#48 The moment when you realize your headache is gone

Head Factory is a busy place.

Seeing, swallowing, smelling, hearing, thinking, breathing — yes, it’s a 24/7 triple-shift work-around-the-clock type of place. And the foreman of Head Factory doesn’t care if you’re sleeping, working, or daydreaming, either. He’s got a job to do and you’re going to breathe, smell, and hear whether you want to or not.

Of course, with so much going on it’s no wonder the gears in Head Factory clunk up now and then. Dense throbbing in the back of your neck, piercing temples, or dull aches behind your eyes are all signs the factory is steaming and too much overtime has the gang threatening to strike.

Yes, factory problems slow us down and we reach for water, pills, and damp cloths. Sometimes sharp smells, loud noises, or too much moving makes things worse so you banish yourself to the Quiet Dark Room to work things out. Of course, when you get there you just lie uncomfortably wide awake on a hot pillow thinking of nothing other than the terrible piercing in your skull and counting the minutes in agony …

But that’s what makes it so great when you realize your headache is just suddenly … gone. It disappeared! Did it disappear? You wait for a minute and let your brain tiptoe slowly around your skull a little bit. “Is it really gone?” you ask yourself, waiting a couple minutes, not wanting to get your hopes up.

But over those minutes your thoughts clear up, striking workers stream in, and everything starts feeling



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#49 Those superfast group cleanups

Everybody loves turkey dinner.

Nobody loves the massive spread of crusty dishes, gravy boats, and sticky-smeared cutlery afterwards. It looks like hours of work for the poor soul stuck with doing it all.

But that’s when a Super Fast Group Clean-Up can make all those problems disappear. Just grab one of these jobs and work at double time for ten minutes to get it done:

1.The Table Clearer. Are you good at Jenga? Or how about making giant piles of dirty laundry not fall over? If so you are an ideal Table Clearer. Your primary job is piling all the plates as high as possible, while constantly moving dirty knives, forks, and random scraps of food to the top. Another important skill is delivering your dirty dishes to The Dishwasher at a good pace. Too fast and the counter gets crammed. Too slow and you’re in the wrong profession.

2. The Dishwasher. This sudsy someone needs to have a well established Dishwashing Plan. Maybe they’re a two-sink, soapy rinsy, kind of gal, or a furious power-washer kind of guy. The important thing is that the dishes are clean and move straight to Dryer Guy in no time flat. The Dishwasher must be speedy but also have an eye for quality. It takes a long time to build trust and only one half-chewed kernel of corn stuck to the bottom of a plate to lose it.

3.The Putter-Awayer. Salt, pepper, ketchup, we’ve got a home for you. The Putter-Awayer works in tandem with The Table Clearer to get everything back to the fridge or cupboards. Now, The Putter-Awayer has the steepest learning curve of any job because it includes tasks both easy (putting ketchup in the fridge), medium difficulty (arranging half-used salad dressings in the fridge door so another one fits in) and advanced (figuring out the right sized Tupperware container for spaghetti leftovers). We need someone good at geometry here.

4. Dryer Guy. Sorry, man. This is the loser job. If The CEO throws a tea towel at your face and tells you to dry dishes that’s slang for “We don’t trust you with anything else.” Proof is that your entire job can be made obsolete by leaving them on the rack for an hour.

5. The CEO. This is the leader of the group. They assign tasks, put music on, direct traffic flow, and help relieve bottlenecks on the line. They also do small jobs that don’t get noticed like getting a new garbage bag, cheering the group on, and giving everyone a handshake afterwards. The CEO needs to have a solid understanding of all roles so they can assign the best person for each job.

Yes, the Super Fast Group Clean-Up makes a messy kitchen disappear in minutes. A fine ballet of sweatsocks, tea towels, and clinking plates blossoms for ten minutes on the stained linoleum floor and suddenly everything is sparkling clean.

Special points if everyone whistles the Seven Dwarves song from Snow White while doing it.


Photos from: here and here

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#51 The moment you finally figure out how your hotel shower works

The hotel shower faucet is a 7:00am Brain Teaser.

You strip down and peel back the flimsy white curtain to size up the challenger and you find it staring back at you — a clump of shiny dials and spouts with made-up marketing names like Temprol, Relaxashower, or Aquasomething.

Sometimes that shower faucet goes clockwise, sometimes it goes counterclockwise, sometimes you have to turn it past cold to get hot, sometimes you pull it toward you to get it going.

And once you eventually get it flowing, you face another challenge: getting it to stop coming out of the bathtub tap and start shooting out of the shower faucet. Your reward for solving this mystery a few minutes later is an ice-cold spray down your naked, shivering body.

Finally figuring out how your hotel shower works is like jumping into the cockpit during an emergency and landing the plane with no lessons. You were just woken up and thrown into a tough situation with no instructions, but you managed to figure it out and save the day.


Photos from: here and here

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#53 Watching your favorite movie with a friend who hasn’t seen it before

Do you remember the first time?

Were you leaning back in red plushy tundra at the theater, twisted like a mummy under a basement blanket, or by yourself with headphones on a long-haul flight?

Where were you when you saw your favorite movie?

Me, I was back in college with a few friends on a crappy couch when I saw Annie Hall for the first time. Snappy dialogue, twisting plotlines, and the heart-wrenching complexity of it all sucked me in like a vacuum.

Since then I’ve taken great pleasure giving people their first Annie Hall showing. I take a lot of care with the experience, too: reserving a special night, making popcorn, and tossing their cell phone safely down the basement stairs.

There is a lot of pressure on them to enjoy the movie but that’s part of the fun.

Laughing at their expressions, seeing their eyes flicker, and hearing them guess what will happen next makes it all worth it. Watching your favorite movie with someone who hasn’t seen it before … feels like you’re watching it for the first time again, too.


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#54 Getting a needle

It’s the battle of the bugs.

When I was a kid I was deathly afraid of needles. Nothing was scarier than getting jabbed by some lady in blue smocks. And I mean nothing, too: not crackly furnace noises through bedroom vents, walking around unfinished basements in the dark, or even hearing dentist tools firing up before some cavity drilling.

Yes, I always thought needles were worst of all … until I began to understand them.

As I grew up I learned that needles were just little guns firing tiny bugs into the war trenches of my bloodstream. These bugs were crippled and weak and helped my Blood Cell Warriors learn the tricky ways of Bloodstream Battle. After I got a needle, and while my six-year-old self cried and sat on the toilet, my Blood Cell Warriors were busy tearing apart the remains of evil Tetanus Knights and Polio Savages — drawing up detailed battle plans, creating Antibody Weapons, and training for the day when they were called on to fight.

Getting needles helps our bloodstream save the day in the future.

Yes, needles don’t seem scary when we imagine ourselves Human Warrior 3000s, sitting steely-eyed on the tissue paper in the doctor’s office, rolling up our sleeves for the next big battle.

So next time you get a needle make sure you walk out of there with tough words for any disease planning a future attack. Feel that sting under the Care Bears band-aid on your shoulder and just tough it up and say…

Just try it, Tetanus. Watch your back, Whooping Cough. And don’t even think about it, Diphtheria.


More info: here

Photo from: here

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#55 A plate full of greasy fries and a thick milkshake at an old diner

Milkshakes must be made from just ice cream and milk and poured from a giant metal cup into a really heavy glass. The metal cup should have more milkshake left over and get all frosted up before you pour the deliciously creamy bubbles-n-lumps mixture into your glass. All fries should be thick cut, slightly brown with dirty grease flavor, and served wet and glistening. Ketchup should be from a half-empty glass bottle only with ketchup smears all down the insides. You must sit at the counter on a swivel-chair that has rips in the orange or brown vinyl padding and lean up against a really smooth counter that has little sparkles in it from the 1950s.


Photo from: here

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#56 Those friends you make in the lineup

Have you ever waited in a really long line?

I’m not talking five minutes getting to the bathroom at half-time, ten minutes sock-slipping in airport security, or even fifteen minutes outside the movies opening night.

I’m talking about those forever-long lines that hit you like a hammer. I’m talking about brand new rides at amusement parks, driver’s license renewals before the weekend, and those ones winding around sketchy warehouses before the concert doors open.

If you’re stuck in a really long line you probably do what I do and chat with friends while sending one hundred text messages. But at some point you get bored. Batteries die, conversations dry, and you’re twiddling your thumbs when the three-step process to making Lineup Friends suddenly happens:

Step 1: We can have lots of fun… by complaining together! Somebody moans about the wait and a stranger chimes in. “Seriously, is this line even moving?”, “Yeah, I know, it’s like, didn’t they plan for this?” Bam! — suddenly you’re in this together! How dare they make us wait? Now we’re a team against the invisible amusement park titans. Lineup Acquaintances are made.

Step 2: There’s so much we can do. Chances are good that your new Lineup Acquaintance and you have lots in common. Are you waiting outside a punk show? Time to talk about your fresh nose piercings. Are you standing with crying toddlers at Space Mountain? Discuss how to shut those yappers up. Suddenly the conversation is rolling…

Step 3: It’s just you and me. Step 3 involves talking with your new friend all the way to the front of the line. It’s important to switch topics repeatedly and keep the friendship bubbling.

Step 4: I can give you more. Swapping contact details seals the friendship. Sure, it’s a bit risky asking your Lineup Friend for their digits — but emailing them a photo you took or sending them that recommendation you were talking about is all fair game.

Yes, we all live in our own worlds so it’s great busting out of smeary dreary worlds into new friendship territory. Lineup friends make the time pass, keep the jokes coming, and brighten our days with new connections.

Lineup friend, don’t you know that the time has arrived?


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