Oh hello there, peer, let us begin our verbal exchange. Here’s how this will unfold: I will make a series of unnecessarily high-brow references, and I want you to just stand there and nosily chortle at the appropriate times after each one like we both know what I’m talking about. No one else can even hear us right now, so this petty charade exists solely for you to milk my waning intellectual ego enough to last another five months until we see each other again. And, as I’m sure you’ll agree, it certainly will all sound like a tête-à-tête more appropriately suited for a David Foster Wallace footnote than the director’s commentary on a Fellini film.

Haaaaah. Haaaaaphhh.

Now before we continue onto another topic, I want to reiterate that that was an excellent reference I just made, and by the sound of your unnatural rhythmic exhales, I can tell that you understood both the literary allusion and its comedic value to our current dialogue. I’m glad that we agree. Unlike the conservative wing of the Supreme Court in the Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. decision.

Heeaahhhhhhhhhh. Nhffffffffffffff.

With that second outstanding reference, that makes two in a row. Perhaps if I make a third outstanding reference in a row, you will understand the full extent of how intelligent I am. Prepare yourself for this next reference, for it will be a good one: perhaps even as good as Nietzsche’s conception of the idealized Übermensch.

. . .

I could not help but notice that you failed to suitably bare your teeth and bark into the air following my latest outstanding reference. Was this a failure of my memorized reference (impossible!), or the first example of a newfound perception that you are not as intelligent as the peers I intend to make references to? Following our exchange, I will embellish this example to my wife, and implant in her the same notion that you are an unsuitable peer for our company. But not quite as unsuitable as Shakespeare’s Katherina, the only shrew more fitted for Dante’s second circle of the Inferno than a dinner party with the Donner family.

Hyewffffffffffffffffff. Nyaaaaahhhhhhhhaaaaahhhhhhaaaaaa.

You seemed to enjoy that fourth outstanding reference, and the fact that you tittered sufficiently makes me like you more, because I am taking it to mean that you are acknowledging my vast intellect as greater than your own.

For my fifth, sixth, and seventh references of this conversation with you, I will simply state the names of historical, literary, or political persons without any context, and I want you to laugh after each one, because you recognize them:



Marcel Proust.


Angela Merkel.


That last exchange of references for laughs was particularly satisfying for me, because each one stemmed from a different category of my supposed intelligence, implying a certain broadness to my limited reservoir of knowledge.

Because said reservoir is now running thin after that impressive volley of references, I will now pass the burden of conversation onto you. This is your opportunity to demonstrate to me that you have also memorized a couple of Wikipedia articles. Begin.


Instead of making a reference, you are inquiring as to my new child. Such uncultured topics should be relegated to the brothels of Medici’s Sicily, not a fine establishment such as this nouveau Americano bistro. Your choice of topic sickens me and I will pretend my wife is waving for me to go over to her. Goodbye.