Read this first! A 30-second summary of me and this blog!

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My name is Neil Pasricha and here’s me in 30 seconds!

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#887 Talking about how much the meal you just made at home would cost at a restaurant

twenty-thirty-bucks-at-least1It all starts with a recipe downloaded off the Internet.

Then there’s the new item on the grocery store shopping list, the big soup pot or fancy barbecue tools you haven’t used in a while, and about an hour of commotion in the kitchen.

Finally everyone takes a seat and out pops a steaming slab of lasagna or some glistening T-bone steaks with fancy side dishes. And as drinks are poured, plates are filled, and everyone starts digging into the meal, somebody lobs up the big question.

“Hey, what do you think this would cost in a restaurant?”

And it’s a great conversation, because now in addition to the feeling of eating good food with friends or family, you get a nice little bonus Cheapskate High, too.


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#888 Peeing in a pool or lake

take-a-dip1Okay, admit it.

You’ve done it, I’ve done it, we’ve all done it together.

And sure, peeing in the pool is a bit of a social faux pas, but dang girl, it sure feels good, doesn’t it? After all:

  • Mini hot-tub. You get that classic hot cloud effect, where suddenly there’s a nice warm water-diaper hanging around you. Yeah, yeah, it’s gross, but don’t worry. It’s sterile.
  • Feel that drain. Because holding it in isn’t good for you, either. So just let it out, let your bladder relax, and enjoy the feeling.
  • It’s a secret. Unless you tell others, of course, which isn’t recommended. But there’s something sweet about keeping this one real quiet. Especially because the pool’s probably half urine, anyway. Admitting you just peed will result in everyone else admitting they peed, too.

Now, peeing in a lake is a decent alternative, but without the big dose of chlorine you might actually get someone sick if they go under and swallow a mouthful. And that just really wouldn’t be funny.

No, it wouldn’t be funny at all.



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#889 When the first break in billiards is that big giant crack

You can just hear it

I am a terrible pool player.

Yet, despite this, whenever someone at a bar asks me to play against them or be their partner, I’m like sure, yeah, I’m totally in.

I mean, I’m having a good time, I’m in a good mood, so I sort of tipsily swagger over to the cue rack on the wall and pretend to be sizing them up. “Oh man, all the good ones are gone,” I always say extremely loudly, my eyes darting around at the other players with a sad little “Yeah, it’s true,” head nod, being careful to plant seeds of disappointment early so nobody expects me to actually sink a ball.

Chalk that cue

After that, I begin a desperate search for chalk. “Gotta have some chalk, gotta have some chalk,” I’ll mumble, as I walk in circles around the pool table, looking underneath it and in all the pockets until I find some. And when I do, I really go to town. Honestly, I rub my pool cue in that chalk and twist it around tightly, and then I flare the edges to cover up all the missed spots.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll keep chalking my cue until somebody breaks. The goal here is to avoid eye contact until the game starts, because otherwise I might be asked to break, and that’s never a pretty sight.

No, the four or five times I’ve foolishly agreed to kick-off the game end up embarrassing everyone involved. I’ll generally skid the cue off the side of the cueball, sending it wildly spinning directly into a side pocket. Or I’ll get under the ball by accident and send it flying across the bar, where it’ll softly roll up against the boot of some pony-tailed, tattooed biker dude, who will then shoot me a cold, piercing stare and begin punching his fist into his palm.

8-ballNo, it’s better for everyone if I avoid the break. Frankly, I shouldn’t even be playing.

But what I will do if I can is peek up from my obsessive chalking just before the break, so I can watch the break, because I love the break, because the break is great. I mean, it’s an explosive crack that rises above the background bar buzz, and captures everyone’s attention as the balls fly in all directions.

Yes, the sound of a solid crack from a good break in billiards is the sound of a good fifteen to twenty minutes of fun getting started. And it’s the sound of people enjoying themselves with a couple of drinks, some good friends, and a great night.

And that sounds a lot like


Even that girl playing on the chair is better than me

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#890 Those really, really tall people

You can just feel that back pain

They’re tall and there’s nothing they can do about it except learn to live with their crazy tallness. For this reason, we respect them and think they’re cool.

If you’re really, really tall, you feel it, because this is your life:

Everyone hates you at movies and concerts. Sure, you get a decent sightline, but at what price? Everybody in the room resents you and you have to put up with constant shuffling behind you and people saying things like “Oh great, I’m stuck behind Stilts here.”

Guaranteed back pain. Duck into a car and lean over to tie your shoes enough times and you’ll eventually score some sharp, shooting pains in that lower lumbar.

Hard to date people. Well, not hard, but complicated. I mean, would you date someone really, really tall? If not, you see the problem here.

Size 'em up You are forced to play basketball. Doesn’t matter if you like it, doesn’t matter if you don’t — you just have to play. Also, if you’re no good, you’ll never hear the end of it, and if you are good, people will say it’s just because you’re really, really tall.

People always want you to get stuff from the top shelf. And guess what else you get when you pull down that giant soup pot nobody’s used in two years? That’s right: a big faceful of dust, that’s what. Hope you’re not allergic.

You’re always hitting your head on everything. If you’re really, really tall, you know what I mean, because your skull is full of spider cracks from chandeliers, basement stairwells, and overhead bins on airplanes.

Life is more expensive. Because raiseable desks, extra-long pants, and King-sized mattresses aren’t cheap, bro. You know that and I know that.

It really is a tough life.

So next time you see a really, really tall person, break out the empathy. Remember: they’re tall and there’s nothing they can do except learn to live with their crazy tallness. In this upside-down and inside-out world, that’s worth something. So throw them a smile and a nod, a solid high-ten, or just some quiet respect.



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#891 Getting really into bowling celebrations

Style points

Because let’s be honest: most people are pretty stinking awful at rolling a ball the size and weight of a human head perfectly straight down a sixty-foot lane. There are gutters on both sides, you’re slipping around in torn-up shoes that look like they’ve been through a war and a washing machine,and every time you go up for a toss you’re in the spotlight, up on stage, with critical eyes piercing holes in your back, watching your every move.

Yeah, it’s pressure all right.

But that’s what makes it so great when you do finally pick up that perfect spare or hit a big ten-pen knockdown in the final frame. Because that’s when it’s time for a bowling celebration — ideally featuring several of the following:

  1. The Stage Dance. Hey, you’re up on stage so why not throw out a couple of moves? Perhaps the famous Hulk Hogan ear-cup, the invisible hula-hoop, or the Tiger Woods fist-pump? If all else fails you can do the moonwalk back down to your seat. Not a terrible choice.

  2. The Celebrity. Pretty self-explanatory. The paparazzi loves you and you love them back, only without the paparazzi.

You love them back

  1. The All-Business Around-The-World High Five. This can happen when you have around ten hands to slap. There are just so many hands — so your eyes narrow, your eyebrows crunch, and your tongue fixes itself on your top lip as you focus on nailing every single high five offered to you. You don’t miss a slap. Yes, you’re all business around the world.

  2. The Overly Exaggerated Jump. Always a fan-favorite. But watch out for that greasy floor and those all-skid shoes.

  3. The Friendly Stranger. This is where a casual stranger who has been keeping a passive eye on your game suddenly leaves his lane and jumps into your bowling celebration. The Friendly Stranger can be awkward, but it does give your sweet roll some extra lane cred.

Now, whatever your style, it’s important to remember that once you hit down some pins, it’s all about the bowling celebration. You can do no wrong at this point, so just relax and do a little dance. Make a little love. And get down tonight.

Get down tonight.


Hulkamania running wild all over Leisure Lanes 10-Pin Saturday Night Rock n' Bowl

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#892 Peeling your sweaty socks off after a really long day

Get the TV set to Barney

Cold, wet, and clammy.

That pretty much sums up the state my feet are in after walking around in thin, sweaty socks and tight shoes all day. They’re aching and sore and full of flattened toe hair, crispy corns, and dry, flaky skin. Yeah, it’s a real horror show in the hallway every night when I get home from a really long day.

But how does it feel when you do finally let those feet out, air them out, stretch them out, and just throw them up on the couch and flick on the TV?

Wait, don’t tell me.


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#893 Orange slices in the middle of the soccer game

Urkel could pull it off -- me, not really

When I was six years old my math skills suddenly took a steep tumble, so my parents whisked me off to the eye doctor who twiddled a bunch of knobs and eventually concluded that this L’il Squinter couldn’t see the blackboard. Unfortunately, instead of asking me to drink a glass of carrot juice every morning or just sit closer to the front of the class, he wrote me a prescription for some thick Coke-bottle glasses and sent me on my way.

Being the only kid in first grade who wore glasses was no fun. I was Four Eyes, Dr. Spectacles, and Blindy, all in one recess.

To make matters worse, they didn’t make too many glasses frames for kids in those days. Maybe it’s different now, but at the time the store only had one pair that fit me — a thick, red plastic set that had to be held around my head with a black elastic band. Yeah, it’s true: not only was I cursed with Blurry Eyes but I had a side case of Pin Head, too. It was embarrassing arriving to school looking like Steve Urkel, only without the spunk or sassiness.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for those glasses to become the bane of my existence.

I broke them about once a week.

I fell off someone’s back in the schoolyard, crashed into my sister running around the basement, and got pegged with snowballs on the way home from school. I ran into a fire pole on the playground, stepped on them getting out of bed, and left them sitting on couches and chairs around the house. Once I even broke them two days in a row. And it was the same story every time: I sheepishly appeared at dinner with my busted glasses on my face, thick wads of masking tape holding them together, and I sat through dinner until my parents very patiently took me back to the same glasses store later at night, to buy the same set of red, plastic frames, again and again and again.

Call it what you want. It hurts when you take one to the face.Now, my most painful memory of busting up my specs came during a house league football / soccer game. Almost everyone I knew played football / soccer as a kid — getting some exercise by joining historical local franchises such as Shisko’s Produce and A&R Auto Body, Est 1956.

It was in my first and only season, in the middle of a big playoff game, when I unceremoniously took a well-booted ball right in the middle of my face. My glasses cracked into two pieces, I fell to the ground and started crying, and as the play raced on without a whistle, I slowly got my drippy self together and blindly made it off the field. I held half of my glasses in each hand and wore a big, red circle on my face from the ball, like someone had set a frying pan down on me, accidentally mistaking my round, childlike features for a tightly-coiled stove burner.

What my face felt like

Well, I got to the sidelines and was met with bad news. Basically, the coach wouldn’t let me off the field. See, the problem was that our team was already short players and if I went off we’d be disqualified. Remember — this was the playoffs here. A free pizza party and a round of root beer floats was on the line. Nobody wanted the game to end.

So — completely blind, tears in my eyes, my bright red, well-smacked face on display for all to see, I stood in the corner of the field for the rest of the game, somehow helping our team avoid disqualification as well as victory.

Got me through my last game before retirement

It was tough.

I remember the only thing that got me through that terrible ordeal was my mom coming over and setting up a lawn chair beside me, popping open an old, Tupperware container, and giving me all the orange slices I wanted from the halftime stash.

And let me tell you, I loved me some half-time orange slices. They were like sweet, liquid energy, filling me with sugar and pep and turbo-charging me for the second half.

Now, my showing that day was pathetic and humiliating, I don’t deny that. And I’m sad to report that it finally forced me to hang up the cleats for good, retiring forever from the game I knew mildly.

But I still remember those orange slices, and my mom generously thiefing the entire container so I could make it through the game. So thanks, mom. And thanks, half-time orange slices. Because both of you are fully and completely


Many orange slices eaten while wearing them

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#894 When the only other person in the elevator is going to the same floor as you

lets-all-go-to-tenYou know how it is: you walk into the elevator, you press your button, and just as the door is about to fully close, a hand appears out of nowhere and pulls it back open. Then a stranger walks in and presses the same button you already pressed, going to the same floor you were already going. Now that’s luck, because after that brief ‘Are they following me?’ vibe passes, you get to zoom up the shaft at breakneck speed on a no-nonsense express ride to the top.


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#895 Getting something in the mail with actual handwriting on it

How good would it feel to see this in your mailbox?

Checking the mail can be a bit depressing.

Sometimes there isn’t anything in there. Nope, nothing at all. Just one big, empty mailbox telling the world that everybody forgot about you today.

Then again, the alternative is typically a fistful of bills and flyers. Someone’s selling air conditioners, your car payment’s due, and the pizza place down the street has a new crust. All nice to know, of course. Just kind of boring … kind of bland … kind of blah.

But that’s what makes it so great when something with actual handwriting on it turns up in the mail. Those little endangered parcels have something very special about them. For instance:

  • Feel that ink. If you’re lucky enough to score a full-on letter, you know how good it feels to hold that pen-scratched masterpiece. Both sides of the paper are all carved up, and it sort of crisps and crinkles in your hand. It’s got a certain texture to it that feels very real and honest — like the person who wrote it put a bit of themselves in that envelope and sent it over. If I was a tree, I like to think I’d be proud if my slaughtered, pulpy remains were used for a letter like that. Seriously, it would bring a tear to my leaf.
  • It smells. Sure, sometimes it may not smell too strong, but then there’s the occasional letter that has a whiff of hand cream or perfume on it. And really, anything’s better than the smell of mass-ironed printer ink, especially if the ink’s real cheap and powdery and flakes off in the paper folds. Then you get it on your pants and under your fingernails, and for what? So American Express could tell you about their new interest rate?
  • The Complete Package. When you get a handwritten letter in the mail, it’s got a whole different look and feel to it. It’s a complete package. It’s a wedding thank-you card in the small red envelope, with the perfectly placed stamp, and the translucent tissue paper. Or it’s the letter from your kid at camp, with the smeared pencil and mud stains on it. It’s licked shut real tight, there’s a spelling mistake in your address, and the letter is folded thick, causing the envelope to puff out at the seams.
  • There’s nothing like it. Because no two handwritten letters are really the same. You know whoever wrote it spent a lot more time scratching it out than you did reading it. And they wrote it just for you, in their personal handwriting, with their pen and paper, and they paid to mail it to you. I don’t care how small and cold your heart may be — you have to admit that’s pretty cool.

Of course, the biggest reason why getting something handwritten is great is because it’s just so darned rare. I mean, for most people, you’re more likely to see Halley’s Comet crash into Big Foot while he’s riding the Loch Ness Monster than to actually get a full-blown note from a friend.

So I say treasure those handwritten notes, when you get ’em, if you get ’em. And if you don’t, there’s a pretty easy way to start receiving them.

Man, just send a couple.


You have to read it right away

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