I get that I’m opening myself to all sorts of public ridicule with this topic. I do. It’s like talking about how to fight and then getting knocked out with the first punch.
That said, dear readers, some of you need a crash (course) in the trash.
1. Figure out if you can take a joke. The golden rule is that if you dish it out, you have to take it. No exceptions. If you can’t, stop reading now.
2. Think of trash talk like a good practical joke—a lot of thinking and planning goes into pulling it off, no one gets hurt, nothing gets personal and everyone has a good laugh.
3. “Your mom” is not an acceptable retort. Some people take it personally and, as a joke, it’s older than, well, your mom.
4. Start small. There’s no need to bring up the early 1990 Buffalo Bills out of the gate. Save that for when it really counts.
5. Remember that trash talk is a spectator sport. Be creative with your comebacks. Work on your timing. Play to the crowd. Don’t sign autographs—it’s too showy.
6. Familiarize yourself with conventional joke structures. A classic is the old: Your (mom/quarterback/taste in music) is so (old/fat/out of touch) that (her wedding ring started as coal/linemen feel thin/it’s come back around).
7. Dive in. Try something out. Take your lumps. Learn from them. And one day, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to get made fun of by me (see what I did there?).