Tag Archives: life hacks

The Art of the Answer

Hopefully, most adults already know the information that I’m about to share.  I know for a fact that most teenagers fresh out of high school do not.  Therefore, if you are in college, I’m about to give you a huge boost over all of your peers.  This may help you professionally, but it will DEFINITELY save your personal relationships, mostly because the fix is so subtle that most people only notice the effects and not the cause, meaning you get the credit but still maintain your mystery.

If someone you respect – perhaps even like – says something that you didn’t hear or don’t understand, you have been presented with an immediate test of maturity and adulthood.

Person: “Hey Steve! Can you poejopfwfkoepqk…”

Steve: “What?”

Steve has failed the test.  Hard.  “What?” is an innocent question that teenagers are used to asking – and that’s because teenagers don’t know anything.  A young adult will condition himself to answer differently.

“Yeah,” you might think, “but you’re a stuffy English teacher.  I don’t need to use your rules in my personal, casual life.”

You don’t know this because most people don’t know this unless they think about it, which they don’t: “What” and “Huh” as one-word questions both induce maximum rage.  Think about the last time you explained something and someone answered, “What?”

In fact, think about the last time you called someone’s name and they answered, “What?”

Have I proven my point yet?

“What” at the wrong time can derail a conversation and ruin an interaction before you can even begin to think about why it happened.  That’s because “What” or “huh” imply any of these 4 things.

  1. “Uh… what?” You’re stupid.  Your mind is too simple to comprehend what was being said.
  2. “… what?” You aren’t paying attention.  Disrespect.
  3. “What?” You don’t care.  Disrespect.
  4. “What?!” (What.) You’re spitting attitude. Disrespect.

None of these 4 things are good for your personal relationships – especially if they already know you aren’t stupid.

“Huh” is even worse than “What” because it makes you make a stupid face while you say it.

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“Huh” is the reason your parents still think you can’t handle your business.

“Huh” is the reason you being on your phone counts as you being “on the phone all the time” instead of just the one time you were using it in front of them.

“Huh” is the reason nobody thinks you can multi-task.

Try this experiment.  The next time someone calls your name, answer with “How can I help you?”  The next time someone says something that you don’t hear, answer with “I heard something about ____ but I didn’t hear all of it.” or even “Could you repeat the last sentence you said?  I think I misheard you.”

You’ll avert so many arguments that you’re used to having.

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This lesson needs to be taught in schools.  I told my students about this, and one of my students asked, “Why?”

I told her that she didn’t know it yet, but she actually hated people who say it.  “You won’t find this out until you move in with someone and ask them something from the kitchen while he’s in the living room.”

Parenthood will also bring this issue up really fast.  My parents weren’t having it.  “Yes, Mom!” was the answer demanded, and had I more courage I would have met this demand with goose-stepping and the obligatory salute to these fascist dictators.

We weren’t really good about saying that until we were older, but if you wanted to get on my parents’ beatdown list all you had to do was say “What?” when they called your name.  If it was for something bad, you were automatically in trouble for it regardless of the explanation, and if it was for something good, it was immediately canceled.

“HOAN!”

“What?”

“Never mind, you can eat tomorrow.”

Even armed with the explicit knowledge of exactly how our parents wanted us to answer them, we were awful at avoiding our parents’ wrath for this particular offense.

Avoid my mistakes, children.  Be better.  Right my wrongs.

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The Man-Bag Movement

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Not that I need validation or anything, but that’s Terry Crews with his man-bag. Mine looks more rugged than his, but I wouldn’t say that to his face.

I admit it – I have joined the Man-Bag Movement.

I’m a disorganized person.  It’s a fact.  I have a horrible short-term memory, so the best way for me to find something is for me to leave things exactly where they last were, so I can use CSI skills to find them.  Nothing drives me crazier than not being able to find something because somebody moved them.

Growing up, I often clashed with my parents, particularly my father on this point.  It would get to the point that he would eventually swoop in and clean my room – which wouldn’t last long, because I would wreck the place again looking for the one particular adapter he put in some drawer.  The only one I could trust to put things in a place where I would put them was my brother, mostly because he and I shared a room for a long time before I got my own room, so he was well-practiced in the art of Respecting Older Brother’s Things.  While I pursued my Bachelor’s I couldn’t take the mind-clutter of keeping things neat (an apparent term of my continued “tenancy” at my parents’ place) and just paid him to clean my stuff every weekend.

Then I got married.  When I showed my wife how my workspace functioned and the best way to keep it together for me, she was horrified.  The first time I lost my wallet, she was not happy.  The 90th time I lost my phone, she nearly snapped.

“What you need,” she said, more or less, minus the strong language, “is a purse.”

At the same time, I was going through a clothing transition.  As a professional, I wanted to project a certain image with my look.  I had always taken my clothing for granted as a kid, mostly due to my schools always having a uniform policy.  In college, I noticed that clothing definitely made a difference.  I wanted to make the permanent switch to my “adult professional” look.

This wasn’t a problem.  In fact, as a big guy, my pockets were huge.  I was a professional beast on weekdays.  On weekends, however, my pockets bulged, pulling my pants down and even damaging the cloth.  It should be noted that the weekend is also the only time my wife really sees me.  Going out would take about a 30 minute head start for me to gather my bearings, let alone the possessions I would need.

A backpack would work, but my shoulders are much too broad to actually wear one.

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So I bought a man-bag.  I thought it would be the same as having a cinch sack in which to dump stuff.  Not even close!  It’s not about the container, it’s about the structure.  Grabbing my bag is like putting pants on with pockets already loaded for the situation.  The main pocket has the wallet inside, the outside pocket fits the phone.  The portable battery has its own compartment so it’s not in the way of the reach for the wallet.

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It feels nothing like a backpack.  The bag rests behind me until I swing it to my side to grab my phone like Indiana Jones reaching for his bag of sand – nothing like the hassle of fishing a wallet from a backpack.  When it’s time to go, I’m ready in seconds, waiting for my wife to be ready – as God intended.

(This kind of reminded me of high school too, because I used to wear my school-supplied laptop on my body.) I feel like if half the people who scoff at the use of a man-bag used one for three weeks, they would never go back.  First week to see the practicality, second week to use it on-the-go, third week to start exploring the other lesser-used parts of the bag.

If you want to look at the one I got, it’s here.

This is the obligatory paragraph where I admit my wife was right – and that not only was she right, but she was right while I was wrong – an important distinction.  It is apparently important that despite the win-win situation of me being more organized, I also acknowledge that on some scale there is an aspect of this situation in which she is the winner and I am the loser, and I acknowledge it here.

Oh shut up, guys, haters wind up single and alone.

5 Ways Pizza Restaurants Try to Rip You Off

Pizza is delicious… and honestly, not that hard to make.  Yet we still go out and pay $30.00 a pie for a decent pizza meal.  Prices are not the only way they try to get you, though!  Here are 5 more ways they try to get you!

1. The Pizza Lunch/Dinner Buffet

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The pizza buffet is a lie, and here’s why:

First of all, there is usually only one or two types of pizza out there.  One of these is usually cheese or a very skimpy pepperoni.  There are usually always breadsticks.  Your enemy in getting your money’s worth out of a pizza buffet are breadsticks and time.  The breadsticks are to fill you up while you’re waiting for the pizza you actually like to be made.  Time is your enemy because the longer you wait, the more likely your stomach will decide that two slices is enough carbs and you’re out of the game.

Considering how fast pizza places have to be, you’re telling me they can’t meet the demand of a buffet?  I watched as several popular pizza chains tried this on me.  There was always only one pizza out at any given time, but I was encouraged to fill myself on more bread while I waited.  By the time a pizza with any meat came out, very little time was left of the lunch buffet hours.

2. Stingy with the Toppings

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Especially on adding a topping.  What is it about adding sausage bits that suddenly makes every pepperoni need a personal force field?  Worse, sometimes you get a pizza rookie that puts all the ingredients in the middle of the pizza, making it nice and soggy while still ensuring the rest of the pizza lacks flavor.

3. The Special Dipping Sauce

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Breadsticks are pizza without the sauce, but you can buy the sauce to dip it in if you still want it to taste like pizza.

…or you can order a pepperoni pizza without the pepperoni, then pay for the pepperoni to be put on afterward!

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4. Pre-prepared Pizzas

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Ever find that your pizza tastes like it’s not cooked enough?  That’s because they’re supposed to be made to order, and yet often times before a busy day pizzas will be made and then pushed back into the refrigerator until it is needed.  However, this is not how the oven times are calculated, and this could result in a lack of crispness and some sogginess, not to mention an unevenly cooked pizza.

5. No Logic

So let’s say a pizza place charges per topping, and then lets you know that toppings cost additional.  Let’s say you like the meatlover’s pizza, but you don’t like the hamburger meat.  So you ask them to substitute the hamburger with olives.  You know what you’re most likely to see?

A $1.00 charge for olives.

How does this even begin to make sense?  First of all, a meat is worth more than a vegetable as a topping, hands-down.  Second, by taking the hamburger away, that topping should be “on credit” and therefore not charge me.  “But sir, when I hit the button it charges you!”

Write on that receipt with a sharpie if you have to.  Don’t try to play helpless with me!