Welcome to my newsletter, The Nonlinear Life. If you're new around here, read my introductory post.
Every Monday on The Nonlinear Life we talk about words to live by—popular sayings, mottos, buzzwords, proverbs, truisms, and aphorisms. Also, dad jokes! We call it Words4Life.
I’m excited to invite you into a fun annual tradition. Every year at this time, my friend Ben and I go back and forth devising a list of somewhat irreverent table topics for Thanksgiving gatherings. These could be used for turkey dinner or any other get-together when conversations lag and sensitive topics need to be avoided.
Ben participates in an adults-only meal, so he leans toward spicier questions that I can't quote here; we have multiple generations, so I lean toward the family-friendly. Either way, no one can use all of these, so pick three or four and keep everyone engaged.
When all else fails, use the question I shared in my viral piece over the weekend or the ones in my primer, 'Why Is a Cranberry Called a Cranberry?' and Other Thanksgiving Questions Answered.
Who has Taylor Swift’s red scarf?
Everyone’s going into space these days. If you had one trip into space that you know would be safe, where would you visit? BONUS: If you could take one celebrity, whom would you choose?
Who at this table would win Squid Game?
The Olympics are coming up in February. If you had three months to learn any new sport and get good enough to compete, which one would you choose?
It’s been a big year for book-to-movie adaptations: Nomadland won Best Picture. Dune is a monster hit. Name a book-to-movie adaptation in which the movie is BETTER than the book.
Matthew McConaughey is thinking of running for governor of Texas. The Rock is thinking about running for president. Mehmet Oz is thinking of running for Senate in Pennsylvania. What celebrity would make the best politician, and what office should they run for?
Last year the holidays were disrupted by Covid. What ritual that got canceled would you most like to resume? Which one that got canceled would you like never to come back?
Lots of restaurants permanently closed because of Covid. What beloved restaurant from your past that’s been closed for a long time would you reopen if you could?
What’s the best piece of culture you consumed this year? It could be a book, movie, play, album, museum exhibition, or the like?
What famous character from a book, movie, or TV show would definitely get canceled today?
If you could design an app to solve one nagging problem in your life, what would it do?
Last month, Merriam-Webster added a bunch of new words to their dictionary. These included: FTW, amirite, blank check company, deplatform, digital nomad, superspreader, copypasta, whataboutism, ghost kitchen, and dad bod. What new words, phrases, abbreviations used in texting, or other expressions would you add to the dictionary?
Whatever topics you discuss with your loved ones, have a great week! I’ll see you after the holiday.
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