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I could tell right off the bat that the discussion I had planned was going to be a tad more combative than I had anticipated. Usually it wasn't the employees who dictated the direction these powwows would take, but rather their significant others. The two that showed up were fierce, competitive men. Joshua didn't want to show it as much, but Jimbo was the alpha male through and through. He didn't give a shit who knew it either, as his chest would puff out anytime he felt his manhood was being even remotely challenged. This was going to lead to some heated exchanges that was for sure, as I hadn't seen that kind of hostility than what was tossed my way when I brought up Saudi Arabia. I wasn't expecting that kind of venom, but to be honest the Kingdom wasn't winning the PR battle at the moment, and this was a small sample of the current anger being tossed their way for various reasons.
"How about we expand on this vibe," I suggested, as I was eager to poke the bear and see what might shake out next. "Someone tell me an opinion they hold that is not popular."
"Define not popular." Josh requested.
"What I mean is a view that you're afraid to speak about," I explained, "Something that you fear to speak out about because people would think less of you. I'm not trying to provoke you guys, just trying to see where you guys stand before I ask more focused questions."
"So opinions that we think are true," Nicholas said, "But are too shy to admit to... like if we subscribe to any particular conspiracy theories?"
"It doesn't have to be that out there," I answered, "Who wants to go first?"
There was a short pause, as the five guests at the table didn't know where to start.
"Come on, Jim." Rachel said, nudging him. "You have a ton of these stashed away. You talk about them all the time."
"Alright," Jimbo said, as he slowly took a deep breath. "I think Helen Keller is a fraud."
"That's one I haven't heard," I said, smiling at the thought. "Explain."
"Well," Jimbo said, as he sat up in his chair, "If we are to believe history, Helen lost her hearing and her sight when she was less than two years of age. They say she was only 19 months of age when she became impaired. Even if she knew a few words by then, she was barely educated and you expect me to believe that she could earn a B.A. without sight or hearing? No way, I call bullshit."
"So how do you think she learned how to do all that?" Angie asked.
"One of two ways," Jimbo replied, "Either she only lost one sense, and faked the loss of the other or her teacher did all the work for her. The people of her time were too trusting, to naive, and too dumb to see through it."
"That's interesting," I said, amused by the theory.
"I think I understand where you're going." Nicholas said, "If someone tried to pull this off today, the internet would expose it rather quickly. Because it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s, that why Keller and her teacher were able to pull off this clear swindle. I'm sold."
"What about you Nicolas?" I asked him. "What view do you hold that is seen as controversial?"
Nicholas paused for a moment. "9/11 was an inside job."
There was an odd groan, and even a few laughs, but I wanted to make sure Nicholas' views were respected.
"A lot of people suspect that," I added, "But there is no proof to back up that claim."
"Hard to find proof when it was destroyed," Nicholas replied, "All the scrap metal was destroyed before any investigator could go through it. Typical cover up."
"That's just a conspiracy theory," Angie blurted out.
"So was the Gulf of Tonkin," Jimbo said, "And that one turned out to be true, and so have a few others in the last decade."
"That's a good point," I concurred, "We can't dismiss something so quickly."
"Look at it this way," Jimbo continued, "Are these the luckiest terrorists in the history of terrorism, or was someone asleep at the wheel that day, or was someone ordered to stand down? I have a hard time believing that NORAD would allow anything to fly around unchecked for two hours. The one day the shit hits the fan and they respond like the keystone cops? No was in hell I'm not buying that load of bull."
"I also have a hard time with buildings that defy the laws of physics." Nicholas agreed, "Buildings are not capable of collapsing at free fall speeds. Not without assistance, such as demo charges."
"The buildings were hit by planes!" Mrs. Parsons retorted, "That was totally unexpected."
"Not if you read books by Tom Clancy or Stephen King," Josh added, "They came up with the idea of using commercial airliners as weapons decades before that fateful day."