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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#946 That first shower you take after not showering for a really long time

Work that lather afro

Sure, the first couple days of not showering have a bit of a dirty-cool, hippieish, roughing-it feel to them. You come into your own, letting the deodorant wash away, the hair get full of scraggly-knots, and the sweat dry into your clothes. If you’re camping, you are at one with nature. If you’re at home, you’re at one with lazy weekend. If you’re traveling, you’re at one with delayed, multiple-stopover international flight.

Either way, you’re at one in your dirty Zen moment. And that’s cool.

But whether it’s a day, two days, or even a week later, it eventually hits you: You need a shower, bad. And you ain’t gonna to get one till you get home. Suddenly, you don’t want to be a hippie no more.

Then you start thinking about it. And you keep thinking about it. You start to notice dirt stains building up on your arms and legs. You smell the thin film of leftover bug spray and sunblock on your skin. You comb a dead earwig out of your hair while collecting sticks for the campfire. Your scalp gets really, really itchy. And let’s be honest: your groin region isn’t in the best shape, either.

Yeah, that’s why the first shower you take after not showering for a while feels so good. You can actually feel the dirt washing off you. The white soap bar turns a bit darker and you use a week’s worth of shampoo as you work your hair into a massive Lather Afro. The shampoo gets in your ears, but you don’t mind. There’s sand in there anyway. Your sunburns and scrapes get washed out. Your tightly wrenched neck gets massaged by the warm water. Your nose gets a good blowing. And you wash all the bits of spider web, campfire ash, and lake algae off your face.

Then finally, you’ve returned.

Fresh, sparkly, and squeaky clean, you’ve completed your soapy metamorphosis back into the old Clean You we remember. Yes, your hair is shining, your skin is soft and streak-free, and your scalp is rehydrated and ready to rock. Plus, let’s be honest: That groin region is now totally…

AWESOME!

Wash it away

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#948 The Man Couch in clothing stores

Watch that purse!

The Man Couch is any couch conveniently located near the changerooms in a women’s clothing store.

You can tell which one’s The Man Couch, because it’s generally covered in man. Most are either text-messaging, napping illegally, or staring straight ahead, jaws dropped, pupils dilated, and completely zoned out, their arms full of purses and plastic bags from other stores.

Now, The Man Couch really is good for everybody:

For women, it gives them a convenient place to find their male shopping companion. There they are, right outside the change room! This is much better than having to track them down in the magazine section of Borders or in the EB Games by the food court, for instance. Also, it’s great knowing your purse is safe and there’s an opinion available if you want it.

For guys, The Man Couch is a place of solace and comfort. Its giving cushions provide a quiet reprieve from the unrelenting Day Of Shopping. Surrounding guys are fellow travelers, their worn-weary eyes telling cautionary tales of Seven-Sweater Fashion Shows and Lineups For Hemming. Yeah, it’s a tired, quiet gang sitting there in the couch hostel at the back of the store.

So thank you, The Man Couch. Without you our calves would be burning even more, our boyfriends would be over at the record store, and we’d all be sitting on the floor.

The Man Couch, ladies and gentlemen!

AWESOME!

Chilling on The Man Couch

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#949 Making up your own orders at fast food restaurants

McDonald's Neopolitan Shake

Ever had a neopolitan milkshake from McDonald’s?

One where they layer the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors in the same cup, creating a thick, icy, slow-moving light-brown-swirls-with-pink-flecks taste sensation? Yeah, my friend Chad was a regular customer of those. Of course, when he was working at McDonald’s he got sick of the regular menu pretty quickly and started tinkering in the back like a mad scientist with his coworkers, developing exotic, unstable, and unpredictable meal creations with the ingredients on hand. Yes, there were failed attempts, like the Chicken McNugget Flurry, but sometimes they struck gold and created a new off-the-menu line extension. I guess this is fairly common, because there are reports of online McDonald’s employee communities, where insider recipes such as the McBrushetta and McPancakeBatterFunnelCakes are shared.

Now, my world opened up when I first realized with Chad that you could order off-the-menu at fast food restaurants. Since that time I’ve learned about a few other secret options around. Like for instance:

Wendy’s – The Grand Slam. If the single, double, or triple hamburgers at Wendy’s just don’t cut it for you, just go all out and order the massive four-patty grand slam. Also known as the Classic Quadruple or The Meat Cube.Freshly squeezed and piping room temperature

McDonald’s – Fries with Big Mac Sauce. Lots of people put fries right on the burger, which I agree tastes delicious. But this technique allows you to switch things up a bit and put some of your burger’s best feature right on your fries. Try to ignore protests from your arteries, and just ask for that a little cup of Big Mac Sauce on the side for dipping.

Starbucks – The Red Eye. A cup of coffee with a shot of espresso dumped in. Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but apparently you can even upgrade this to two shots which is called a Black Eye. I presume upgrading to three shots is called a Jumpy, Unblinking Eye.

Most Fish & Chip places – Batter Bits. I knew a girl who was all over these. She’d lean in and guiltily ask in a hushed whisper and the guy behind the counter would nod slowly and hand over a wet, greasy paper bag full of all the batter drippings that fell into the oil by accident. Yeah, this is the bottom of the barrel of off-the-menu stylings. It ain’t always pretty out there.

In N' Out's famous animal-style burger

In-N-Out Burger – Animal Style Hamburger. The well-known ‘secret menu‘ at In-N-Out features this heavenly gem — their regular burger patty cooked in mustard, then topped with extra pickles, extra spread, and grilled onions. Yessir, In-N-Out will whip anything up — including messy Animal Style Fries or even a 100×100 order (100 patties and 100 slices of dee-licious cheese.)

Subway – The Pizza Sub. Apparently this one’s like sasquatch. There are scattered sightings everywhere and a few grainy videos that may have been tampered with. Another favorite from Subway, though not technically a menu item, is simply ‘the old cut’, where they dig a trench in your bread instead of just slicing it, leading to better cold cut and veggie distribution. Also known for causing The Wing Effect, where your bologna hangs out the sides of your sandwich for some tasty pre-nibbles.

McDonald’s – Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties. One last McDonald’s fixture — the ol’ bun-heavy Big Mac surgically altered to become a meat-heavy Big Mac with Quarter Pounder patties instead. Now you’re much less likely to get that dreaded All-Bun first bite.

Starbucks secret short cup

Starbucks – The Short Cup. Even though the smallest size on the Starbucks menu is a ‘Tall’, they do offer a secret ‘Short’ size behind the counter. Perfect for that between-coffee-breaks coffee.

Now, I’m only one man, so I’m sure there are hundreds of great off-the-menu gems that I’ve never heard of or know about. But that’s the beauty! There are all these little surprises just waiting to be discovered. What possible fast-food mouth love will we discover next?

Ordering off the menu at fast food restaurants is a great deal. Maybe you’re the loyal customer looking for that new taste. Maybe you have strict dietary restrictions so it’s either off-the-menu or no-menu-at-all. Or maybe you’re just a grumpy guy who makes flippant off-the-menu requests with a deep scowl and a foot-stomp.

But whatever the case, whatever your background, whatever your taste, I think we can all agree that it sure is nice getting a little something special for lunch now and then.

AWESOME!

A 100x100 burger at In 'N' Out

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#950 Big, fat asses

And that's a good thing!

This ain’t no party line.

Let’s not talk about how you need to accept yourself for who you are, not what you look like, or how it’s what’s inside that counts. Let’s talk about the big ol’ side of ham hanging out the back of your pants. That’s a great side of ham for five big reasons:

1. Built-in seat cushion. Everywhere you go, everywhere you sit, things are just a bit more cushy. Tough bicycle seats on long bike rides, waiting chairs at the doctor’s office, the hard plastic fold-downs at the baseball game — yes, they all transform into soft and comfortable relax-o-sits. Practical and convenient.

2. You last the longest after a crash landing in the mountains. The skinny, bony people on your rugby team won’t last long camping out and shivering in the hollow, burnt-out fuselage. No, the harsh, unforgiving Andes will eat them right up. But your generous reserves will kick-in and start feeding the rest of your body so you’ll have more energy to flag down a plane.

3. Baby got baby. Larger rears often mean wider hips on women which means a body riper for fertility and making babies. If you want to have kids, you might find it a bit easier to do so. And hey, some of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for fat asses, so give it up, y’all.

4. Better conga line caboose. Say you’re at a wedding and Feeling hot! hot! hot! comes on. The crowd cheers and a giant, winding conga line begins snaking around the dance floor. Well, my friend, that big, fat ass you got is the best caboose on that conga line. So I say shake it. Nobody wants to see a rail-thin toothpick awkwardly shimmying at the back of the line. No, they want to see someone just loving it, just getting right into it, just shaking their ass like there’s no tomorrow. Olé, olé, indeed.

5. Say no to diabetes. According to these eggheads at Harvard, folks with a larger rear end may have a smaller chance of getting diabetes. Yeah, they call it subcutaneous fat, and it apparently helps improve sensitivity to insulin, which helps keep blood sugar in check. Thanks, Harvard! And thanks, fat ass!

So if you have a big, fat ass, I say love it for real. Because your big, fat ass is keeping you comfortable, helping you survive, pumping out babies, getting the dance floor hopping, and keeping diabetes in check. Just tell me that’s not

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#951 Hearing a stranger fart in an elevator

Here we go

What’s funnier than hearing a stranger fart in public?

Well sure, it can happen in a bank lineup, hotel lobby, or subway car. It can happen in a restaurant, movie theater, or local bar. But the funniest of all has got to be the Elevator Fart. That’s the king of public farts, for two main reasons:

  1. Acoustics. It’s almost always dead silent in an elevator. People usually keep quiet, stare firmly at the front door, and wait for their floor. Any whisper or laugh echos around the box with full force, reverberating loudly for all to hear. So a giant, rippling fart popped out by a bald businessman in a suit holding a briefcase in front of him? That’s like a 21 gun salute.

Blast it out

  1. Time. If you’re climbing a highrise, you’re spending maybe a minute or two with these people. It’s you and them, locked together. Hearing a stranger fart on the sidewalk is one thing. Hearing a stranger fart in a tiny, enclosed room is another. Nobody can escape the full experience, from big bang to first whiff to total elevator saturation.

Hearing a stranger fart in public is great partly because of everybody’s reaction. There are really four main types of fart reactions you see:

  • Concealed Laughers. These folks purse their lips tightly, pop open their eyes, and try not to laugh. If they’re with friends then the sight of their friend also trying to hold in their laugh can be too much, and they suddenly explode into a full-blown belly laughs.
  • The Business Class. Folks in suits often try to pretend that nothing happened. “Nope, everything’s just chipper here, I don’t smell anything at all.” Their only tells might be a very subtle step away from the culprit and a few extra looks at their watch.
  • Deep-Sea Divers. These folks try to hold their breath as long as possible. They hear the fart and it’s “Come on lungs, don’t fail me now.” They’re the ones with the chipmunk cheeks who eventually pop and gasp desperately for air when the door opens.
  • Innocent Children. Little kids are always the funniest. I once heard a child in an elevator say “Mommy, that man just farted” with a full-on finger point right into the well-dressed ass in front of his face. But hey, I guess if you’re going to fart in a kid’s face, you deserve to be called out.

Yes, hearing a stranger fart in public can be a tiny, hilarious moment in the middle of any day. If you’re the farter, I say be loud and be proud! We’ve all been there, so no need to be embarassed. If you’re in the audience, I say enjoy the hilarious social faux-pas and resulting reaction in the room.

So thank you, strangers farting in public, for adding a great bit of comic relief to the middle of our day.

AWESOME!

Be proud of it, just like George

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#952 When someone tells you there’s something in your teeth

Did I get it?

Natural team players, your big ol’ teeth chomp and ship freshly ground foodpaste down the gully to the rest of your digestive system, who finish the job up in style. But unlike your stomach or large intestine, teeth actually have to look pretty doing it. They’re the frontman of the band, the captain of the ship, the CEO of Swallow It, Inc. Yes, your teeth are on stage for the big scene at the dinner table, while the rest of the brown, slippery organs down below change sets, hoist lighting, and clink triangles in the pit band.

Now, while our teeth are pulling double-duty on the front lines, we sure don’t make their lives much easier. They’re sweating away, trying to get the job done, and we’re talking, smiling, and laughing. On top of that we’re eating popcorn, spinach, and poppy-seed bagels, lodging tiny bits of food up into their fine nooks and crannies, turning their brave attempts to look pretty into a cartoonish poster about improper dental hygiene.

Get it out!

That’s why it’s so great when someone tips you off that there’s something in your teeth. A quick, subtle tap to their own teeth or a whispered aside are enough to let you know your big, bright smile is currently featuring a piece of tomato skin. Of course, you might not get it at first, so expect to say “Did I get it?” and “Is it gone?” a few times before you finally send it on its way. If you’re comfortable, you might even need their physical assistance as pictured.

So I say we owe massive head-bows and hand-kisses to these gracious tipper-offers. And surely we owe them the same courtesy back, too. Let’s all work together to keep the whole world’s teeth free of little tiny bits of jammed up food.

AWESOME!

Get it out

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#953 When the cashier opens up a new check-out lane for you at the grocery store

Smile like you mean it

Though I hate to admit it, I am a slow, indecisive mess in the grocery store checkout lane.

Since I am an extremely cheap person, I watch the prices scroll up on screen like a hawk, often saying things like “Oh, I thought that was on sale,” or, “Actually, I don’t really want that anymore,” forcing the cashier to call in price-checks to the unresponsive produce department or find a temporary home for the pack of melting Fudgsicles I’ve decided to leave off my list last minute.

And because I’m watching the screen so closely, I start late and take forever to bag my groceries and pay, awkwardly leaving my shopping cart blocking the lane for the next customer, a metal criss-crossed castle knight enforcing a firm “Thou shall not pass” law in its trademark silence.

Yes, I clog up the line and annoy everybody behind me. I’m one of four People You Don’t Want To Stand Behind in the grocery line, together with:

  • Fidgety Grandma, who on cue dumps a pile of warm nickels on the counter to pay and then slowly counts them out by sliding them across the counter with her index finger
  • Flyer Guy, who hands the cashier a dog-eared flyer from home, forcing him or her to manually tear out all the coupons while everybody waits
  • No-Math Jack, who sneaks in piles of extra items onto the Express Lane and acts like it’s no big deal

A warm glow

Yes, those tense, winding checkout lanes can be a pretty rough go sometimes. It’s not easy out there. You have to watch the anxiety levels, keep that blood pressure in check.

That’s why there are few things better than a spritely new cashier hopping onto the scene, grabbing the ‘next lane please’ sign from the end of the belt, flicking on the lightbulb above their station, and offering a loud, beaming “Next customer, please!,” to the scowling, stressed-out masses.

When that cashier lightbulb goes on, a bright warm glow showers down upon everybody waiting. People like me feel less guilty about holding up the line and folks at the end win the big front-of-the-line jackpot. Yes, it’s one, giant mood swing, one massive swelling of goodwill, complete with buzzing chatter, a few laughs, and even the occasional crinkly plastic sound of a tightly wound frowning turning upside down.

And sure, there’s a bit of line etiquette to sort out. Who gets first dibs on this new empty lane, after all? But it’s almost always better for everybody, regardless of what happens. So most of us, we just smile and enjoy the ride.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here and here

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#954 Rain hair

Rain hair

You know when you get caught in the rain and your fabulous hairdo turns into a wet, frizzy mess? Well, I say that’s a good thing. Because hear me out.

Let’s talk about how much time, money, and effort we put into the managing and upkeep of our golden locks of dead skin cells. How about a lot? Now, don’t get me wrong, I play the game too. I wash my hair, condition it up, gel it up, shake it up. I prepare it for the day and check in periodically to see how it’s doing. Any rogue locks, fallen bangs? What’s new in the slowly-going-bald corners? And how’s that back-of-the-neck beard coming in this month? I spend way too much time on it. And my hair looks like a squirrel that’s been run over on the highway for a few weeks.

Our pals over at Wikipedia make hair sound like the Sun or fresh water,saying in their snooty tone that head hair has ‘gained an important significance in nearly all present societies as well as any given historical period throughout the world.’ But then again, those eggheads can make anything sound pretty serious. It’s just hair, after all.

I say maybe the army got it right when they instituted crew cuts after World War I trench warfare gave everyone lice and fleas. Maybe there’s something to be said about the no-maintenance plan, the low-maintenance plan, or the no-plan at all. Because whenever I walk by someone with hair just flying everywhere, all unkempt and full of knots, dirty dreads, and dead leaves, I get jealous for a second. Think of the free time they have! I mean, sure, they stick out. But… what if we all got in the game? Then maybe we’ve got something. Then maybe everyone’s garden would look immaculate, the gyms would get really crowded, and the libraries would run out of books. You’d just have to put up with all these shaggy, scraggly sasquatches walking around, that’s all.

And that’s what I kind of like about rain hair. It’s a temporary escape from the Hair Prison we live in. When everyone shows up at the movies or mall with the wet and frizzy flyaways, the hair matted to their foreheads, and the hair spray dripping and stinging their eyes, it’s like yeah, we all look like a mess. But the rain sure does wash away expectations, too.

AWESOME!

The dream

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#955 Sneezing three or more times in a row

Kleenex softens the snotty blow

Sometimes sneezes hit you and hit you hard.

Unless you’re rolling around in a pile of ragweed or sleeping on a pillow filled with pepper and cat hair, it usually starts completely out of nowhere. You feel that tickle deep up your nose. Just a tiny little quiver way, way up there, near where you eyeball connects to your brain. You squint a bit, pull your hand up to your mouth, and then BOOM! Your eyes squeeze tightly, your face contorts and crunches together, and it screams down your face at the speed of sneeze, exploding out of your mouth in a wet and ugly climax of snot droplets and head goo flying in all directions.

Loving it

Despite the look of it, sneezing can feel pretty great. Not only does repeated sneezing give you a weird, spacey head rush, but it can also be quite refreshing. Those sinuses get cleaned out a bit. The nose hairs get a brief, windy blow down. Plus, you fire whatever might be irritating your nasal cavity out of your nose like a cannon, sending it flying across the room in a spastic I Must Get This Out Of Me overreaction.

Now, although sneezes are usually a surprise, there are times when you know they’re in there and you just want them to leave. What’s worse than that frustratingly stubborn sneeze? I’m talking about the kind that pauses all conversation, leaving your friends stuck grimacing and watching you writhe in an agitated Potentially Sneezing Soon state, trying to force the sneeze locked in your nose in or out.

It’s just awkward.

But that’s why it feels great to let that booming sneeze out, preferably in a punctuated rat-a-tat-tat sequence of three or more sneezes for the full effect. Tiny mousesqueak sneezes or booming dogbark sneezes welcome, because whatever your style man, that’s cool. It’s all good.

And hey, you know what’s the best part? Free blessing! Yes, everyone around you chimes in just when your body is buzzing, your sinuses are sparkling, and your head pipes are all vacuumed clean.

AWESOME!

Loving it

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