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Baseball players make up fake jobs to avoid awkward conversations with strangers

Have you ever found yourself 15 minutes into a useless and interminable conversation with a total stranger at a social function and wondered where you went wrong to end up like this? Was it the moment you allowed him to make eye contact? Maybe you shared a personal detail that he found a bit too interesting.

Presumably, baseball players find themselves in this situation all the time because they have a very interesting fact about themselves: They're professional baseball players! Most small talk is built around asking what someone does, so this could end up being a pretty big problem if left unaddressed.

How do big leaguers avoid this unfortunate fate? Fake jobs.

According to a piece on ESPN.com on Thursday, players make up all sorts of fake jobs to avoid long conversations with strangers in public. Some of these phony careers are pretty standard, like construction worker (Mike Zunino) and shoe salesman (Khris Davis).

Others, however, are completely made up. For example, Braves pitcher Kevin Gausman moonlights as a blimp folder. He even has a full description of his day at work: "I just fly around with the pilot and make sure to type in the right things. Sometimes we'll have football games, and you have to type in 'Go Patriots' or 'There's free Bud Light after the game,' and then we land, and we deflate the blimp, and I start folding. It takes a long time. Usually a couple of hours, but I try to get it done pretty quick."

Zack Britton posed as a football pylon manufacturer to unrivaled success. "The guy lost interest immediately," he said. "It's not a conversation starter -- it's a conversation ender. And that's kind of the whole point."

You'd think players would occasionally get caught in their lies. Someone out there has to be skeptical about a person claiming to make a living off of folding blimps. But, the article suggests that they often get away with it. Maybe they're just really good liars, but Gausman has another, more likely, explanation: "I guess people just aren't that smart."

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