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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#677 When you’re awkwardly standing by yourself with a full cafeteria tray of food and then suddenly spot your friend waving at you in the distance

load up and find a seatThe dreaded Cafeteria Standalone.

Blue plastic tray wobbling in both hands carrying a big rolling glass of iced tea and a heavy ceramic plate loaded with steaming roast beef, wet mashed potatoes, and bland baby carrots, you exit the cafeteria line and glance at the full crowd in front of you.

It’s the high school cafeteria, the workplace lunchroom, or the food court at the mall. Everybody is laughing, at you maybe, while you stand and stare out at the kaleidoscopic sea of smiling faces.

As the seconds tick by you feel more and more out of place.

Maybe you quickly glance around the room while pretending to get ketchup. Maybe you walk in a couple different directions so you aren’t clogging up the lanes or looking too obvious. Or maybe you just get really anxious and wonder if you’re going to have to sit by yourself.

But just as you’re beginning to lose hope you eventually you see them.

It’s your friends in the distance.

And they’re waving.

AWESOME!

which way do you go

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#678 Sneaking cheaper candy into the movies

save a few for the featureContraband candy tastes better.

Here’s how to make the magic happen:

Step 1: Bag Up. Large purses come in handy here. Ladies, pull out the fattest potato sack you got and sling it across your shoulder with pride. For everyone else, you can try a bulky backpack or shopping bag. Business folks can pull off the classy briefcase. The only thing to avoid are Matrix-style trench coats with burrito dents in all the inside pockets.

pack it fullStep 2: Food Up. Stuff that puppy with gummy worms, bubble tape, and Cinnabons, baby. If you’re feeling risky, throw a couple cold and slippery cans of soda in there or a bag of microwave popcorn. Know your limits, though. Steamy meatball subs and hot curry dishes are typically for experts only. And nobody pulls off lasagna.

Step 3: Walk Up. Confidence is everything. Hold your head high, strut a mean strut, and you’ll be just fine. No ticket-ripper should say anything, but if you get caught you can always pretend you’re diabetic. “Honestly, this is prescription Everlasting Gobstoppers.”

Step 4: Eat Up. Tear open the bag of chips with your teeth, crack the soda during a gun fight, and shake the Nerds during the Spanish dance sequence. Just get in there and start munching.

Get in there and start crunching.

Get in there and get

AWESOME!

It will take years before you master this move in the back row

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#679 Sugar cereals

sugar cereals turn the milk deliciously sandyLet’s go back.

Sandy pink streaks coat the sky as the sun peeks over your backyard fence and shines on the peeling linoleum of your kitchen floor. The fridge murmurs and hums, oven burners wobble and pop, as you spend a quiet moment alone with a box of sugar cereal.

Let’s count down ten of the greatest:

10. Corn Pops. The delayed time release technology would allow sticky yellow chunks to remain in your molars until you needed energy for later in the day. This was handy because sometimes in the middle of math class you just gotta have your pops.

9. Trix. I always felt bad for the rabbit. Frankly, it seemed like the toddlers were jerks. “Silly rabbit,” they laughed, with their beady eyes, right in his face. “Trix are for kids.” Come on, he only wants a bowl of of cereal. I think these must be the same punks who stole Lucky’s Charms.

8. Sugar Crisp. Did anyone else think Sugar Bear was related to Chester Cheetah? Think about it — the sunglasses, the long strides, the sneakers. Both are chilled out dudes who ditched jungle living for the big bucks of Hollywood. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were roommates.

7. Cocoa pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, or Count Chocula. These bowls of chocolate were like speed for kids. You had to pour extra milk so you could guzzle down the glimmery chocolate milk for dessert.

6. Grape Nuts. Okay, this isn’t a sugar cereal, but didn’t you always have a stale box kicking around from that time Grandma visited? Nobody could explain what a Grape Nut was, either. We’d just quietly pass the box around on those dark mornings when the sugar ran dry and we all took our colo-rectal health seriously for a day with Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, or All Bran. Yes, Grape Nuts made us dream big dreams about tomorrow’s Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They’re on the list because they made the next bowl taste sweeter.

5. Honeycomb. Remember the TV commercial where the angry viking biker storms the kid’s forest hideout and starts a group sing-a-long with a dancing robot? Combine that with some Smurfs episodes and you’ve got a pretty trippy Saturday morning. “Honeycomb’s big… yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s not small … no, no, no!”

4. Lucky Charms. First off, the gang at General Mills redefined marshmallow to mean rock-hard bits of dyed, packed sugar. Plus, they reinvented new shapes all the time. Do you remember pink hearts and yellow moons? These days we’re chomping on hourglasses and shooting stars while doing our best Irish accents. Of course, the good news is that Lucky Charms still turns milk magically deliciously orange.

3. Cap’n Crunch. My friend Chad didn’t know the proper way to spell ‘captain’ until he was twelve. In other news, Cap’n Crunch was one of few cereals to feature an arch nemesis in their ads. Yes, first there was Jean LaFoote and then The Soggies came around and tried to prematurely dampen your cereal. To stop them you had to scarf your bowl in forty-five seconds and completely shred the roof of your mouth for the rest of the day.

2. Cookie Crisp. Honestly, it was just a big box of cookies. If your mom fell for this, do you think she’d let us bum some cigarettes and borrow her car, too?

1. Honey Nut Cheerios. Most kids had a good five year run with this faithful classic. Smooth corners made for easy chomping, you could toss a handful in a baggie for a take out snack, and they were healthy enough for parents to keep buying year after year. Of course, like many other cereals, Cheerios were famous for that glimmery patch of sugar powder at the bottom of the box. Remember to play it safe on that last bowl or you could end up polluting your breakfast. Now, for old time’s sake, here’s the commercial they used to run every Christmas.

Depending on how you grew up, eating some sugar cereal might have been a little bit of quiet time before the day began. While parents rushed around and the radio blared traffic reports, you read the back of box over and over, fished around for the sticker at the bottom, and read about the competitive spirit inside Tony the Tiger and the tragedy of the Trix bunny.

Sure, old school sugar cereals weren’t the healthiest thing we could have eaten, but those vitamin-fortified sugar punches made for mighty fun childhoods.

AWESOME!

we can dreamPhotos from: here and here

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#683 Finding a container with last night’s leftover restaurant dinner in your fridge

Curry in a hurryScope this scene.

End of the meal at the back of a dimly lit restaurant, your belly bursting with bowls of bread, free soda refills, sugary salad, and half a giant stir-fry, you’re thinking twice about the waiter’s offer to wrap up your meal. After all, the thought of one more forkful of soy-sauce drenched snow peas makes you gag and the image of lugging a drippy Styrofoam container to the movies ain’t appealing.

But there’s peer pressure.

Somebody chimes in with a “Oh come on, get it to go, you’ve got like half your meal left” and another helpfully adds “Think about it, you’ll probably eat it later tonight. Better than bar food.”

So you look around the table and quietly burp into your mouth before nodding to the waiter with a reluctant half-smile. And then you drag that doggie-bag around town and toss it in your fridge before bed, completely forgetting about it until you groggily look for breakfast the next morning.

When you peel open your fridge door the Styrofoam container is just beaming back at you like a treasure chest full of gold at the bottom of the ocean.

“Hello,” it seems to say. “I’ve been waiting.”

Your pupils dilate, your mouth starts watering, and you swipe a fork for a delicious cold and salty wake up call.

AWESOME!

treasure_chest

Photos from: here

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#684 Being so excited you leave your bike helmet on

bike helmetDo you ever see kids on the playground with their bike helmets on?

Sometimes you spot them riding up to the sandy lots with heads full of steam and eyes staring forward with steely determination. They are on a mission to get some playing in, buddy. And nothing’s going to get in their way.

Nope, not even pausing for a minute to unclasp their bike helmet. Are you kidding? They are in such a rush that they bail on the bike, run across the sand, and jump on the jungle gym with their helmet bobbing all over the place in one majestic, sweeping move.

Good times.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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#685 Taking the stairs beside somebody taking the escalator and going faster than them

which route will you takeComing out of the subway, heading to the airport gates, or moseying back to the office after lunch, you occasionally walk with a friend and hit this classic fork in the road. On the right is a smooth-moving escalator with a bit of traffic and on the left is a wide-open set of stairs.

As your friend continues chatting and takes the first step onto the escalator, you cut off the conversation and leap onto the stairs.

Now the race is on.

Jump up those stairs, take them two at a time, do what you need to do, just chase the racing bunny that is your friend’s smooth-moving head all the way up. And if your buddy starts walking up the escalator, make no mistake: They are cheating. And if they hit a wall of tourists taking pictures or a family with a smuggled stroller gumming up the lanes, make no mistake: They knew the risks.

If you beat them to the top, it’s time to celebrate by taking gasping, wheezy breaths while grabbing your sides and wiping the sweat off your brow.

Congratulations, friend.

You just burned a calorie.

AWESOME!

dog race all the way to the top

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