Excerpt from the consistently excellent webcomic Pictures for Sad Children

One of the best parts about my job is that the people I work with tend to be smart, funny and generally likable (when they’re not purposely being assholes). In particular, it’s nice that there is a large contingent of other AEs, who each have a broad array of quirky interests and backgrounds. This translates into fairly entertaining lunchtime discussions, which leap from Hegel to how to escape from a locked trunk in a matter of seconds. I’m not sure what everyone else talks about at lunch, but we jokingly call ourselves the “Witty Banter Table,” and I’m pretty sure we’re the most hilarious lunch table EVER.

Over the past few months, I’ve been taking notes on topics of conversation at lunch, which have been loosely grouped into categories. I make no claims that this is a fully representative sampling, but I am a little bit surprised that economics isn’t a more frequent topic of discussion. Only a little. Without further ado:

  • Merits of Kindles vs books: shelf-life, eyestrain, DRM
  • Physics of cycling: drafting, relationship between weight and momentum
  • Question: Is it possible to shoot a projectile and have it land >100 miles away? You must take into account the earth’s curvature, cannot move to outer space, and must use materials that would not be incinerated. Answer: Yes, you just need to move the earth backwards.
  • Case history of the serial killer whale, whether it can be rehabilitated into the wild
  • Sexbots
  • Potatoes: should they be considered a vegetable given their nutritional profile?
  • Organic clawed spider farming
  • Cell phone radiation: are fears about cancer are founded? Followed by declarations that cell phones are so safe, one should wear a cellphone codpiece.
  • Mechanics and ease of generating electricity: could it be done by a group of AEs who happened to land in Somalia
  • Distillation of liquor
  • iPad suckitude and general Apple paternalism
  • Offshore oil drilling

  • Should monetary policy and bank regulation be controlled by one institution?
  • Prospects of the Treasury Dept gaining regulatory power at the expense of the Fed
  • Murders and “crimes of passion” committed by economists, whether economists are capable of passion
  • Columbia prof Xavier Sala-i-Martin and his technicolor suits, wigs and website
  • Wedding day weather insurance, securitizing and slicing into tranches
  • Steve Levitt and his dismissal of macroeconomics
  • Grecian debt troubles: What is Greece’s credit rating? Baaaa.
Internet Culture
  • Bachelor parties: how to hire strippers for them
  • Preschool: traumatizing toilet paper rationing
  • MBAs and all the great people who never got one: Archimedes, Rockefeller, Jesus…
  • Tiger Woods: performance at the Masters, whether we should be surprised at his prolific affairs given his status as a highly-paid athlete
  • Professions most likely to result in adultery based on this survey
  • Gender cases for nouns, whether the gender associated with the noun is meaningful
  • How to deal with dudes who are being emo: buying beer, viewing John Wayne movies, punching in the arm, large doses of mockery
  • Outrageous parenting: A friend had a baby with a one-legged illegal immigrant. She is now engaged to another man and has not yet told him about the child, instead passing the kid off as her younger brother.
  • Birthday parties for 1-year-old children: appropriate presents, whether it is advisable to show up drunk
  • Creating synergies and solving the gender imbalance in multiple marriage markets by pairing Chinese men with black American women
  • Philosophical justifications and underpinnings of mosh pits
  • Pirate metal
  • Italian films: dearth of comedies
  • Prospective AEs: whether they’ve read the Illiad
  • Oscars: new scoring system, whether Avatar is deserving of awards
  • Respect for impressionism: “If I wanted to see that, I’d just take out my contact lenses.”
  • Writings of the Marquis de Sade
  • Lip muscles developed while playing French horn and their applicability in other situations
  • Better uses for the middle pedal on pianos, such as rocket launcher, page turner
Chicago/University of
  • Theft in Hyde Park: land grab by the University, how to foil bike thieves, perks of getting your car stolen
  • U of C’s ranking as the 300th (out of 300) most party-friendly school, how to call the cops to break up parties
  • U of C’s physical education exam requirements: the frat-initiation-like rite of forcing nerds to strip off their shirts and struggle to swim laps in front of strangers who would become their friends
  • Creation of one-way streets in Hyde Park as a method of drive-by shooting deterrence
  • St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls and frozen vomit around Wrigleyville
  • Bathhouses: locations in Chicago, cultures that support them
  • Greek Orthodox Church, the largest landowner in Jerusalem
  • Lent vs. Buddhist vegetarians: allowances on eating meat, fish, lobsters, insects, and food that looks like meat or meat that looks like vegetables.
  • Irish Jews: disgruntledness at the representation of Ireland as a Christian country, picturing lephrechauns with Hasidic curls speaking Yiddish with Irish accents rolling dreidels
  • Greek Easter: how to go about decapitating a lamb and roasting it
  • Jedi as a religion
  • Creation Museum in KY, where you can ride a dinosaur (there is a triceratops with a saddle), Bible coloring books with Jesus riding a dinosaur
  • Fears about the Cold War were totally overblown
  • Can a Polish person can have Viking heritage?
  • Regaling of stories about previous AEs
  • Which AE looks most like they could be in Mortal Kombat
  • Videos of turtles having sex: with each other, with a shoe, vocal expressions
  • Catfish that eat baby ducklings
  • How to guarantee the US hosts the Olympics: send Rahm Emanuel to helm negotiations, threaten to invade the host country/Brazil
  • What is more shocking/foreign: 2 Girls 1 Cup vs tentacle hentai
  • Litterbox prank: Clean the litter box of your friend’s cat every day for a week. When he starts wondering if the cat is constipated, drop your own massive deuce in the litter box. Your friend will never look at his cat the same way.

2 thoughts on “Lunch

  1. Sorry darling, the “awesome” topics are hardly scintillating (aside from the World Cup-Rahm matter). You failed to mention issues such as weddings in clocktowers and Cornell libraries; Strogatz’s NY Times’ blog; “trophy wife” tips for feminists with remarkable resumes, etc. Yes, these are topics that belong in the “awesome” category, rather than mere “Society/Lifestyle”. 🙂

    I am so very envious: “what you see on cooking shows on T.V. is food porn!” The best I had today was “even illegal activity can be substantial and meaningful” for the purposes of something under the C.F.R….and hustling…and lawyers and criminals are good at lying and arguing…::shrug::

    1. Yes but m’dear, I can hardly hold up a conversation on those topics without you here. I think this means we need to convene at Stella’s and just revel in how awesome and witty we are.

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