A pause suddenly fell on our conversation—one of those uncomfortable lapses when we sit with fixed smiles, searching our minds for some remark with which to fill up the unseasonable silence. It was only a moment—’But suppose,’ I said to myself with horrible curiosity, ‘suppose none of us had found a word to say?’

It is the dread of Something happening, Something monstrously awful, that makes us do anything to keep the flicker of talk from dying out. So travellers at night in an unknown forest keep their fire ablaze, in fear of Wild Beasts lurking in the darkness ready to leap upon them.

— Logan Pearsall Smith, All Trivia: A Collection of Reflections & Aphorisms

A few months ago, I achieved something of a life goal: I made it through an entire business lunch without having to say a single word in conversation. (The Lady of the House handles all that stuff; I’m just her arm candy.) Next, I’d like to go an entire work day without having to speak to anyone.  I was voted “quietest” in both seventh and eighth grade, so I think I have a good chance. A guy I used to work with said with surprise, upon hearing me talk one day, that he had thought I was mute, which I took as a compliment. I’ve been called everything from rude to mentally retarded. I’ve basically been in training for this challenge since childhood. I’m gonna take gold in the Taciturn Olympics.