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Keller @ Large: How You Can Change The Subject

BOSTON (CBS) - I can't remember which cable TV channel I heard it on the other night after the debate, but it was one of those panels of talking-head surrogates. You know, the campaign groupies they put on there to spout partisan talking points, as if this is of any use or interest to the viewer?

Anyway, the host asked one of them a question they didn't want to answer, so they started answering some other question, and the host said: "don't change the subject."

That struck me as a funny request coming after a debate in which both candidates worked very hard to change the subject as often as possible, with mixed results.

It was frustrating to listen to, if you cared about getting a straight answer, but it occurred to me that outside of the realm of the slippery pols, there's really nothing wrong with changing the subject.

In fact, it is one of life's premiere coping mechanisms.

I am often out at social functions where people want to have lengthy discussions with me on topics I don't really want to discuss, so I've become adept at turning the conversation elsewhere. If I don't know anything about them, it's usually sports or movies, or if I'm really desperate, their kids or hobbies.

Experts say you can easily change the subject by complimenting someone's knowledge of what they're rambling on about and asking how they they learned so much.

Or, they say, play word association and tell them their topic reminds you of another, more interesting one.

But let's face it, we're going to need all the changing the subject tricks we can muster to come together after November 8th.

Who wants to join me in proclaiming the month after the election a politics-free zone?

Listen to Jon's commentary:

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