Back when we lived in Edna and I was teaching 6th grade language arts and coaching junior high girls (see my Archives: “The bright lights of Muleshoe are shining like diamonds…,” September 4, 2009) several of us carpooled the drive to Victoria to work on our Master’s degrees at University of Houston Victoria: two coaches, one assistant principal, the athletic director/head coach, and me. I was outnumbered four to one when it came to music choices and topics of conversation.

We hadn’t made but one or two trips over when I started talking about something, who knows what after all this time, that was of no interest to my fellow male commuters, and I was sort of politely interrupted by head coach Bud Jackson. “We can’t talk about that.”

“Why not?” I asked, falling right into his trap.

“It’s not one of the three main topics,” Bud said, dead serious.

Well, I knew it was expected of me and I was hooked by now, so I asked, “Okay, then, what are the three main topics?”

The twinkle in his eye told me it was all he could do to keep from smiling when he said, “Football, sex, and drinking, not necessarily in that order…”

We made that drive twice a week that semester, and I tried really hard to make sure the topics I brought up fit the criteria in some way or another, and sometimes it was a real stretch. If I had known I would have a reason to share any of those conversations, and some of them were doozies, I would have written them down, but alas, I had no idea I would ever have an audience with whom to share them. Later  after an unpleasant confrontation with some insufferable jerk, someone added gilded anal orifices to the list, which broadened our horizons a bit, because we all had stories dealing with that subject. Imagine, a bunch of coaches coming up with an almost politically correct euphemism way before  political correctness wormed its way into our lexicon.

When the sports seasons changed, the football component changed to whatever was being coached at the time-football was always their favorite, though-they took the Edna Cowboys to the state semi-final game in 1979, after all- but we never seemed to be at a loss for something to talk about to help us pass the time over to and back from Victoria on those nights. Some nights, and this was back before open container laws and all, someone would spring for a six-pack to share on the trip home, and that always seemed to bring up drinking stories. And six shared by five kept us from doing anything stupid. The sex part, well, that one was a bit trickier, and they saved  the best stories for the coaches’ office, so I didn’t get to hear those.

To this day, I remember those trips as being happy and pleasant, and the three main topics concept is still a relevant idea. The topics changed, of course, but I find three main topics to be a handy way to organize thoughts, scrapbooks, chit-chat, to-do lists, serious discussion, whatever. Now I have a hard time limiting it to just three topics, but that’s okay, too. Narrowing down to three helps to focus on what’s really important.

What are your main topics?