What do you say to make conversations with strangers?
Columnist LZ Granderson writes about the one question that only Americans ask first when they meet someone new (and it's true, whenever I travel abroad, no one ever asks me this question - not at first, anyhow):
There isn't a question that's more quintessentially American than "What do you do for a living?"
It is just safe enough to start a conversation with a stranger, it is universal enough so anyone can answer, and it strikes right to the core of what our culture values most -- money. [...]
Since the end of the 20th century, "What do you do for a living?" has ceased to be an inquiry about how someone spends their time during normal business hours and instead serves as a slightly grating, socially acceptable manner in which we remind each other of the stuff we don't have or will never get.