How to join
To join the Strangers' Club
follow this procedure:
- Find a large group of people that you don't know. This step never has to take any effort because we often find that we are in the middle of such a crowd. Examples include being at the mall, at the grocery store, and at the gas station. It is permissible to be with people you know, but it can make the rest of the procedure difficult. If you are unable to locate a group of people you don't know, empty a bottle of ketchup on your head and go lay down on the nearest sidewalk and wait. A crowd will eventually form.
- Select a person from the crowd at random. If you are attracted to members of a particular sex like most people, or to people with a certain hair color, or to people with a certain minimum rating on the scale of superficial beauty, you must try to avoid letting this attraction influence your selection. An effective strategy is to stand (or lie) still with your eyes closed, giving the people around you time to be replaced by other people, and then choose the first person you see when you open your eyes. If you use the ketchup method, you can actually just take a nap and people will eventually wake you up. If you know the person who woke you up, explain what you're doing and ask them to leave. Otherwise, you've got your random person. In fact, as long as you feel that your attraction has not influenced your choice, your in the clear.
- Introduce the stranger to the Strangers' Club.There are a number of approaches that you can try, and only you can determine which works the best. The fundamental problem in this step is that your stranger is a real person having real thoughts in a real life that you are interrupting. You may want to mitigate any damage you've already done to your relationship with the stranger by interrupting his or her life. You may want to make small talk before you start proselytizing. However, ignoring these desires is the best policy. Be direct and honest, or you may appear to be trying to sell something. "Hey, you know what a meme is?" or "Have you ever heard of the Strangers' Club?" are some examples. If the stranger ignores you, try again with something like "Can you please acknowledge me because I'm afraid I'm turning inaudible and invisible, and possibly immaterial?" If that doesn't work, go back to the previous step.
You're now a member, by virtue of the fact that put the "Strangers' Club" meme into the head of a stranger. You are expected to repeat the procedure as often as you like, including zero times. It's not a very exclusive club.
Now that you have joined the club and have attempted to start a conversation with someone you know nothing about, how do you deal with the awkwardness of silence
? You don't. If the person asks about the club, answer them kindly and honestly. Try to avoid sarcasm
until you understand the person a little more. If they ask about the ketchup, patiently explain that you couldn't come up with a better way to meet them. People who are not interested at all will often say "Oh, I'm not interested
," and they may thank
you. The intonation
s in their response are important in this case because it behooves you both for you to determine whether it is joining a club or talking to you that doesn't interest them. Don't wait for them to say something though. Instead, you say something. People will often turn away to protect themselves from proselytization even if a conversation with a random stranger would be enjoyable. If you feel that such a conversation would be enjoyable with this stranger, you can demonstrate this with the next thing you say.
"I bet you're wondering why I have ketchup on my head." Or "Wait a sec, don't go - I'm lying here on the sidewalk because I wanted to meet a stranger. I might not have a severe head injury
, but you can still help make my day a little better. So where were you headed?"
Or suppose you're in a grocery store. This person probably doesn't want to spend time listening to a stranger talk about some club, but they might be interested in a sale you just saw or are about to see. Look around, notice something that might be interesting to a random person, and point it out: "Have you noticed that they have sales on different kinds of cereal all the time?" or "I think the manager and that cashier right there are having an affair
Ideally, you have now entered into a tenable if not tenacious relationship
with someone. It may seem fleeting and useless
, but won't your day be better for it if not your whole week? For you pessimist
s out there, the worst that can happen is you'll get arrested for harassment
and have to spend a while in jail. Jail
isn't that bad, or so I've heard.
Strangers' Club Member Benefits
As a member of the Strangers' Club, you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Increased self-confidence
- Bizarre dreams about people you don't know if you've ever met
- More friends
Strangers' Club Member Consequences
As a member of the Strangers' Club, you will suffer the following consequences:
- Loss of your easily-spooked friends
- Stories about people's lives that are long and boring
- Becoming an embarrassment to "polite society"
- Damaged hair from repeated applications of ketchup