Hard Touching Meat Puppets

[STORE UPDATE] Thanks to the diligence of the Blind Ferret team, the HijiNKS Ensue Store is un-hacked, re-upped and back-backed! I’ve lost over a 1/4 of my merch revenue for the month (and Jan/Feb are already slow months) so let’s all go celebrate by BUYING SOMETHING!!!

My temporary PRINT SHOP with my BRAND NEW “TESLA UNCOILED” print and many of my most popular large prints is still up and running and probably will be until I return from JoCo Cruise Crazy 3. Get on that mess while you can!

Thanks to my friend Kris who helped with the title and some of the dialog for this comic. We had a sleepover and wrote comics in our jammies. I believe our jammy session also resulted in THIS. We’ve been doing some other writing as well that may soon yield… results. SERIOUS RESULTS.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever tried to fake your way through a conversation about a topic you knew nothing about? For me, I often laugh at things people say that have the proper cadence of a joke (good timing, good delivery, etc) even if I don’t get the reference. Then if they follow up with, “So you’ve seen that?” I just give a shameful yet stern, “No.”

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  1. I've definitely had a few conversations with people discussing movies I have never seen. My memory is weird, and I tend to remember movies/shows/books really well. Even just previews. Somehow just from remembering previews I'm able to fake my way through it. Also play off of their reactions or I'll do something along the lines of "Oh yea, when they were, um.." and act like it's on the tip of my tongue and they'll usually fill in the blank. If someone is passionate about something, it's easy to let them do most of the talking while feigning interest. I don't do this to be mean, but to see how long I can go without the person realizing I have no idea what they're talking about.

    • Oh and getting bored and reading wikipedia plot summaries for movies that I will never see, but find intriguing enough to see what the whole story was.

      • That's how I feel about the "teasers" and promo's. Why watch something which isn't going anywhere or I know isn't going to tell me anything, and needs summary research/prior nerddom to mean anything.

  2. I have this horrible habit where someone will say "Have you seen/heard/read X?" and I'll just automatically respond "Yeah," even though I know I haven't. I don't know why I do it. Maybe I feel like I should have? Then I have to fake my way through the rest of the conversation.

    Helpful lines! "Uhh… there were so many good parts, I can't choose my favorite." "It was a long time ago and I don't remember much of it." "It was on in the background and I was only sort of paying attention, so I missed a bunch."

  3. Verily, I did see the Hand Egg tossing contest! The Birds of Darkness WERE able to endure the meat assault of the vaguely math based tribe! What a thrilling champion based contest it was… what with all the feats of strength… and things… uh… happening. Yes. Very exciting!

    Can I go now?

    • Easy rules to football:
      Visit self-proclaimed "fans" during "the game."
      Study their habits – especially which team appears to be the favorite of the "fans". (FYI – guys in black pants and BW striped shirt are not a "team".)
      Then choose one of two options:
      A) when the "fan" cheers, cheer along; when the "fan" looks sad, look sad too – choosing the same "team"
      B) when the "fan" cheers, look sad; when the "fan" looks sad, cheer – choosing the opposite "team"

      Only rules you need to know are how to deal with football fans.

    • I was in marching band for five years. I sat through every single game, and this is all I learned:

      1. When people wearing our jersey hold the ball, play offense songs
      2. When people wearing not our jersey hold the ball, play defense songs (or don't play at all)
      3. If someone wearing our jersey carries the ball to one end of the field and people start cheering, play fight song

      • Seriously? There's different songs depending on who has the egg? Wow.

        Are you D&D bards? What kind of buffs do the music grant players?

        • They get +X to whatever saving throws they make, depending on their stats, class, and how well the bards play.
          You also have to *hear* the music playing, so you don't get any bennies if you aren't listening to it while moving the egg about, or stopping the egg from moving.

    • Sometimes I don't think the players and referees know the rules, either.
      The trick, for me as a viewer, is to follow the same rule as I did in little league: keep your eye on the ball.

  4. I often find myself having to fake my way through conversations about soccer

    Not a huge problem unless you live in SoCal (aka lil mexico) where soccer is a surprisingly prevalent sport

    I hate soccer, i only know the basics and that all the pro players make me feel fat

  5. I completely relate to this, because I've always found US football incredibly dull. For some reason though, I just love Australian Football (note – NOT rugby or soccer; different sport entirely). It's weird because it's the only exception to me lacking the into-pro-sports thing. I think the AFL's 2009 ad is probably about the best 60-second introduction to the game I've seen for the probably most of you who've never heard of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz7b-SmQFT0

  6. I do it for a living. When you made that "I don't ask you to network shit when you're not working" joke at the party after I said you should draw dicks on people with a Sharpie, I had the urge to say "That's not what I do!"

    Instead, I said nothing. Because most days I have no fucking idea what it is I do. But supposedly, I'm pretty OK at it.

    Whatever it is.

  7. Whenever someone starts talking about car parts and repairs (which is quite often) I start the bullshit parade and try to fit whatever physics I know in there to at least half-ass what I'm talking about. Give 'er the ole college try as they say.

  8. I made a pretty good career out of faking my way through conversations. If I had time to prepare, I would whatever I could in as much time as I had (usually an hour or less). I've found that, to be extremely successful at faking your way through a conversation you need two things, one of which is mandatory- confidence; and the other which is less mandatory- enjoyment for learning something new.

  9. I'm really bad at recognizing faces, so most of my casual conversations involve trying to act like I totally remember who the other person is and why I should know them. Added awkwardness if I'm also having to pretend to have any idea what they're talking about.

    • OMG this. We used to fix computers in a VERY small town. I did the phone stuff. And I'd be out getting groceries and customers who I had never met face-to-face in my LIFE would come up to me, all chatty, and ask how their computer was coming, and I wouldn't know them from Adam.

      I'm pretty decent with names (matching them to the correct face, less so) though so I'd say to them, "Um, I'm not sure which system was yours offhand. What was the problem with it again?" And then I'd know which computer we were talking about, which meant that I then knew who the hell this random person was.

      I think they just assumed that I'd recognize their voice or something, or else just figured that since they knew what *I* looked like (as the only woman in town with waist-length hair and a super-blonde kid) it was automatically reciprocal.

  10. I must have been born before the "lie to be accepted" age, When someone asks me if I have seen (team brand name) play, I respond with, "I don't play Pokemon." Then I walk towards a better conversation.

    • yes, but you were also amongst the last to actually be able to TAKE A GUN TO SCHOOL.. strapped to your hip, no less… WITHOUT getting in ANY TROUBLE at all for it…
      (this is his wife.. and yes.. he did take a hand gun to school on several occasions and all he got was a snide look and a strong suggestion that he should go put it out in the car… rural Indiana, early 1980's… ah.. such innocence.. )

  11. Joel, this comic was another winner! Your dialogue in the last two panels was priceless! It sounded totally alien, and it looked like you were trying to initiate the Universal greeting from Transformers: http://transformers.wikia.com/wiki/Universal_Gree

    As for your question: I just laugh at their joke-like sayings and keep quiet until they say something that reminds me of something I know about, or they catch me staring blankly into space.

    • If people at work didn't talk about it, I probably wouldn't have remembered it until I read this comic. As it is, I didn't find out when it was happening until Saturday afternoon.

  12. One of the clerks at the 7-11 by me, wonderful guy, I've been going there for years, but he has a very heavy accent. North African, I believe. Since if I'm getting food at 7-11 rather than cooking something like an adult it usually means I'm tired, conversations usually involve me trying to understand him, catching what I *think* is some actual words and then re-framing everything else in terms of those misheard words. So I wind up saying nonsense to him that in my neurotic memory also sounds kinda racist, and then scamper out embarrassed because I won't admit I can't understand him through his accent. Not my finest hour.

    As for *intentional* bluffing of a topic, the closest I've come is trying to follow what my college friends are doing these days in physics and such. Some of them it's things I can understand, just more specialized than where I stopped learning. With others it's "well I'm trying to JHFGG the HGJGF TSREAW, but you know what that is right? It's basic quantum solid state, simple stuff." Smile and nod, smile and nod.

  13. I do that too, the laughing thing. Mostly in groups where I don't get what people are talking about. I try to keep my mouth shut apart from comments that have no actual relevancy to the conversation.

  14. I was recruited to host this years Super Bowl party. (new 70" flat screen) My guests were getting annoyed at me for referring to the teams only by their colors. Oh well. Next year they can buy their own damn nachos!

  15. I still remember this one time a classmate came up to me, saying in disbelief, "Can you believe (whoever) doesn't know who the Oilers are?!" At the time I just said something like "Wow. Really? No way." but today I'd have gone with my first impulse, which would have been to stare blankly and ask, "The who?"

  16. As a sports fan and computer programmer, I see a lot of this comic in my colleagues whenever I inadvertently mention something that my family would consider common knowledge. Always interesting to realise how different everyone can be while having so many other things in common.

    As for bluffing through conversations, yeah, all the damn time. And the honest "No, actually." to the follow up question is pretty common too!

    Sometimes it's a legitimate laugh because they've explained everything relevant to making the reference funny in their own set-up, but it still feels odd to laugh when supposedly you "wouldn't get it".

  17. Yeah I totally know what that's like. My job requires interacting with a lot of people that I don't know but need to talk to about stuff and apparently its a rule somewhere that two guys who don;t know each other have to start out a conversation with some sort of sportball talk. My solution? I've taken to listening to the radio on my way in to work and just stealing lines from the ten minute sport report.

  18. There's a great IT Crowd episode about a cellphone app that gives you the correct football related dialogue and inflections every day in order to talk to , ahem, real men. Hilarity ensues.

    • Did you see that ludicrous display last night? Best episode of all.

      Re. comic: I live in Baltimore. I hate football. (And crabs, but that's another show.) Life has been difficult these past few weeks because football has been inescapable. My local grocery store looks like the entire football franchise threw up on it.

      • That's why it was always nice to live in Ohio, where the sport teamses usually suck, or in a state w/o a national "professional" sports franchise.

        • Yeah, Ohio's professional teams are apparently bad (so I hear, anyway) but if you get too close to Columbus you'll find Buckeyes all over everything. I work at a grocery store there and during the college football season, "it looks like the entire football franchise threw up on it" is depressingly accurate. On game days we're even supposed to wear Buckeye shirts instead of our uniforms.

  19. I actually like sports-ball, but I went two years without having cable and was able to talk about (insert game here) as if I spent a few hours watching it. It was kinda funny… Sorta reminded me of what a fake psychic (is that redundant?) does when you let the other person fill in the blanks for you. Just start off with, "I'm bad with names" and you can just say stuff like, "That one play that the refs totally missed" and you're set.

    • You just described nearly all of "pro" sports…I like to think of it as the breaks that happen between commercials.

      • That's the one reason I can't handle American pro sports. NFL is pretty bad with the whole seperate teams thing (offence, defence and special plays? Just play the damn game…) but baseball seems like a cruel joke played on the endurance of fans…

        • I never much paid attention to the strikes and the salary negotiation, but the game Baseball seems straight forward enough, and is at least fun to watch (and fairly devoid of confusion).

          • I once made the mistake of trying to understand cricket by watching a game with my (English) stepdad. I gave up after fifteen minutes of basically nothing happening.
            Worst part: the next day he was watching again. I noticed that the team names were the same and asked if it was a repeat – only to be informed that IT WAS STILL THE SAME GAME! That is my own personal version of the "special hell".

  20. I do that often, and most of the time, I don't even know if I get away with it.

    Sometimes, I think people generally see me like a big, dopey puppy who will just be silly in any situation and never take seriously. I used to take offense, but then I realized that it's much lower maintenance this way.

    • I have a bad habit of self-depricating humor. It's a bad habit because people think I'm serious. If someone says "are you okay" and I reply "oh yeah, I just have a face that makes people ask that" the proper response is a chuckle, not an "aww."

      It's frustrating because I can't tell when people give me actual compliments and when they're trying to boost my esteem because they think I'm gonna jump in front of a bus. I've got one of those jowl-y faces that doesn't smile easily.

  21. High school. Late 90s. Learning (more) American geography, and needing to memorize it. In class some things were labelled, and I commented from North to South they spelled ACDC.

    *appreciative grunts from class at the mnemonic*
    Me: "Like electricity"
    *dead silence*
    Friend: "I was thinking the band."
    Me: "There's a band?"

    Yeah, he was even setting me up to do the smile and nod, and I missed it…

  22. I'm enough of a humor aficionado/practitioner that just from the cadence and delivery, I can tell what *kind* of joke they're making, and I can find the structure funny even if I don't understand the parties involved.
    You can tell yourself the same thing when you're laughing at something you don't get.

  23. I grew up with a baby brother who was taller and beefier than me by age thirteen (I was fifteen). He was a football player and all-around jock. I was a swimmer but never cared for team sports–even as a spectator event. Still, having to live with Baby Huey made it pretty easy for me to learn to get along with the giant, slow-witted aliens. I can b/a my way through conversations with aplomb. Being a reader and willing to look up everything helps.

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