Conversation Killers

Conversation Killers

Conversation bubble

Conversation Killers.

When a conversation comes to a screeching halt.

When someone pulls the emergency brake during a discussion.

Sure.  You’ve been involved in a gabfest when something is said that suddenly sucks the air out of the room.

And if you have multiple sclerosis, the guilty conversation killer may just be your illness!

I’ve had many conversation killers over the years, but here are two recent episodes I’ll share.

The first involved a lady who cleans my Mom’s house.

French maid costume



This is NOT a picture of the woman helping my mother.

This lady was in her mid-70’s.

We were having a chit-chat about the usual stuff…the weather…the summer ect, ect.

I asked her how many houses she cleans.  And how busy she must be.

Then, she turned the conversation to me.  Where I lived…my family ect, ect.

Finally, she asked “What do you do?”

I replied…”I’m on disability.”

(Musical Fanfare)….”Da Da Da Daaaaaaah”

(Cue the “Crickets” SFX)

Tip your wait staff.  Thank you.  Good night!

You would have thought I told her I was a serial killer.

dried apple doll head

Her face drew inwards like a dried apple doll.

If she sucked in her lips any further, she would have swallowed her chin.

She quickly turned around and went back to cleaning without saying another word.

O-K.  So, that’s awkward, I thought.  Guess it’s time to leave the room.  This small talk is over.

My other recent conversation killer occurred early one morning with the ring of our doorbell.

Spasticity had my legs in a Vice-Grip.  I was waiting for my morning Baclofen tab to kick-in as I slowly wall-walked to the door.

newspaperThere stood a man who introduced himself as my newspaper delivery person.

He had just been assigned this route and wanted to say hi.

In the midst of his chatter, he paused and asked…”What’s wrong with you?”

“I have MS,” I said.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh  (I wondered if he could draw out the ‘Oh’ any further!)..

…that’s bad,” he said.  (Yeah, no shit Sherlock.)

He continued…”My Aunt has MS (Seems everyone has an Aunt with MS, doesn’t it?)…”She’s nnnnnnnn” and shook his head from side to side.

All right, thanks for the morning vote of confidence, Dr. Phil!

Now run along before I embed a carbon-fiber AFO in the back of your skull.

And there you have it.  The condensed Reader’s Digest versions of my two latest “conversation killers.”

How about you?  Have you had a tactless situation lately?

What was said?  How did it make you feel?

I’ve come to realize this won’t be my last awkward situation.  Because with MS, or any number of “gitchy-goomies,” you are bound to hear stupid stuff from time to time.

We simply must take it all in stride….a short, shuffling stride.


8 Replies to “Conversation Killers”

  1. Yep, been there, done that. Examples too numerous, but one recent experience stands out. At our friends’ 4th of July party, an old acquaintance of the hosts was there. When he saw me on the walker, he asked if I was injured (I really, really, really don’t look ill.) I told him I had MS, and he said, “Gee, that must be rough.” All eyes were then on me, and I felt sooooo uncomfortable.

  2. I think my MS is obvious since I am usually in a scooter with a MS TShirt on….I wear those a lot since I get tired of the ?? wondering what happened to me.
    Then me and my old people start comparing health problems:)…..I like your idea of a house cleaner:)

  3. I am usualy the conversation killer because I can’t remember what I was just talking about, or what I was going to say next!

  4. My conversations get killed, when I’m in a conversation, and the other person gets a call on their cell phone.

  5. I think next time an elderly person asks what you do for a living you should tell them you are a blogger! Since they will likely have no idea what that is, it will also kill the conversation. But it will be fun to watch them try to figure out what that means…..

  6. Another theory is that the cleaning lady bit her tongue and turned away because she was upset that a handsome middle-aged man with all of his limbs and a reasonable amount of hair was on disability while she, in her mid-seventies, still had to work. I mean, wouldn’t that tick YOU off?