Long Beach is an exciting city with a lot to talk about. Luckily, for those of us who don’t want to keep up with current events, remember changing trends, or generally be original in our thinking and conversation, Long Beach has a number of built-in conversation starters that have worked for decades.
These are sure to get you through any necessary 10-minute conversations with strangers ranging from Uber drivers to old guys sitting next to you on airplanes, your aunt’s weird best friend, or anyone else! Here they are in no particular order:
1. Snoop Dogg and Cameron Diaz: There’s nothing like breaking the news to someone that Long Beach’s two most famous celebrities went to Poly High School at the same time. The best part about this is that you don’t run the risk of wondering if the person you’re talking has already heard this “news.” I can guarantee you they have,but it doesn’t matter. It’s interesting enough for most people to throw you a bone and say, “No way, that’s super cool,” and want to talk about it.
2. The Traffic Circle: People that are not from Long Beach, but have driven the traffic circle, love to bring it up as if Long Beach natives will be impressed. We’re not, but that’s okay because most of us can “robot” ourselves through this one without much thought. Just give ‘em the ole,’ “Did you know the guy who invented the traffic circle’s son died while driving in the traffic circle?” Works every time. Is it true? No shot. But, who cares? It’s easy and edgy, and best of all, that person will tell the next 100 people he or she talks to and the legend will grow!
3. Diversity: There’s nothing better than making whoever you’re talking to feel like a bigot because they’re not from Long Beach, one of the most diverse cities on the planet.“I can’t imagine growing up in that bland, four-race town you grew up in. Did you know we have the biggest Cambodian population outside of Cambodia? Like, seriously, everyone in my high school class was from a different background. I feel bad about how sheltered you are. Like honestly, did you know that Snoop Dogg and Cameron Diaz went to the same high school in Long Beach?”
4. Sublime: The most famous band from Long Beach offers multiple talking points. Maybe you knew someone who knew someone who knew someone in Sublime. Or maybe you can slyly, and probably falsely, suggest that because Sublime is from the same city as you, that you are better at partying during the summertime than your conversational counterpoint. Or, you can always combo Sublime with Snoop Dogg and talk about marijuana.
5 . The Pike: If you’re old enough to remember The Pike in its glory days, then you’re probably already a seasoned vet at talking about how much fun The Pike used to be, how many people used to go there, and how simple times were back then. If you’re a young millennial like me looking to carry on a conversation with an elder Long Beach local, I suggest just starting off with a quick, “I wish I could have experienced The Pike like it used to be.” Then, sit back and let them do all the heavy lifting. Lord knows us millennials have enough to worry about growing up in these crazy times with our smartphones, social media, and our fidget-spinning, gluten-free celebrity role-models.
6. Poly in the NFL and Wilson in the Olympics: Two of the great facts about our city is that Poly High School has had more NFL Football products and Wilson High School has had more Olympian graduates than any other high schools in America. What’s really great is that these facts make great conversation and make us all feel like we’re somehow better athletes because we grew up near those high schools. Also, does anyone actually know if those statements are true? No idea, but I can name a few NFL football players from Poly and Olympians from Wilson so this seems like cold-hard-truth to me.
7. Long Beach State Pyramid: Did you know the big blue pyramid on Long Beach State’s campus is one of only three pyramid structures in North America and one of five in the whole wide world?
Or something like that. Again, as with most of this stuff, I’ve never actually done any research on it, but I’ve heard enough people say something along those lines that I am ready to spread the word as truth. The key is to give ‘em a stat on North America first and then spread it to the whole world. It elongates the sentence and therefore sounds more impressive.