I Had No Idea

I was such a great conversationalist

Joe Merkle
3 min readAug 12, 2022


Photo by Joe Woods on Unsplash

Sixty-nine years. I’ve been alive sixty-nine years and have just recently discovered I am a great conversationalist. How did I discover this? It started when my wife’s dementia went into overdrive three years ago. I had to carry the burden of seventy-five percent of our conversations. That eventually turned to one-hundred percent.

During this time I also had our dog Chewy to converse with. Our conversations were rather limited. He would say “feed me, I have no water, walk me”. Occasionally he would say “I love you.”

My wife died fifteen months ago. Chewy died four months ago. These events were the catalyst for my mastering the art of conversation. It was hard at first. It took painstaking effort to decipher what the walls were trying to say to me. I finally gave up trying to decipher their language. It’s worse than Russian. They gave up as well. Whatever stories they have been trying to share with me will be left in the dustbin of history. At least I know the walls are still listening.

After graduating from wall talk I expanded my verbal skills to include photos hanging on those walls. At least they had stories to tell. Sadly, when I would quiz them with the “do you remember” questions all I got in return was silence. It’s like asking your three-year-old “What did you do?’ as he stands silent over a plate of spaghetti lying on the floor.

Just recently I graduated with honors to conversing with myself. The conversations most often go something like this. Question, “What are you going to do today?” Answer, “No clue.” Question, “What time is it?” Answer, “Who cares.” Question, “Is it laundry day?” Answer, “Don’t know. What day is it?”

Now those are my more stimulating conversations in a day. Occasionally I have real conversations with real people. And fake people. And real people that are faking it. Or are they fake people pretending to be real? Wow. This will definitely be a conversation worth having. Hm-mm. I do have several trees that don’t seem too busy.

Time to sharpen those verbal skills. Perhaps one day in the future my vocabulary will expand beyond fifty words. Scary. That could overload what little I have left for a brain. I see assisted living in my future. I will amaze my…



Joe Merkle

I write about love, life, loss, kindness, and gratitude. Toss in some fiction and humor and you have the meanderings of a multifarious writer.