As related on The Conversation Assassin, I seem to have this ability to kill a conversation. But I figured some serious introspection on the issue would be nice, though it would be impossible to combine with my writeup there. But I digress.

    It was my sophmore or maybe my junior year of college, when at the fraternity dinner table, I say something and all conversation stops. All eyes are upon me, and a gentleman one year my junior says "That was a conversation killer, Art."
From that point forward, I've been referred to as the conversation killer. At one point, I was even nicknamed The God of Silence. I never quite figured out what caused it. Yes, TMI is a sure-fire way to stop a conversation. But that's obvious. It seems when I stop a conversation, I don't expect that to be the result of what I said. I have the power but I cannot control it. You can repeat that bit about every seven minutes or every thirteen minutes or whatever, but it was a disproportionate number of cases.

I have some theories, both serious and not-so-serious. The first is my arcane sense of humor. A female friend once described me as painfully funny. I love to make puns on an impromptu basis. While I've had the occasional big win with a pun or joke, more often than not they are groaners. So I could potentially be causing conversations to end with my jokes. This worries me occasionally, because it makes me wonder if I'm using my sense of humor to push people away. The big problem with this explanation is that it wasn't always a statement intended as humor that did it.

I also wonder if it's that these same puns, along with interjections and even regular conversational statements, are just very highbrow and require someone to take a moment to unravel the mystery of what I just said, stalling their brains. The advantage to this explanation is it explains the problem with the first theory. The disadvantage is that it seems to demean the intelligence of my friends.

But, perhaps, what if it is a power granted unto me? Things from the gods are not always presents. In which case, I need to learn how this ability works and how to control it. It really stinks when you're at a staff meeting, you say something, and everyone stops talking. Of course, this theory is a bit out there, even for me.