Verbal Jousting Needs How Many?

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people? 


The Canadian Mounted Police have a saying, “One mob, one Mountie, even odds.”

That’s how it is when I’m involved in a lively group discussion. I can work the crowd into a laughing frenzy or a hostile debate, sometimes both if the mood strikes me just right. How many people are too much depends upon the topic. Some rough guidelines to follow are provided here for your consideration.

Sex? Just the two of you.

Bodily functions? Up to three. Shouting for toilet paper to be brought to you is allowed in a family setting.

Health issues? There appears to be no limit to the size of the audience on this one. Stand in line at the grocery store and listen to the seniors describe their ailments in detail to anyone in listening range.

Politics/Religion? It’s an international stage where no one convinces very many to change their minds. Best avoided.

Sports? It varies with the particulars and the gender of the competitors and spectators.

How did curling end up in the Olympics? Those people are considered athletes worthy of competing at the highest level? Come on! It’s ice bowling without pins or beer!

American football? Whatever. Less than one hour of actual play continually interrupted by group planning sessions. “What should we do next? Hey, I know. Let’s try to get past them and move the ball further down the field. If we’re lucky, we can make it all the way and then do it again.”

I could go on, but my wife is standing near me watching me write this. I think she wants to talk to me.

9 thoughts on “Verbal Jousting Needs How Many?

  1. Bwahahah! American football–less than an hour of actual play that takes FOUR HOURS to be completed! I HATE football! I know I’m in the minority, and I really don’t care. Never liked it, never will. Four hours. Sheesh.

    • I’m with you on football. I just don’t see the point. Way too much time spent pre-game hyping up the players, the teams, trivial history, and so on. Then, the game takes FOUR HOURS like you say. And then, they have the nerve to do a post-game show to rehash it.

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    • In my opinion, ailments are usually much less interesting for the listener. A high-level summary usually suffices. “It hurts HERE.” “They’re going to cut it off/out on Thursday.” “Six more weeks for the cast.”

      I already forgot the details on curling. The broom, the target, scoring, weights of the rocks…

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