With cocktail party season roaring in like a 2-ton cheese ball, now seems like a good time to review what we upstaters like to talk about at holiday parties.
Whether you are new to the area or have lived here forever, today’s column promises to give you the goods on topics of conversation that will leave listeners wanting more.
“Huh?” you might be wondering. Our city’s conversation topics differ from other cities? Why yes, they do. Having traveled some during past holiday seasons, I can say with resounding confidence that what we like to chat about here does not necessarily resonate with other cities. Their unfortunate loss as I see it.
But enough about other cities and their childish gloating about low property taxes, let’s focus on what piques our interest.
I’ll begin with teeth, an engaging topic if ever. In case you weren’t aware, Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman was keenly interested in teeth, donating millions to establish dental clinics right here in Rochester. He suffered his own dental woes to be sure, but he also believed that children with healthy teeth fared better in life. Go, George!
My point is, George’s passion for teeth is in our city’s DNA, in the same way that chicken wings are in Buffalo’s DNA, loafers are in Syracuse’s and the patent for toilet paper is in Albany’s. And so, we’re subconsciously gripped by any story that involves teeth. I know I am. And based on how partygoers seem to hang on my every word — whether I’m yakking about my gum grafts or dishing about my dental implants or even sharing how I bravely contoured a pointy crown with a handheld sander — I’m pretty sure teeth talk is a winning conversation topic.
Another captivating conversation topic is vitamin D intake, especially at this time of year when the days are short and the sun is hidden behind a depressing carpet of gray clouds. Did I just hear you yawn? Trust me, it’s not a snore! Folks love to talk about vitamin D: deficiencies, dosage, benefits, controversy over supplements. It’s a hot-button issue! Right up there with fiber, cholesterol and the new shingles shot.
Snow removal is also a dependable crowd-pleaser at cocktail parties. Although I don’t engage in any part of this arduous process, save for a light sprinkle of Morton’s salt on occasion, I am thrilled to be part of any conversation that involves snow removal. Whether you’re grumbling about plowing contractors, waxing profound on gas versus electric snow blowers or debating the newest deicing salt, you can be sure spellbound revelers will find this topic as sexy as it is.
Finally, it’s always entertaining to crow about our superior winter driving skills. Bring up any Southern city that’s been crippled by a wimpy dusting of snow — oh, the closings! oh, the fender benders! — and you’ll have a crowd assembled in no time.
Still on the fence? Well, Albany’s not too far away and TP talk never fails to excite a crowd.
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is avpalumbo@aol.com.