If it weren’t for the weather, 90 percent of the population could not begin a conversation, someone once observed.

We have often heard that we should not discuss sex, politics or religion in polite society. So what’s left?

I have been a longtime admirer of TV journalist Barbara Walters and her ability as a premier interviewer. In her autobiography, ”Audition: A Memoir,” she lists these suggestions as conversation starters:

Question No. 1: If you are not doing the work you are now doing, what would you most like to be doing?

I loved my work so this is a no-brainer for me.

Question No. 2: If you could live at any time in history, in which period would you have wished to live?

I love living in this technology age. Period.

Question No. 3: If you could be any person in history, who would you be?

I’d want to be Eve and tell that snake to go slithering off under some rock, and then I’d make an apple pie for Adam instead of leading him astray and getting us banished from the Garden of Eden.

Question No. 4:  If you were given $1 million that you could only spend on yourself, what is the first thing you would buy?

A painless spinal cord that modern medicine could come up with.

Question No. 5: Who would you want to be in the bed next to you if you were hospitalized for three months?

The obvious answer is the best doctor in the world. But aside from that, I’d like to have one of the great philosophers of long ago, such as Aristotle, Plato, Socrates (because he was deemed by one of the oracles to be the wisest of all men because he knew how little he knew).

Or historical figures such as Washington, Adams or Jefferson.

Humorists, such as Mark Twain, Will Rogers. Humorists who once met at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, such as Dorothy Parker, or Robert Benchley.

My list is endless. I can’t just pick one.

I will put the names in a hat and draw one.

Try this at a social gathering. It could prove interesting, and more fun than charades.