#912 Hanging your hand out the window of a car

On a warm, sunny day, driving in a car with the window open and your hair whipping around everywhere, what’s better than letting your hand slip safely out that window and letting it wildly roller-coaster against the wind?

You know how it is: that speeding car creates a strong and forceful wind pocket that’s fun to ride, and as you let it slip and slide across your fingers, you can kind of close your eyes and pretend you’re just flying along.


Photo from: here

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#913 Having a whole row by yourself on the plane

It was like a mirage.

There I was, a few years ago, sitting in the middle seat of a plane set for take off, and there sat an empty aisle seat to my right. I was belted in and cramped and it just sat there vacant, while overhead bins were slamming shut, flight attendents were bringing out blankets, and people started thumbing mindlessly through inflight magazine articles about exotic hotel lobbies.

The plane looked full, the plane looked settled, so I quickly made my stealth, ninja-like swap into the empty seat like a champion. I moved and sat there with a big smile, lots of elbow room, and my legs comfortably extended into the aisle. Truly, it was heaven.

Then suddenly a big guy in a tight business suit lumbered down the aisle just heaving, sweat dripping down his forehead, tongue wagging out his mouth like a dog, eying my row from a distance. I knew the jig was up, so I moved back to the middle seat as he settled in. Turns out he slept through his alarm and had to race to the airport. Nope, no time for a shower, just a full day’s worth of grease on his glistening neck. I voluntarily sacrificed the arm rest when his forehead began dripping on me, and then tried to enter a cocoon-like state of flying hibernation, covering myself in a blanket, crossing my arms and legs, and trying to go to sleep.

And that’s sort of how most plane rides go for me.

But every so often, every once in a while, I’ll end up on a pretty empty plane and score an entire row to myself. And that’s when the perks start piling up. You know how it is:

  • Pee Freely. Yup, get up and go whenever you like, because you won’t need to awkwardly limbo past anyone’s drink tray. Bonus: No awkward crotch-in-the-face moments.
  • Window and aisle. It’s great looking out the window, but unfortunately the person sitting closest to the window gets all window-shade rights. They may close the window completely or block the view when you want a peek. When you get your own row though, you get both.
  • Rest your arms. All arms rests become yours for the taking. Left arm, right arm, it doesn’t matter. There’s no need to worry about getting the bump-off.
  • Go sideways. This isn’t always easy, but you might be able to pull off the ‘row nap’, where you flip up all the armrests up and turn three seats into a bed. Forget those pricey lay-down seats in first class — this here’s the econo-bed and it works just as well.

Yes, having a whole row by yourself on the plane is a pretty sweet deal. You can almost pretend that you’re magnificently rich and you paid for the other seats just to buy yourself some breathing room. Because seriously, flying ain’t always a lot of fun, and so that extra elbow room can make the difference between three hours of misery and three hours of bliss. And that’s something worth celebrating.


The dream

Photos from: here and here

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#914 Surprise two-ply

Danger may lie withinAnyone else hate those big toilet paper wheels in the public restroom? You know the ones. They’re big, they’re plastic, and they hold massive rolls of thin, transluscent one-ply toilet paper. And they’re pretty stingy with their papery plunder, too. Yes, you have to stick your hand up there and fish around a bit to find a loose end, and then give it an even, gentle tug just so to prevent it from ripping into bits.

And hey, how about those light, hospital boxes of one-ply Kleenex? Same deal, right? Blow your nose into that stuff and you’ll find your hands turn into a slippery, sticky mess. You might even have a few tiny bits of Kleenex lingering around your nose or upper lip afterwards, too. It’s not pretty.

So that’s why it’s great when you discover some surprise, two-ply toilet paper in a public restroom or some surprise two-ply Kleenex on the counter at the doctor’s office. Yes, when it’s two-ply, you’re flying high, baby, because it comes out easy, goes down smooth, and just feels like home.


Photos from: here and here

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#915 When there’s leftover cake in the office kitchen

Oh, there will be leftovers

Ever had a birthday party in the office?

If you have, you know that it’s usually celebrated with a streamer-covered cubicle, a signed birthday card, and a mid-afternoon birthday cake. And while everyone says they don’t want that cake, let’s be honest: after you start to include it in your diet two to three times a week, you can’t stop jonesing for that two o’clock sugar rush.

Of course, after the parties happen the partially-eaten leftovers find their way to the office kitchen. Now, if you want to get in on the game, you’ll need to follow these Top 4 Tips For Scoring Leftover Office Cake:

1. Keep extra plastic forks and paper plates at your desks. Because how many times do you happen upon a partially-devoured cake, only to notice that there’s nothing to eat it with? Put up your icing smeared hand if you’ve ever just dug into that cake anyway. Yeah, I’m talking about slicing the cake with a coffee stirrer, using a piece of paper from the printer as your plate, and just tossing the cake back like a crumbly Jello shooter. It’s not pretty and it’s sort of crossing the line between Friendly Coworker and Office Raccoon. I say don’t be the raccoon. Keep the cutlery at your desk.

An omen of cake to come

2. Do your cubicle rounds. On your way into work in the morning, make sure you do your cubicle rounds. You know, just checking out if anyone’s cubicle is all decorated for their birthday. If you spot one, it’s a good omen of cake to come.

3. Buddy up. When they find cake, they tell you. When you find cake, you tell them. There’s always enough to go around, so why not double your odds of scoring an icing flower? You know you have a great Cake Buddy when you find a piece of cake covered by a napkin just sitting at your desk when you get back from a meeting. Now that’s service. Make sure to thank them with a corner piece next time.

4. Know the peak times. Office birthday parties nearly always happen in the afternoon because this allows someone to hastily run out and grab a cake at lunch. So make sure you’re ready and aware of those mid-afternoon ‘fake meetings’ that turn into office birthday parties. Also, it doesn’t hurt to swing by the kitchen at 2:30 to see what’s cooking, if you catch my drift.

Tastes better than it looks

Now these are all great methods for how to score leftover cake from the office kitchen, but what happens if you’re invited to the actual office birthday party itself? Well, don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered with one big rule: If you’re at the party, don’t be the Table Setter, Servant, or Salesman. You must make a strong effort to avoid these three dreaded office party tasks because they will delay your cake eating:

  1. The Table-Setter: the person who is assigned the role of finding plastic forks, paper plates, or drink cups at the last minute. It’s just no fun leaving the party to run around and beg for Styrofoam. Best to show up a bit late or mingle undetected in the back.
  2. The Servant: the person who ends up closest to the cake… just in time to cut it for everyone! Yeah, now you’re stuck trying to split up those much-too-thin paper plates, put a fork on each one, and slice that cake right on up. It’s a lot of pressure being the Servant, because everybody is always crowding around you and yelling things like “No, no, no, half that size!” And it can all happen so fast that you don’t even realize you’re The Servant until you find yourself in the bathroom twenty minutes later awkwardly washing the cake knife with cold water and paper towels.
  3. The Salesman: the person who takes the cut pieces of cake and walks around the room selling them to everybody. If you get the job, your best move is simply asking “Who doesn’t have a piece yet?” and then waving the cake in people’s face until they take it off your hands.

So that’s it, ladies and gentlemen. Now you’ve got it down. Bring on the sugar comas, because you’re entering a world of all cake all the time.

And it will be glorious.


Don't be the raccoon

Photos form: here, here, here, and here

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#916 The sound of scissors cutting construction paper

When you hear scissors cutting through a sheet of construction paper, you just know there’s some fun about to happen. The table is probably covered in glue sticks, glitter, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes, and everything is set for a day full of crafts with the camp counselor.

In some ways, this is essentially the kid equivalent of spreading tools out across the basement workbench before building a shelf, or taping windows and opening paint cans to get ready to coat the kitchen walls in a new shade.

Yes, the sound of scissors cutting construction paper is the sound of important work about to happen. It’s the sound of creativity bubbling. It’s the sound of ideas blossoming. And it’s the sound of some decent fun on a rainy afternoon.


Photo from: here

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#917 The moment at a concert after the lights go out and before the band comes on stage

You go early, you grab a drink, you buy a T-shirt, you find your seat or you edge up to the stage, you listen to the opening act, you people watch, you watch watch, you talk to your friends, you guess what songs they might play, and then the moment finally arrives: the background music fades down, all the lights suddenly go out, and there’s total blackness.

You feel a massive wave of anticipation sweep across the crowd, people stand up, raise their arms, and scream — and everyone clamors for that first view of the band walking onstage.


Photo from: here

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#918 When you’re really tired and about to fall asleep and someone throws a blanket on you

Hey, you know what’s even better than taking a nap on the couch? Well, I’ll tell you: that feeling you get just before you fall asleep on the couch.

Yes, that’s when you enter that blissful, semi-conscious Pre-Nap World where your thoughts float and zoom around your brain and your muscles relax and detensify. The sun feels warm on your face, the radio on in the background fades to a comforting white noise, and you know… you just know… that you’re about to fall asleep.

It feels great.

There are really only two things that can disturb you when you’re in the Pre-Nap World:

  1. Feeling like you have to go to the bathroom. Sorry, but unless you trust your bladder to balloon without bursting, you might just have to get up for this one. Nobody can really help you go to the bathroom while you’re laying on the couch, unless they really, really love you.
  2. Feeling cold. You get those ol’ laying-on-the-couch shivers. You know your sheets and blankets are back on your bed, and you could just get up to get them, but you don’t really want to move because then you’ll leave the blissful Pre-Nap World. And it’s a nice world. That’s a world you don’t leave lightly.

So that’s why it’s great whenever someone notices your dilemma and just quietly grabs a blanket from the closet and tosses it on your semi-conscious self. If they’re really nice, they even flap the blanket above you and let it open up and softly land on you.

When that happens you immediately feel the warmth radiating around you, a tiny smile curls itself on the corners of your lips, and you fall deeper and deeper into a nice, relaxing rest.


Photo from: here

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#919 Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row

I used to drive home from my friend Mike’s basement apartment on this lonely, two-lane road. It was always late at night and I’d roll down the windows so that the cold, country-time air could help keep me awake. The air smelled like a cologne Beetlejuice might wear — a tangy combination of fresh manure, foggy dew, and squashed skunk.

Yes, I’d say it was a nice, quiet way to end an evening, a relaxing and peaceful drive home on those late nights.

But then they came.

The big-box stores gobbled up that cheap farmer land and dropped in a concrete paradise full of parking lots, neon signs, and a neverending series of traffic lights that completely clogged up the roads. The cold, farm air was replaced by a new smell — a thick, heady mix of car exhaust and Taco Bell fumes.

And, you know, I understand.

Every massive parking lot really does need its own traffic light. I mean, without them, you’d be stuck trying to make a left turn out of Home Depot for half an hour. You buy those two by fours, you want to go build that deck, am I right? No really, I get it. I’ve been there too, and I get the lights.

But let’s be honest: the resulting gauntlet is no good, either.

On that old drive home from Mike’s basement apartment they built up more than ten traffic lights in a row, each only about a couple hundred feet apart. There was traffic light after traffic light after traffic light, a sort of slow, hellish march through the jungle of progress.

And the lights never lined up either. You’d hit two greens, then two reds. You’d race through a couple of last-second yellows and then get your comeuppance with five reds in a row. Yes, it was a frustratingly, fuel-wastingly, stop-and-go-to-slow ordeal.

Now, one night I was driving home from Mike’s place a little later than usual. We started a movie when we should’ve called it a night, and I was trucking home at three in the morning on a Tuesday. I approached The Gauntlet groggily and hit the first few green lights in a row, no problem. Nothing special, I figured, probably just a tease. After all, The Gauntlet had never lost.

But then, before I knew it, I had made a couple more.

Then a couple more.

Then a couple more.

Suddenly I was two lights away from the finish line and I couldn’t believe my luck. Looking ahead I could see that both lights were green, tempting me, showing me what might be possible.

So I gunned it.

I blew through the second-last green and saw that last one turn to yellow. There was no way I was going to get that close without making it through, so I just jammed the gas and just barely squeezed by as the light turned red.

Yes, it was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I was buzzing huge that night and smiling ear to ear. And really, just tell me the truth — if you’ve ever blown through a string of green lights in a row, how does it make you feel?

I’ve got just one guess.


Photo from: here

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#920 Getting the eyelash out of your eye

Home freeEyeballs do not want to be touched.

I mean, have you ever put fingers, algae-filled lake water, or shampoo in there? Yeah, that gets your eyes screaming in pain pretty quick, doesn’t it? Unless you’re using Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears shampoo of course, in which case feel free to lather your eyeballs right on up, no worries.

But seriously, your eyes have their own plumbing system so they’re pretty self-sufficient. Technically they’re called tear ducts but they may as well be called Eye Toilets because they just flush your eye out. Nope, no need for any assistance folks, because your Eye Toilets have it all under control. Dust, dirt, tiny little microscopic bugs — flush, flush, flush away.

Yes, your Eye Toilets are really quite good at their job …

… unless, of course, a rogue eyelash gets in there! Yes, when a rebel lash quietly unhinges itself from the confines of your eyelid and attempts a poorly planned escape to freedom it’s not good. If you’re like me and are cursed with poorly-attached eyelashes, then your lashes just give up and die all the time, flipping down into your eyeball and annoyingly scratching and clawing you right in the cornea. The Eye Toilets start madly flushing, but to no avail — that lash is just sticking in there tight and it ain’t budging.

Now, I don’t care how many barfights you’ve been in or how many times you’ve been shot, you know as well as I do that when there’s an eyelash in your eye it’s incredibly painful, it’s incredibly annoying, and it requires a ton of focus to get through. You might even have to try one of these eyelash-removing methods:

  • The Pinch and Squeeze Method. This is where you close your eye real tight, and then pinch ‘n’ squeeze all your eyelashes outwards, hoping to grab onto a tiny piece of the rogue lash and pull it out, too. I recommend doing this one first to see what happens. You miss here, you still got plenty of options.
  • The Get Someone Else To Blow Into Your Eye Method. If you’re the blowing friend, you can either do a Surprise Blow to prevent the blowee from defensively closing their eye just before you do the deed, or you can do the real surgical technique, where you get them to lie down, hold their eye open, and line up your blow exactly at the eyelash. That last one takes trust and a very dry, stiff blow. Think mighty birthday candle blowout not warming up your hands at the bus stop in winter.
  • The Hard Winker Method. A solo sport, this is where you just keep winking your eye really, really hard and hope the lash will eventually ‘pop out.’ Not a bad technique, though sometimes the act of hard winking just forces that eyelash in there deeper. Bit of a double-edged sword.
  • The Eyelid Flapper. My friend Scott taught me this method when we were little kids. You just pinch the skin of your eyelid with your fingers and keep popping it in and out real fast until the lash gives up and lets go. This method is a little bit gross to look at and comes complete with a marvelously wet and disgusting suction sound.
  • The Wash. If nothing else works, I guess you can always just splash some water in there. Or, if possible, use one of those dusty eyewash stations hanging out in the back of the woodshop. I’ve always wanted to see someone use one of those things. They look like they’re from a 1950s version of the future.

Anyway, whatever your strategy, one thing is certain: You aren’t doing anything until that eyelash comes out. You might get the job done in five seconds, you might work at it for ten painful minutes, but whatever the case, whatever your style, it sure does feel good when that eyelash finally does get out of your eye. Suddenly the sun rises again, the weight is lifted, and your life can get back on the road and just keep on trucking.


If all else fails, use the machine

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#921 Snow days

Sledding into a world of awesome

Have you ever gone to school on a snow day? Tell me that’s not the worst.

Everyone else is outside having snowball fights and going sledding, and you’re stuck inside playing Battleship with the teacher because your parents couldn’t find a babysitter. The probability of you learning anything is zero and the school just transforms into a maze of barren, lonely hallways. It’s kind of a got a horror movie feel to it too, especially if you walk by a room full of kindergarteners and they all look up at you at the same time and slowly smile.

No, when it snows, you have to figure out a way to stay home and just have the time of your life. So let’s break it down a bit. Let’s talk about the three main types of snow days:

3. The Pre-planned Snow Day. Your town got hit by an ice storm and four-feet of heavy, packing snow. It’s going to take a couple of days to dig out, so somebody makes the call to cancel school in advance. This is definitely a good snow day, but it really zaps out all the anticipation. Worst of the three types.

2. The It’s Gonna Happen, I Can Just Feel It Snow Day. This is where the snow is hitting hard and heavy the night before. There are reports of black ice and cars in the ditch. People hunker down by the window with some hot cocoa and turn the radio on for weather updates. This is what’s known as a high-probability snow day. You’re almost positive it’s going to happen so you go to sleep excited about getting up the next morning. And really, the night before is almost as fun as the snow day itself, because you’re already planning the day in your head, putting off your homework, and calling your friends. Of course, once in a while the sun is mysteriously shining the next morning and the roads are clear, but this is very rare.

Nothing like a snow day to help those primal warrior-like defense mechanisms kick in for some fort-building

1. The Surprise Snow Day. Now this is it: The Mighty King Of The Snow Days. This is where nobody suspects a thing the night before. Just have some dinner, do some homework, brush some teeth. Yup, just a typical night around here. But then suddenly the next morning there’s a knock on the door and it’s your mom or dad telling you that … guess what, it’s a snow day! Now that’s a buzzy kid high right there. Homework already out of the way, no risk of missing anything important at school, just an all-out, lay back and relax full-on chill session with your friends. And the day really can’t disappoint, because there were no expectations to begin with! You wanna sit in the basement and play Contra all afternoon? No problem. Build a snowman and shovel the driveways for cash? Sign me up. Construct elaborate forts in preparation a massive snowball fight? I’m in. Just be a kid and love it lots.

And so, as its starts to get a bit chilly, let’s all cross our fingers and hope for a good snow day season. Let’s hope this isn’t one of those winters where we put up a goose egg on the snow day category. No, I say let’s break the record. Let’s go for four or five of the suckers. Hey, maybe six even. Let’s get El Nino in on it. Because ladies and gentlemen, say it with me, if there’s one thing we all know, it’s gotta be that a snow day … is a good day.


Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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