#675 Wordless apologies with someone you love

we all make mistakesTension fills the room and black clouds linger by the ceiling fan. Dinner was late, bills piled up, nobody called home.

Now you’re steaming in front of the TV while they’re crying softly in the bedroom upstairs. The stalemate burns quietly until they come down, enter the room slowly, grab your shirt sleeves and look right at you with a pair of warm, moist eyes while starting to give you a soft, smiling apology.

But you see them coming and your stomach churns with a wave of regret so before they even get it out, you interrupt with a head shake and a hug.


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#676 A perfect squeegee job with no streaks

no streaks are the mark of a proDrive that steaming rustbucket up to the gas station and let’s get down to business.

Folks, you know it and I know it: perfect squeegee jobs are hard work. You’re a pro wiper if you master these top five tricks:

1. Liftups. Not everyone has the moxy to wipe under the windshield wipers but that’s where you’ll find dried leaves and lots of highway grime. Don’t be afraid to get in there.

2. Just enough drips. Okay, if you’re pulling the squeegee out of that dirty blue liquid and slapping it on your rear window in one swift move, then you’re probably overdripping. There’s no need to get your shoes wet, so do like the pros and tap off before you tap on.

3. Say no to streaks. Quick wiping is sloppy wiping. Avoid streaks at all costs by using two hands, leaning your head in, and applying just enough even pressure to keep the squeegee running straight. If you get a streak by accident it’s time to do it again. If you start to compromise, you’ll just hate yourself later. Be strong.

4. Bug off. Pros don’t let smeared bug guts get in their way. No, they’ll hammer those out with some furrowed brows and furious back and forth swiping. Pay tribute to the ladybug’s tiny, beautiful life by disposing of its remains at the station instead of driving them back and forth to work for a few weeks.

5. Side Mirror Superstar. Everyone thinks they can do the side mirrors but the truth is that they’re nearly impossible. Sure, it’s a nice idea at first, when you notice how dirty they are, and you’ve got the squeegee in your hand. But then you realize the squeegee doesn’t fit on there too well so you get inconsistent smudge-steaks and a black scribbly cloud above your head. Streak-free side mirrors require years of training. Work your way into it and expect to make lots of mistakes.

Yes, when you nail the perfect squeegee job you’re loving it lots. Mom fills up, dad grabs beef jerky, and your kid brother runs for the graffiti-covered bathroom that smells like urinal pucks. But you stumble out that van door, stretch your legs, and just casually eye that squeegee stick.

Then you look at your bug-splattered windshield, nod a little nod, and smile a little smile.

Because you know what has to be done.

And you know how to do it.


ladybug on windshield

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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.


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


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.


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.



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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.


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