An Amusing Party Game

Here is a party game recommended by my uncle Nathaniel Hartshorne, who is also one of my favorite authors.

Uncle Nat used to find himself at parties where he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Maybe he still does, I don’t know. Has that ever happened to you?

Well what he used to do was to look around for the person, generally a guy, who was saying something, but the people he was saying it to had moved away and he was talking to no one in particular and was looking around to see if anyone else was listening. You know that guy?

Then he would acknowledge the guy and listen, and nod understandingly from time to time.

The game was to see how long someone would talk to a perfect stranger who never uttered a word in reply — well maybe a word or two, but no more — how long would this person would carry on a completely one-sided conversation?

Uncle Nat said that eventually, after some period of time, the guy would recognize that he had been doing all the talking and would, out of courtesy, say, “So what’s your name?” and UN would tell him.

“And what do you do?”

“I’m a novelist.”