CHICAGO—Pushing themselves to their mental limits as they plumbed the deepest recesses of their brains for suitable topics to discuss, coworkers Stephen Jones and Alan Madigan, who unexpectedly ran into one another on the subway Friday morning, each reportedly exerted a herculean level of effort to sustain their conversation for the entire 25-minute commute into work. “Barbara mentioned that we might be getting a new coffeemaker,” said Madigan to his colleague, as both expended near-superhuman amounts of psychological energy to recall any common interest or shared workplace experience that they could talk over with the other until arriving at their downtown office. “I thought the old one was fine. Yeah, so do you have any plans for the weekend?” After a seemingly interminable period of mentally strenuous back-and-forth, the pair reportedly struck on complaining about their other officemates, allowing them to keep the conversation moving along effortlessly for the remaining 11 minutes of the train ride.

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