>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

March 27, 2008

Mike: A lot of people like talking to you.
I guess.
I'm not one of them.
I know.
Pass the ashtray?
Good talk.

Recently I learned that there are some people out there who don't know how to loosen up and have a good time. I doubt any of these people are my readers, but I'm sure that my readers have encountered this problem so I'm making an attempt to help them help others loosen up so we can all party and just enjoy the ever-loving shit (by far and away, the best kind of shit) out of each other's genitalia, party supplies and company. So there. It is the goal of this column to be bothrelative and helpful. It's been a while since I reminded you so I'm typing it again: I'm here to help.

Always have been.

Some people, for whatever reasons, have difficulty relaxing and having a good time. Some people are shy, others are just annoying, and still others couldn't crack a smile in a strip club. Sad, I know. But sadder still is that it's true. Some people just suck. And that needs to change.

You see, Sucky People, life is challenging enough without some loser bringing down everyone's buzz. That just can't happen. I think it may even be in the Bible, like in the New Testament or thereabouts. Now, following my directions may mean that you, the Sucky Person in question, may have to feign appearances of a positive attitude, but really and truly, if you can't do that, you'll probably end up bashing html code out in the dark and crying yourself to sleep wondering what happened to the only girl you ever kissed.

“People want to hear stories about other people making fools of themselves.”

So anyway, you may want to read the rest of this column.

If You Can't Tell a Joke, Laugh

Odds are that in any social situation people will be talking. This goes back to the beginning of social situations. Hell, it may even go backto the beginning of talking. I'm no historian but you don't need a master's degree to figure out that people talk. You barely need an IQ of 80.

Now, at parties and in bars, many people get to talking with the hopes of making each other laugh. (I do my best to keep these funny people in my life because I like to stay entertained, but I digress.) Some people are good at this. Others are not. If you're not good at it and you talk a lot, you will at best bore people and at worse turn them off entirely. Take it from someone who knows, sometimes it's best to just sit, laugh and drink. That way, you add to the fun without drawing attention to yourself. Thus, you appear loose and carefree, even if you're spending the entire evening wondering what that cute girl in Spanish class meant when she called your haircut, “boyish.” (Nate's note: this is probably not a good thing, dude.)

Now, some people are too stupid to take great advice and just shut the hell up and listen to me tell that story about the time I killed a rat with a mayonnaise jar and a flyswatter (real crowd pleaser, by the way) and they will talk. And if you're one of those people, please follow the following piece of advice.

Tell Stories about People

No one cares what you do for a living or how a rotary engine works or what classes you're taking or even what kind of a deal you got on your iPod. People want to hear stories about other people making fools of themselves, like when that one guy killed that other guy and you kind of knew both of them so you went to the funeral and the prison but the dude in prison didn't remember you and the dead dude's friends and relatives didn't know you and then you realized that you were mistaken and only thought you knew the guys and that was when you decided to stop watching the news so much. That's a great story and it makes you look like a schmuck.

And that's entertaining.

But, if you choose not to be entertaining, you can always rely on the old fallback topics.

Sports for Guys, Entertainment for Girls

If you're a guy who knows his sports, fire away. If you're a girl who knows her gossip, feel free to give this a shot. If you're a girl who knows sports, you better not be lying, and if you're a guy who knows gossip, then I'm probably at the wrong party.

Anyway, sports and rich actors always make decent fallback topics and are great for filling conversation voids.

Of course, none of that advice is worthwhile if you're creepy.

Don't Be Creepy

Creepy guys stare at girls too long without saying anything, they sit alone in a room while stoned for an hour, and they mention art and other higher arts. They don't know their football. Most of the music they listen to is made by their friends. They think people want to hear their opinions. They discuss politics. Creepy guys talk about their feelings and when they make jokes, they have to explain them.

Don't be this guy. No one likes the creepy guy.

If you're not creepy and you know when and how to talk, odds are you can loosen up and have a good time. Just remember to keep most of your opinions to yourself and to never let anyone know that on the inside, you have your own bizarre opinions that may or may not explain why you keep having wet dreams about nuclear holocaust.

You freak.