking, screaming and setting people on fire are extreme reactions, but I find they work consistantly in all situations. You may be looking for a happy medium. the general theory should be acceptable though - first, if you can, spend some money to show that you're actively neutral in case the topic comes up (this can get expensive). Second, distraction. Third, confusion, a slightly more evil version of distraction. Fourth, pissing people off and (or by) fifth, violence. If it gets lonely, just go and talk to someone. It should remind you of why you stopped.

(c) Peter Holliday 1995