Life is short and the time we have is valuable. We should avoid wasting our precious few moments by listening to people with nothing to say and who say it loudly. With this in mind, you may want to stop reading.

Of the time-wasters, the most perilous is the incessant narcissist, the person who unscrupulously launches a barrage of self-involved, disinteresting anecdotes on whomever he or she can. Their talk is so meager in substance, so utterly shallow, so indicative of their pathetic nature that it has been known to cause seizures. But most of us listen anyway, out of politeness, out of habit or out of a misguided fear of being socially ostracized. Nothing, however, is worth enduring the throes of the narcissist’s mind’s vomit. You should be making every effort to escape their wrath instead of dissembling your pain with an approving face and a steady feeding of banal interjections.

First try invoking the tragedy. Inform your eager-mouthed companion that you have just lost a close relative, or you have recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease, or your penis or bosom is too small to ever allow you happiness, and be sure to affect a convincingly mournful tone and heavy pout. A depressing tale can often perform the miracle of rendering the garrulous silent, but the truest narcissists will find a way to invert the conversation regardless of circumstances. For instance, if you say, “My mother is dying of cancer,” without missing a beat, the person will respond, “Oh my God, what a coincidence, my mom is dyeing her hair blonde! Like, I don’t think it looks good on her, but she’s been crazy since menopause so whatever. Yesterday, when I was talking to her on the phone she said the funniest thing about chicken…” and so forth.

If sorrow and suffering don’t shut the fool up, maybe a more direct attack on his or her senses will. Biological warfare can be very, very effective. Scratch your groin regularly, and wipe your hand on their face. Cough, sneeze, spit, fart and burp as much as possible, creating a nauseatingly septic atmosphere that will drive away even the filthiest rats. Each time you send a glob of mucus in your antagonist’s direction, be sure to mutter under your breath, “Damn this AIDS of mine.”

In your righteous crusade to avoid irritation, don’t be afraid to present yourself as a social, ethnic or political enemy. This is one context where prejudice opens up a number of opportunities. Determine what the babbler loathes. Take whatever this narcissist finds most despicable or makes the ignoramus’s skin crawl, and attack him or her with it. If he or she hates dogs, recite a litany of cute puppy memories from childhood. If the irritant is orthodox of any religion, delve into a graphic description of all the fluids and orifices involved in your most recent homosexual orgy. If the egoist is pro-life, find a fetus and eat it. And if you’re not sure what he or she is, pretend you’re Jewish. Hopefully the buffoon will walk away disgusted rather than be provoked to violence, but the risk is well worth it.

If nothing else works, run away and hide behind a tree. Our campus is full of large trees with wide trunks that provide oxygen, shade and great hiding places.

The most radical strategy, which should only be employed under dire circumstances, is “Guerrilla Tactics.” When the perpetrator is quickly and mercilessly killing your desire to live, and is too tenacious to be discouraged by any of your previous efforts, this may be your last chance. First, cup your hand, then place in under your anus and poop into it. Make careful aim at your target, and throw your hand’s contents with all your strength; 99.9 percent of people you hit with your feces will never bother you again. The 0.1 percent that are unperturbed will probably end up in a mental institution soon enough. If the police become involved, say you mistook the victim for a toilet because they were so full of shit, and a few minutes of questioning should validate your claim.

Daily Nexus columnist Zach Phillips wrote this column from the safety of his tree house, far away from “those kinds of people.”