Ah, the "fiscal cliff." What is it, and, far more important, how can you talk about it?
The fiscal cliff is what loomed over your decades of protesting that "really, what I want is to discuss the big issues, like adults."
Here's a big issue. Are you ready to talk?
If you truly want to understand the fiscal cliff, there are places to go.
If, on the other hand, you are merely worried about the talking side of things, relax! There are Fiscal Cliff Notes.
Fiscal Cliff Notes serve the same purpose as regular Cliffs Notes: namely, to defer as long as possible the realization among your listeners that you have not the faintest idea what you are talking about.
A few suggestions:
1) Try to baffle your listeners with literary references.
"Ah, the Wuthering Heights of the Fiscal Cliff," you say. "Did you know that 'wuther' means 'to blow with a dull roaring sound'? Fascinating. Does anyone need another drink?"
"Is this a real fiscal cliff, or is this a case where the Disguised Edgar of President Barack Obama's re-election semi-mandate is leading the Blinded Gloucester of Republican obstructionism to a slight hillock and urging him to leap, thereby ensuring that his self-destructive urges will be harmlessly spent?"
"I think it's on Page 389 of 'Finnegan's Wake' that James Joyce really gets to the heart of this question."
2) Pick one word of four or more syllables and overuse it. The more the merrier.
"I think it all comes down to sequestration."
"Really, what's at stake here is: Do we want to subject the American economy to floccinaucinihilipilification?"
3) In lieu of discussing the cliff, just describe the plot of the most recent episode of "Breaking Bad" you've seen.
"There seems to be increasing tension in the White House, and what about breakfast?"
4) Try to work the phrase "double-dip recession" into the conversation. This gains points, but it is possible to go too far.
Good: "We must avoid the nightmare of a double-dip recession."