Life lessons from Chubby (my dad) and other smart folks I’ve met on the road.
1960. Zipping along I-75. Just Chubby and me.
We had just left Cincinnati to vacation in Northern Michigan. Mom and Linda (my sister) trailed in the car behind.
Suddenly Chubby looked over and said, “Greg, let’s play the Two Sentence Game.”
“The Two Sentence Game?” I replied. “What’s that?”
“For the rest of the trip neither of us can say more than two sentences before allowing the other to speak.”
“What are we going to talk about?” I asked.
“Anything we like,” Dad replied. “But whatever you say, do it in two sentences and then let me speak.”
“OK,” I said.
“One more thing,” he explained.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Respond in your first sentence. Ask me a question with your second. Then be quiet, OK?”
“What’s the point of the game?” I asked.
“You really want to know?” Chubby replied.
“Yeah, I really do,” I answered.
“It’s great practice for talking on the phone,” Dad explained.
“People lose attention quickly when you’re not right there. In phone conversations you need to talk in short bursts and ask lots of questions to keep others thinking, talking and fully engaged.”
(Dad had a great point. I had a friend. He was a non-stop talker. One night I fell asleep with the phone at my ear.)
“Ready to play?” Dad asked.
“Let’s go,” I exclaimed.
And we did. Eight-straight hours. Two sentences each. Respond with the first sentence. Ask a question with the second.
Totally fun. Hard at first. Easy in time. Best conversation we ever had.
What did I learn on that Michigan drive?
A comment. A question. Silence.
How to keep people awake on the phone.