I relish in the Super Bowl season, not because of the football, but because of the majestic tango of pretending to know what you’re talking about. At this time of year, everyone experiences the joy of making oneself seem more knowledgeable.
We are a rare breed, known to the public as BS Artists. I take this name with pride, as it truly is an art form; the idiosyncrasies and ludicrousness in our “whack” language allow one ignorant person to speak so intelligently on matters he knows nothing about, (if I were into politics I’d make a political joke here, but I’m not so I won’t except I just did.) This reminds me of the oil crisis in Iraq and how the economic fluctuation will eventually engulf our government in a faltering stumble. See how that worked? Here are a few tips on how to pretend you are Neil Patrick Harris.
It is key to always recognize how versed your fellow conversationalist is on the matter. Begin by probing them about their own opinion. If it appears that they know way too much and have no life besides sexually abusing all books in the library on the subject, then warily stumble around the proverbial bush with ambiguous language. Utilize words such as “quite” or “indeed” to make you seem smarter than you actually are, even if you are hung over on paint thinner (Home Depot has an excellent ’71 Sherwin-Williams collection).
Always important to remember is to never make up specifics on the subject. Be as vague as you can while still sounding clever. The only plausible time to quote specifics is when your conversationalist is clearly more ignorant than you on the matter. Specifics can destroy your entire argument and reveal you as the foolishly foolish fool that you are. If you are revealed as making up facts, it is at this point that you will become completely embarrassed, your life will be destroyed, and you will resort to scraping gum off the bottom of diner tables for sustenance.
If you are ever worried about a statement you are about to make, introduce it by saying “I believe.” Although sounding somewhat unsure, it enables you to back out of a statement and admit one small defeat by saying, “Actually, I think you’re right.” A true artist never admits defeat and strings along their conversation until they crash and explode in a freak Razor scooter accident.
Always remember that just because you are vague does not mean that you cannot be confident. For all you know, you are the king of some random-ass country, could school Michael Jordan in ping-pong, have played “World of Warcraft” for fortnights at a time and own the title of “Coolest Salmon Hatchery Owner in Upstate New York.” Be clever about what you say. Just because you don’t know what you’re saying doesn’t mean that you should sound like an idiot. Your conversationalist is an idiot for bringing up a subject you know nothing about and trying to feel better about himself by demonstrating his knowledge on the mating rituals of the native Rochester commercial sex worker. You’re not a clown, although you aspire to be one someday, with a funny little tricycle and a Chihuahua sidekick. You will be named Ralphy the Humorous One. A&E will make a movie about you where at some point you will hurl a liquor bottle at a loved one.
A true artist knows how to play everyone for fools, especially the reader who has gotten to the end of the article and has realized that I’m going to end the article like this and there is nothing you can do about it. In your face!
Stahl is a member of the class of 2009.