Tonight I had the opportunity to attend Des Moines, Iowa Salvation Army's annual dinner. It's one of those civic functions to let the community know what we're doing, to raise money to continue what we're doing, and to generate interest in volunteers to help us do what we're doing.
I don't particularly like these kind of functions. They require small talk and sociability - not things I'm terribly good at doing. But I put on my 'happy face' (or, at least, the best version of it that I can manage). At our table, before the meal was served, I introduced myself to the gentleman seated to my right, and he likewise introduced himself to me. He mentioned that he'd grown up Catholic but that he now attends another denomination. Doing my best to be sociable, I tried to enter into a conversation with him, "So what do you think of the new Pope?"
I could tell immediately that I had made a mistake. A terrible mistake...
He frowned. No. He scowled at me and said, "I don't like a lot of his comments," and then he attacked his desert.
I let my wife handle the conversations from that point forward.