Satisfying Small Victories
Everyone has heard the stories of hardships and struggles, but sometimes in life, things can be surprisingly easy. Whether an unexpected life hack, trade secret, or just through pure luck, these stories encompass the little victories of everyday people.
I lived in New Jersey, and a friend of mine invited me to a commercial audition at a New York City bar. I went because of the bar and only auditioned after two drinks. I left thinking it was a waste of time. I had no idea what was coming.
A month later, I get a call that they want to use me for the commercial. Plus, it turns out the director was the guy who directed the original Space Jam. I got lines and ended up in two of their commercials. I then got a 40k payday, where I thought someone made a clerical error. This kick-started my acting career.
Staying Linked In
On LinkedIn, I always have my status set to “looking for work” even when I have a job. One day, a recruiter asked me if I wanted a job. I found the position and applied with the company directly, and apparently, they had been looking for someone with my qualifications.
Just like that, I made $20k more and got a super laid-back job with flexible hours where I never had to commute to work. I also have a really nice title now and actually just interviewed for another job that’s a higher title with higher pay. I’ve only been at my current job for seven months.
Not So Common Knowledge
My small victory was overcoming a lifelong speech impediment at 22 years old. A lot of the "common knowledge" around speech impediments is that if you can't beat the thing by the time you're 10 or so, that's pretty much it for you.
The idea is that your speaking patterns have become so ingrained at this point that you basically have to accept that you're stuck with it for the rest of your life. This was the explanation given when I was cut from speech therapy in third grade.
It was a big part of why it took me until I was 22 to return to speech therapy as an adult. I assumed this issue was stuck in stone, and that I was kidding myself by thinking it was something that could be fixed. But someone had made a big mistake. Turns out that common wisdom was all incorrect.
There actually is no deadline for when you can fix a speech impediment; you just need to be given competent speech therapy. So, my lifelong lateral lisp was gone within two sessions, and my lifelong rhotacism (can't pronounce 'r's) was gone within a month.
It was awesome! But also, really? It was that easy? I could've had a happy, normal childhood this whole time but I just...didn't? Because the adults in my life thought the issue couldn't be fixed back when I was only eight years old? Well, that sucks.
I achieved a small victory fixing clogged drains. It started out because my sink drain plug wouldn't stay up. I poked around under the sink and found the pop-up rod had rusted completely through and broken.
It cost me five dollars for a new one at the plumbing supply store next to where I worked at the time. It took five minutes to figure out how to swap, and now I know how sink and shower drains come apart, which makes unclogging them simple.
Maybe it's just me, but in my brain, it seemed like that was something I'd have to call a plumber to come to unclog, but it's all remarkably simple.
Small Victory At Small Claimsman in black shirt sitting beside woman in white shirtPhoto by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash
My small victory was suing someone in Small Claims. It was surprisingly easy because my case was rock solid and I had a professionally printed document of evidence, witness statements, and precise records sent over to the court.
Meanwhile, the defendant did literally nothing but send unlabeled loose printouts of my Facebook page as her so-called evidence. It was a very quick judgment for the plaintiff.
Best Job Ever
I've hated every job I've ever had. Then at 18 years old, I joined the forces for six years. That sucked the whole time, then I went into customer service at Walmart, and the staff was mean to everyone. I tried security and the staff was just degrading.
I had job after job doing what I thought was the "right" thing. One day, my life changed. I decided to apply for a local HVAC company and worked at a call center. Nothing big, I think there were a total of nine of us on the phones. Honestly, it's the best job I've ever had.
We all get along, spend hours a day on our group chat sharing memes, and our management has one-on-one meetings every two weeks with the goal of "this meeting is not work-related but we want to know just how you're doing, how's is life treating you, what do you need".
There's constant communication about expectations and how we can better meet them and how they can help us perform better. The majority of the company's profits are used to better employee lives (I get monthly commission and residuals, and $30 a month in healthcare) along with monthly potlucks, paid lunches, and competitive pay starting at $17 an hour.
I haven't seen any turnover...none! My position was only hiring because too many people got promoted.
Too Good To Be True
For months, I had been applying for tons of jobs on every platform I could find. I was also talking to friends to get critiques on my resume/cover letter. Updating my online portfolio, et cetera.
Then one day a recruiter messaged me out of the blue on LinkedIn and basically handed me a dream job. It was one interview and then a call to say “Hey you're hired”. I legitimately thought it was a joke right up until my first day of work.
How I Doubled My Salary
I got a salary request when applying for a job, and accidentally wrote double what I meant to write since the number keys were right next to each other. They accepted anyway.
The 20-Dollar Flat Screen
I found a 60-inch TV by the dumpster. Plugged it in but it didn’t turn on. Looked up common problems with the model number, bought a part on eBay for $20, replaced the part, and had a huge TV for $20.
Sleep Hackedperson holding white medication pillPhoto by Mariana Rascão on Unsplash
I never slept well. Then one day, there’s an over-the-counter magnesium supplement called “calm”. I drink a cup every night and sleep like a hibernating bear. It was that easy.
No One Else Applied
This is how I got the Erasmus scholarship. We had only two places each term for the 300+ people in my university program. I always thought of applying, but I thought my chance was too small to get into one of the places, so I didn't really push myself to apply.
Until I did. Turns out I was the only one applying, and I spent the next half a year in the lovely city of North Sweden completely financed by the European Union.
When In Doubt, Try Amazon
I had a loose hinge on my door. It kind of drove me crazy for three years, but I had no idea how to fix the wood that had been stripped. Then I found a product on Amazon for $10 where you shove on a sleeve, break it off and then screw in the new screws.
I bought two new hinges that don’t squeak. It took about 10 minutes and cost $20 and it’s no longer a problem.
A Cheaper Fix
The power steering failed on my Acura. My local Acura dealership wanted to charge me well over $1,000 to fix it. But I had a better idea. I bought a power steering pump off Amazon for $70 and found a YouTube video that explained how to fit it.
I don't have any car maintenance experience but it only took a couple of hours to do the job myself and it worked like a charm.
Thank God I’m Fired
I had accepted a new job but was anxious about giving my notice at my old job. I had been there for 8 years and really loved my team. I had also been stressed out that I was taking a week off between jobs because it was a stretch financially.
I finally set up a meeting with my boss. I couldn't even sleep the night before. An hour before I was going to give my notice, my boss's boss called me into a meeting with HR. I was being laid off along with a large number of other employees.
They were so sorry, and my boss's boss was in tears. She promised they would "take care of me". Anyway, I got 20 weeks of severance and a full three weeks off between jobs. Definitely, the best thing that's ever happened to me.
I was so shocked that I almost started laughing during the meeting and had to pretend I was trying not to cry.
The Miracle Cureclear drinking glass on white tablePhoto by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
My small victory was drinking water. I went from having sleeping issues to waking up fully rested. Water has changed my life! I thought it would be super difficult to kick soda, but once I tried, the benefits certainly outweighed the lack of taste.
Lying On The Job
I got a job that required full-time fieldwork for minimal pay. On my first day, they asked about my other skills. I saw other people using AutoCAD so I said I used it in college but I was rusty. This was a lie. I had only ever used it once to draw some circles.
The company was excited and got me a 4-day refresher class. I learned AutoCAD and haven't been in the field in over a year. I later asked for more pay since I wasn't a field tech anymore.
They said “no”, so I got another job using AutoCAD for double the salary. Pro tip: learn AutoCAD C3D, it's not that hard, and people will think you're a tech genius.
“DJ's Got Us Falling In Love”
In my sophomore year of college, my buddies were throwing a party at their house. One of them was a moderately successful DJ in the local college scene. We were having a good time and the DJ was doing his thing when he had to use the washroom. That's when something beautiful happened.
As he's leaving, he taps me on the shoulder and asks me to just stand at his turntables to make sure no one messes with them. He had songs queued up so I just had to stand there and wait.
About 30 seconds later, two women walk up to me and say how much they love the music. I tell them it’s just a playlist and I’m only keeping it running. But they are still super impressed.
A few minutes later the actual DJ comes back and I give up my post. Then one of the girls comes up and asks me to dance with her. One thing leads to another and we ended up having a great time.
At one point I told my friend about this girl I’d met while covering him at the DJ booth. He laughed and said, “Yeah sometimes it’s that easy”.
Worth A Try
My small victory was getting a job working for the US Department of Defense. I'd always thought that those kinds of jobs required prior government service, and a whole host of various degrees or such to get a job with them.
Then I saw a job opening for one site near where I lived and thought to try it. So I applied. I honestly didn't expect to even get a callback or anything. I not only got the callback, but also got hired for the job.
The requirements were far more lenient than I expected. All the job required was a clean criminal record and a willingness to learn. I ended up working as a wastewater treatment tech for them, and eventually got an environmental engineering degree with their help.
Never Too Late
My small victory was going back to school. I've been toying with the idea for years, but telling myself it was too far, too expensive, too time-consuming, et cetera. Because I had a home, job, and child to maintain, I couldn't do it.
Something in me finally cracked recently and I thought to try it and made a call to a tech school nearby. Three days later I'm on a tour. The tour is maybe an hour or two in total. The papers were all done online, and I start Monday!
They also threw a ton of financial aid at me. I'm only going to pay about $50 a month until I've graduated, and then those payments go up to about $95. Still very manageable. My classes are only four hours long and are at night, and I only have to be in class two days a week.
The rest of my studies are done at home with a tablet they provide me, so I didn't even have to buy a computer or anything. I couldn't believe how easy and affordable it actually was.
Up, Up, And Awaywoman in white knit sweater inside aircraftPhoto by Jon Ly on Unsplash
I got my pilot license. To be fair, I did study a lot but it was one of those things I wasn't sure I was going to do well on. My instructor said I'm ready, but I still wasn't sure.
Day of the check-ride, I answered every question correctly without hesitation, and did every maneuver correctly. We parked and my examiner said "So how's it feel to be a private pilot". I thou.ght in my head "There's no way" even though I did everything right with relative ease.
A Little Research Goes A Long Way
I'm a 24-year-old female who knows absolutely nothing about cars. Well, I bought myself a nice front/rear dash cam without considering how to safely wire it and found out I would have to remove parts of my car to wire it behind airbags and stuff so it wouldn't prevent an airbag from deploying properly.
I thought I was going to have to pay someone to install it for me, but then I found an amazing solution. It turns out a simple YouTube video walked me through the whole thing! Now my dashcams look professionally installed. I also learned how to change a blown fuse on the same day because my USB adapter wasn't working.
I was high on the achievement of something new and had a brief hyper-fixation on learning to mod my car but thankfully got over it.
Learning To Love
My small victory was breaking up with someone who wasn't good for me. I stayed way too long in relationships that I didn't want to be in. Once I learned to like myself, I realized I don't have to settle.
I didn't mind being alone in between, and because I liked myself, I started to draw the type of people I actually wanted to be around. The type of people who made me want to keep challenging myself to be better.
If you're in a relationship where your heart aches all the time, where you're accepting less than love and respect and kindness, and if you're in a position to leave and still be safe, just do it.
Even if you don't like yourself yet, you will. This is true for all relationships, not just romantic ones. Surround yourself with people you like to be around, and who like to be around you. Time is all we have, so invest wisely.
The Broken Fridge
Some previous owners left a "broken" fridge in the kitchen when we moved in. They put it in the paperwork that the fridge was broken and that they weren't going to dispose of it. So I made plans to get a new one the week we moved in, but just for fun, I decided to plug the old one in to see what was wrong.
Four years later and we're still using it without issue. We did find that the push-to-connect plastic water line for the ice maker was leaking a bit so we replaced that for about two dollars.
All Little Action
When I was working overseas for a US company, many of my co-workers and I all developed a similar chronic health problem due to our employer's ongoing violation of several workplace health and safety laws.
I repeatedly urged my co-workers to file SPOT reports, because it was not the kind of health issue that goes away on its own. Not one of my co-workers could be bothered to file a report, even though everyone complained constantly about their resulting health issues.
So, I filed a SPOT report. They had no idea what they were missing. I ended up in two years of physical rehab back home, hauling in overseas money tax-free, while not having to work, and ended with a generous five-figure cash settlement.
My health issues, thanks to the medical attention I was able to get by holding my employer accountable, have been resolved. My former co-workers, I imagine, are still just complaining about theirs. There was no lawsuit and no attorney. One single report of injuries was all it took.
The Family Favoritewoman standing beside black and gray concrete buildingPhoto by ᕈ O W L Y on Unsplash
My parents and grandparents all had this really annoying habit of making anything and everything sound way harder or more demanding than it actually is.
Whenever I'd perform the feat and realize how insultingly easy it was, I'd be left a little offended while my family would cheer me on. I never could tell if I was offended because I expected a harder challenge or offended because my own family thought I couldn't handle something so simple.
Maybe it's an ego thing, maybe it's Maybelline. I don't know. But here's the twist. After I turned 18, I started treating everything like it was easier than it looks so I didn't let my mind get caught up thinking I couldn't do it at all. The result of this was that I became one of the handiest and most skilled people in my group.
A Little Upgrade
My small victory was learning to code. I’m no programmer by any means, but I was working a data management job that heavily utilized Excel to update a database via file drop. We were using formulas to check our work against the master file of the database after loading it.
I showed an affinity for working with data and my manager encouraged me to learn SQL and move into analytics. I was intimidated so I put that off for about two years.
Finally, I was so unsatisfied with the job that I knuckled down and got started learning SQL. I was so surprised at how much easier it was than I expected.
With just the basics I had a new job within three months. Now I use it every day. Not so much writing SQL, but using and tweaking existing code to suit my needs. Reading code to determine what it’s doing is a great way to learn as well. With any luck, this time next year I’ll be starting as an analyst.
One hot Summer night, we had a severe thunderstorm that hit my area hard. Power got knocked out everywhere around me. So the next morning, they were able to get the power back on, and all of my lights and appliances came to life...except for one big problem. The 65-inch TV that I bought two weeks prior still wasn't working.
Obviously, I tried to turn it on, unplug and plug it back in, et cetera. I tried every single thing I could think of, and after hours and hours of attempts and endless research online, I came to the conclusion that my TV was just donezo.
I figured even though I had the proper surge/power protection hooked up to it, it somehow must’ve gotten fried in the storm. I was devastated.
But after more hours of reading sites and forums about how to repair it, I find a post on a forum that describes the exact issue I’m having, and they said that all they did was get a hairdryer and aimed warm air into the back of the TV and all the internal junk inside.
I say to myself, “There’s no way that works, but what’ve I got to lose” so I grab a hairdryer and aim it into the back of the TV for about seven or eight minutes, and then plug the TV back in.
And boom! It comes back to life and turns back on. Crisis averted. Not too sure why it worked, but I was ecstatic, to say the least.
I got an email from Amazon that said I was being invited into their "Amazon Vine" program. I had never heard of it, but the email said that I can just request free stuff, and all I have to do is review it.
It sounded too good to be true. In fact, it sounded exactly like a joke. I was 90% sure it was one, especially since they needed me to sign up with my name, address, and social security information. You know, exactly the kind of information you should never give out on the internet.
But the email seemed to come from Amazon itself, so it made me curious. I did some looking into it just to see if it was a joke and how it worked. However, after looking into it more, it turned out to be completely legit.
In the last year, I've gotten about $45,000 worth of free stuff from Amazon, and all I had to do in exchange was write honest reviews about it. If I like it, I say so, and if I hate it, I say so.
I've gotten all sorts of stuff, like a large-screen HD TV, an ice machine, boxes of snacks like cookies and Doritos, furniture, dash cameras, tablets, tattoo machines, and more. My neighbors must think I have a serious spending addiction, and my poor delivery drivers think I've opened up a retail business or something.
I do owe the IRS a bit because it technically counts as income, but for my income bracket that ends up not being too much anyway. And because people always ask me how they can join, well, you can't. You either get an invite, or you don't.
Nobody knows how they choose whom to invite, but it's based somehow on reviews you've done in the past.
Knowing Your Worth
My small victory was negotiating a pay raise. Rumor got around work that I could use a computer. They tried me out on the CNC machine. Turns out my hobby of playing with computer programming for the past 20 years meant I was absolutely fantastic at it.
It also turns out that fixing the edge banding machine isn't that hard if you learn how it works. Suddenly I was the most valuable person in the place. I expected to just get a pay raise because I have the belief that people should get what they deserve.
No pay raise was forthcoming after 18 months. I am a fairly anxious person, but with some encouragement from my friends and family, I worked myself up to ask for the raise. The response made my stomach drop. The first time I asked, my boss just chuckled.
I don't think he was condescending, I just think the way I framed it sounded like a joke. The second time I asked, my boss said he'd think about it. I immediately started looking for a new job.
Turns out, I am a highly desirable employee. Within two weeks, I had three job offers. I resigned. Everyone was sad. My bosses panicked and asked me what it would take for me to stay. So, I demanded a fairly high wage for my trade to stay.
They didn't even hesitate to give it to me. Now I'm the highest-paid person in the place.
Dream Home Dealbrown and white concrete house near green trees under blue sky during daytimePhoto by Johnson Johnson on Unsplash
I got my place because it was sitting on the market for months. It was slightly more than I wanted to pay and it wasn't exactly my style, but it had "potential". It was only four years old and a 15-minute walk to the beach.
It was also on one of the larger blocks in the street. Anyway, I decided to buy it. The pest and building report came back confirming the house was pretty much immaculate. Two months later value had gone up $50,000.
Two years later, the place is worth $200,000 more than I paid. I think everyone overlooked it initially as it only has one bathroom and one small garage, but it does what I need.
I saved 18 years for a deposit and had a great credit score and savings history. I just found the one unicorn property and am so fortunate for it. I managed to even get a bank loan without having to rely on a broker. I absolutely love the place now.
I have a little garden and am putting in trees for the visiting wildlife. The street is quiet, and the neighbors are friendly. I was so lucky to come across it.
Just Another Lego Set
Building a PC is my small victory. With so many sophisticated videos on YouTube that didn't teach the trade well, I thought it would be hard to build a PC. Then I tried it once, and apparently, it was just an adult Lego set, but easier.
Carefree Car Troubles
I completely ruined the first (and last) brand-new car that I ever financed by being a sloppy driver and never changing the oil. Like, not only did I trash the interior of this car, I completely ruined the engine. But here's the kicker.
By some insane stroke of luck, I was granted a recall of my entire engine, due to some unrelated issue. They replaced my engine free of charge, and I drove the car for another 60,000 miles. I recently traded it in for a nice used car and am treating this one like my baby. I used my spare life already.
A Breezy Breakup
My small victory was divorce. Maybe this is an unexpected answer but I was dreading it. I worried it'd be this whole huge debacle. Once I mustered the courage and we got over the initial upset after an hour or two, we just began separating.
The divorce paperwork was simple, the court visit took less than an hour, and boom, we’re divorced. We both moved on amicably. I just feel like people always paint divorce as this incredibly difficult thing but it doesn't have to be and isn't always all that hard to get through.
I once was a temp at a tiny office on a construction site around 2003. I was only there for one day while the regular person was on some training.
They sat me down and told me that I just needed to copy all these numbers from one program to another. So, I selected them, hit ctrl c and ctrl v. They stared at me. Turns out about 60% of this woman's time had been spent manually typing numbers from one place to another.
Machine Takeoverblack flat screen computer monitorPhoto by Jake Walker on Unsplash
I used to process HSA claims around 10-plus years ago. One system we had to use back then was an old terminal program that took four line items per page. That's it. For a usual claim, no big deal, and not too hard to keep track of things over two or three pages for a longer claim.
Most fit on one. However, we also had the dreaded shoebox claims. This was the person who saved up every receipt all year in a metaphorical shoebox and sent everything in, once a year, to empty their account. We hated them.
Dozens or hundreds of line items totaling thousands of dollars. Just because you only have $500 in your HSA doesn't mean we get to stop there. If you sent in $4,000 in receipts, I've got to account for it all. Totally ruined my numbers for the day, and they tracked claims per hour religiously.
The main issue was double-checking that everything added up right when you were done entering it, and at four items a page it took forever to tally. But I came up with a genius plan. I made an Excel sheet.
It was laid out so I could enter every single line, then run a macro that would calculate the needed totals and dump all the text to a text file formatted exactly so I could select four items at a time, and paste them directly into the terminal window from the default starting cursor position, and every field would fill in automatically.
Copy, paste, next. Copy, paste, next. Copy, paste, next, et cetera, et cetera. This easily halved my entry times, with way less work. Finding any typos was much easier. I just had to look at a single organized sheet instead of scrolling through hundreds of pages of terminal text. It was great.
I showed it to my manager so the rest of my team could use it. Her reply made me see red. She was horrified I would use something like that, as no human was "double checking as they went along". This is despite demonstrable improvements to my error rates on large claims after I started using it.
She ordered me to stop using it and forbid anyone in her team from automating any part of their job at all. I kept using it for all of the two months I stayed there after that. I had some of the highest claims per hour numbers and lowest error rates on her team.
I never developed any more tools for them. She didn’t deserve them.
I used to have to make two contracts for every person I brought on a traveling training team. I said two contracts were unnecessary and made them into one, sent it to our lawyers, and they approved it.
Still, it took me a long time to update each contract with different names, pay rates, and dates. So I went on an Excel forum and found out how to make a mailer list, and hours of work suddenly took me 10 minutes. I didn’t tell anyone this though, so I just took my time.
Then I had to make floor maps for restaurants to send to the company that puts them into our scheduling program. Well, all of our restaurants are cookie cutter, so I just used Paint to piece them together rather than make all of them each time. I’m a Picasso with Microsoft Paint.
Then they wanted me to use Excel to keep track of training teams. One of my co-workers used Smartsheet and loves to teach people things. So, I jump on Smartsheet with her and she shows me around.
It's way easier to publish it so that people can see the teams but not mess up any information. I used forms to avoid asking them 30 questions that auto-populate my Smartsheet and shared it with payroll so they never have to reach out to me.
I had templates on Outlook and tons of stuff. I basically took a lot of my job and realized there has to be an easier way. So I would ask on Reddit or just look things up, and spend maybe an hour learning something that will save me many hours in the future.
I always tell people to just look things up. They say “I don’t know what to look up” and I say “Whatever your problem is just search it up the exact same way you’d say it to me”. Then when they look up “Excel thing that makes this do that” they are shocked that they find their answer.
A few years ago, my mom was tasked with fixing my grandparent's toilet while we were visiting for the holidays. The toilet reservoir was constantly filling and running, and thus flooding the bathroom, because the buoy arm wasn't lifting high enough from the water in the reservoir to switch off the water flow.
My mom (who is normally a very practical person) had been tackling the issue for hours. She was pretty distraught, thinking we would have to order a new buoy arm, maybe even a new sensor, or switch and pull the whole assembly apart to replace everything.
She was planning out a trip to the store and pricing things out when I walked in. The solution was so simple. I took one look at it and bent the metal arm the buoy was attached to down so the arm had a slight upwards curve.
The buoy still reached the same level in the reservoir but registered on the sensor as higher because of the curve in the arm. Problem solved.
I watched it dawn on her what I had done, and she just looked at me like I had a third eye. She said, “I've been struggling with this thing for four hours and you fixed it in four seconds". She was very happy I saved her from more work and spending more money.
She calls me her “little toilet engineer" from time to time. I work on Aircraft, so it's mildly demeaning.
A co-worker of my husband's got locked in their office. He was out on a Friday night for a few drinks. He walked past the office on the way to the taxi stand and decided to pop into the office to use the washroom.
When he tried to leave, the magnetic lock on the door wouldn't release. This was one of those buildings where the ground floor was a separate unit, a separate business was on the first floor, and their office was on the second floor.
The only other way out was a rolled-up emergency evacuation ladder he could toss out one of the larger windows, but he was drinking and scared of heights so instead he sleeps in the break room.
The next morning, when the co-worker is still unable to leave, he calls my husband who lived nearby. My husband talked him through where to find the management keys and contact numbers for the security company but they were no help.
So, I grabbed our tool kit and my husband and I drove to find him. We get there and the co-worker is chatting through the letter box. Now, these two men are highly educated. The co-worker is a senior software developer with the company.
The first thing I say is "Sure it's a magnetic lock, so do you not have access to the breakers to cut the electric"? They both just stared at me. The breaker box was right beside the door, and all the co-worker had to do to all night was open it up and cut power.
Suddenly the letterbox closes, we hear the snap of the breaker being flipped off, and the door is open. We all laughed at the situation as he only then told us he'd been there overnight.
Since they both worked with software and it seemed to be a software fault, that's where they focused. But I just thought "door doesn't open because of the magnet, and the magnet needs power, so remove power".
Funny thing is, this is the second time I'd had to come down to that office and release someone trapped inside.
Serious About Scholarships
My girlfriend didn't realize most scholarships aren't even applied for, so they give it to whoever applies to it by default. With her help, I wrote four essays that were tweaked for each scholarship application.
I did the writing because I'm a writer by trade. By the time she transferred to her new college, she had an excess of $1,500 to spend every month. Because of that, she could focus on her studies instead of trying to balance a job on top.
Suddenly Irishblack and brown electric guitarPhoto by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash
When I applied to college, I applied for an Irish American scholarship. Turns out they had so few applicants they just gave me $40k towards my tuition. I have a secret, though. I am not even remotely Irish.
Never Hurts To Ask
I was at a private concert with maybe 50 people for a band that used to sell out stadiums. My friend was a huge fan but too shy to talk to the band. So, I dragged him up to the edge of the stage after the show and explained the situation to the lead singer.
He dragged my friend onto the stage and took his picture with the whole band. My friend had a great time. Sometimes it is that easy.
Right Place, Right Time
I went to the bar one night with some friends and ran into a girl who had worked for me a few years earlier. I said “hi” and we chatted for a minute. Then she asks me where my girlfriend is, so I let her know that we broke up a couple of months earlier.
Suddenly, she replies "Oh cool, well I'm here with my friends and I'm going to go hang out with them, but if you want to hang out after the bar closes, I've always liked you". I blinked about 10 times in a row before finally saying "That sounds awesome". We ended up having a great time.
This One Weight-Loss Trick Doctors Hate
I lost 25 pounds...and all I had to do was stop eating before bed.
Seriously, Did You Try Turning It On?
I was given a TV because the audio didn't work on it. On the back was a "sound on/off" button.
Did Somebody Say Free Electronics?trash against wallPhoto by Kevin Butz on Unsplash
When I was a kid, I used to regularly dumpster dive for electronics. The vast majority of electronics are thrown away because some minor part was broken. Often, it's as simple as a fuse.
From Home Cook To Chef
Turns out it’s so easy to learn to cook with raw ingredients. Throwing in random things that taste good together usually works as long as you understand what you like.
All It Takes Is A Personal Touch
I was recently looking for an apartment. Rent in my city, like most cities currently, is outrageous. So after three days of looking, I found this 2-bedroom apartment with a price that normally would get you a roach-infested one-bedroom/studio in a bad part of town.
But these apartments look nice and are in a good part of town. The reviews online are all positive. I can't figure out the catch! Then I saw a disappointing detail. I see there is a year-long wait list for this place. As a result, I decided to go to the leasing office directly.
After talking to the property manager, I get bumped to the top of the list for an apartment that becomes available next month. I keep waiting for the bottom to drop out. Most people spend months looking for places in my city and they'd be paying a third more than I'm paying at a minimum for a similar place.
I looked for 3 days and found this place, but I think I just got lucky and it was just that easy.
Did You Try Turning It On?
I worked on an almost five-million-dollar lighting rig for a concert as a junior guy on the job. We get it all plugged in and patched, but it all went so wrong. None of it would turn on. All the guys were freaking out trying to figure out why.
The team collectively had about 150 years of experience...yet no one checked to see if the generators were turned on. I was like “No way this is why but I'll just go check if the generators are good”. Flipped stuff on and voila.
One Man’s Junk, Another Man’s Treasure
When I was a kid in the 80s, my family was broke. Like, we were two paychecks away from living in our car. We actually did have to live in our car for a few months before my mom landed her job.
Anyway, imagine a single mother of three, who works three jobs just to make ends meet. I was just attending 8th grade, and I was playing in the back of our house. I noticed something in the dumpster that I hadn’t seen before.
I fished it out and brought it home. It was a computer. A monitor, keyboard, and a tower thing. At that time monitors sat on top of the box. And they were huge! Not to mention expensive. I managed to set it up and it was already booting into Windows 3.1.
When my mom got home, she was livid! She thought I had taken it from someone. We couldn't afford anything close to that. No way! But once she saw the grass stains on the side, she knew.
We had that computer for four years. It helped me in ways I can’t even believe. Because of that computer, my love of electronics and my curiosity flourished. No, I am not a computer technician now, but I am the resident computer nerd for my family.
I make a living online, and I attribute most of my knowledge to what I can Google. So yeah! It “was” that easy!
Arcade Awakeningbeach under blue sky and white clouds during daytimePhoto by Roland Denes on Unsplash
I was at Carolina Beach last summer around Memorial Day. We got to the boardwalk one afternoon and there was an arcade there.
I found this skill game where you have to press a button that moves a fixture with a razor on it. When you let the button go, the device stops and the razor snaps through the middle. There's a small string close to the glass. If you time it right, the razor cuts the string, and this huge door opens, and you get all the prizes in the machine.
I swiped my card to play, pressed the button, and held it before releasing it. Suddenly, the rope cuts and the doors open. My son was losing his mind, and I'm just regretting the next two hours where I have to lug this giant bear and box of sand castle toys all over the boardwalk.
I still have not decided if I'm a savant at this game, or if it’s just really easy.
Reddit user Capital_Brain2676 asked: 'Vegans that started eating meat again, what happened?'
Most restaurant menus have caught up with the times to offer plenty of options to patrons with various dietary restrictions.
Vegan dishes tend to be a top priority, with gluten-free options being a close second.
Thanks to these options, groups of family and friends can dine together and not be limited by restaurant choices.
But when there's a sudden break in routine on the next outing, it can be jarring when the vegan in your group suddenly orders prime rib or a juicy burger that is not a plant-based patty.
What the whaaat?
Curious to hear from those who did a dietary 180 after routinely nourishing themselves with food grown from the earth's soil, Capital_Brain2676 asked:
"Vegans that started eating meat again, what happened?"
Some people were told what's good for them.
"I know someone who was a vegetarian for 13 years simply because someone told them they couldn't do it. I guess he figured 13 years was enough to prove a point and went back to eating meat after."
"I feel like 2-3 years would be enough though??"
On A Dare
"I knew a girl in college who did that. She was dared in middle school to become a vegetarian and... she just stuck with it. More power to them."
Some people were left with no choice but to ditch veganism.
Thanks, Mickey Ds
"Got cancer. Ate whatever my body would take without throwing up and that just happened to be chicken nuggets."
When Choices Are Limited
"Homeless and pregnant = eat what I was given."
"I’ve always wondered this actually. If a homeless vegan eats what they’re given. I’ve given homeless people subs in the past because of veggies, protein, and carbs (all necessary things) and wondered if they would eat it if they’re vegan. I’m sorry you’ve been on that road. I hope things are better for you now."
The Saying Goes
"There is a reason for the saying 'beggars can’t be choosers,' you give what you can/have and you can’t always accommodate the person you are giving it to, don’t think too hard about it. Also, hope OP is doing better."
Certain medical conditions prevented these Redditors from sticking to their restrictive diets.
Cooking For Two
"I still eat mostly vegetarian food and have done all my life. However my husband was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and coeliac which means that a high fibre/lower iron diet is not an option and a lot of the substitutes aren’t gluten free. More often than not when he has meat I’ll leave it or have the veggie equivalent but there are just not enough hours in the day to make 2 separate lasagnes and sauce etc."
"As someone who has UC, that's very cool of you to cook a more UC friendly diet. I dated a woman for 6 months who was a pescatarian. Every time I cooked, it was something we both liked and could eat. Every time she cooked, she focused on what she wanted and it didn't seem to matter whether I could eat it or not. She was nuero divergent and had it in her head that veggies = good regardless of what it did to my insides. For anyone who doesn't know, UC is inflammation due to my immune system attacking the lining of my colon. So it's inflamed (unless you're in remission, which a fair amount of people aren't). Large amounts of fiber makes the food sit there longer and get more packed, which hurts like all hell being tight up against inflamed tissue. And certain ones create gas of an unimaginable magnitude and strength."
"Anyway, a fair amount of the time, I had to order delivery or takeout because otherwise, I would have been farting or sh*tting my brains out overnight. So I appreciate what you've done like you wouldn't believe."
Bye Bye Veggies
"My gastroparesis diet led me off my vegan diet as well. I can’t handle legumes, leafy greens, and most vegetables. Hard to be a healthy vegan without any of those."
When Vegan Ingredients Turn On You
"Yup. Crohn’s Disease ended my 17 year vegetarian stretch. I’m in remission now and don’t eat red meat but I am sensitive to several vegan friendly ingredients like garlic, onions, cauliflower family and now I can avoid them without starving."
Cooking For A Full House
"Back when COVID had everyone in lockedown, myself and my roommate's family would take turns cooking dinner and it was fine. Then my roommate went on the NOOM diet, her daughter was diagnosed with GERD and couldn't have anything acidic, and her husband was diagnosed with celiac. Oh, and another family member disliked potatoes. I finally had to bow out. It was way too much of a pain in the @ss to cook a meal that met all of those restrictions."
Sometimes, you just gotta have meat.
"Not my story, but a good friend of mine was vegetarian, very nearly vegan for over 10 years. One day she was in Costco and walked past the rotisserie chickens. Without thinking she put it in her cart. When she got home she stood over the sink and ate it with her bare hands. She had no idea what came over her. Her telling me this story is still one of the funniest things I've ever heard. She is still very plant forward in her eating, but she won't hesitate to order a burger or a steak when she wants it now."
"I went on a weekend backpacking trip with a girl who had been religiously vegan for a few years. It was a pretty physically intense trip, and the last day heading back was in pouring rain the whole way, so by the time we got back to our car, we were absolutely exhausted, filthy, and starving."
"There was only one restaurant anywhere nearby, one of those highway diners. We get there and I notice she's got this kind of crazy look in her eyes. I ask if she's okay, and she just says 'I need a steak.' I laugh, but she goes 'I'm serious. I can't help it. I need a big greasy piece of meat right now or I'm going to die.""
"Sure enough, she orders the biggest steak on the menu, and wolfs it down in minutes, and the crazed look goes away. After that, she went right back to being vegan like nothing had happened. The look in her eyes was a little scary to be honest."
Unless it's a matter of life or death, there's no way I can survive being a vegan.
I don't have a strong enough will power to avoid eating meat.
So if that day ever comes when I'm forced to make a major change in my diet that won't include red meat and you're around me all the time, apologies in advance for my perpetual state of being hangry.
When getting together for dinner with friends, there isn't a more convenient, economical, or (hopefully) fun way to do it than having a potluck.
That way, one person isn't responsible for cooking everything, not to mention cleaning all the dishes afterward.
And everyone can contribute something they love, be it handmade or store-bought.
Of course, the ongoing risk with potluck meals is that one dish proves to be much less popular than others, possibly even going completely untouched all night. Perhaps the only thing worse than a dish going completely untouched is only one person touching it and then warning others to avoid it.
Redditor aquamarinetangerines was eager to hear about the most disgusting dishes people have ever seen or tasted at a potluck, leading them to ask:
"What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever seen someone bring to a potluck?"
Disgusting AND Lazy...
"Has a guy bring in his 'specialty corn'.”
"It was legit canned corn in a crockpot with spices."
"Thing is, he tells us 'ya, my wife took it to her pot luck on Tuesday, they didn’t eat it so I saved it on low in the crockpot and brought it here'.”
"It was Friday."
"Corn was brown."
"Nobody ate it."
"He kept eating it saying it was so good."
"The following Monday his new name at work was Corn Cob Rob."- ComparisonHonest
"She opened a can of tiny shrimp and poured it out, liquid and all, on top of a block of cream cheese."
"That was it. I guess we were supposed to eat it with crackers."- cherrybounceHappy Fun GIF by Chopt Creative Salad Co.Giphy
Check The Dates...
"Everything she brings."
"The first time was stale cake in a bowl of syrup(?)."
"It was both cake and soup, while also being neither."
"She has meat in her deep freezer older than some of her grandchildren."
"She’s a depression-era cook, so expiration dates don’t apply to medicine, cupboards, or freezers."
"Once she tried to give my daughter (2yo at the time), cough medicine that expire 9 years before she was even born."- dirtandstarsinmyeyes
"We had a potluck today and someone brought some Doritos."
"People started eating them and complaining that they tasted like dirt."
"We looked at the bag and it had a promo for 'Mockingjay part 1'."
"The chips expired in 2014!"
"This was a mixed department pot luck and we haven’t found the person that brought the 9 year old chips."- Chicken_Scented_Fart
Beef In Place Of Walnuts? Makes Perfect Sense...
"Someone made brownies with ground meat in them to a church potluck."
"My vegetarian friend discovered this when she bit into one."
"She was more confused and horrified about their existence than she was upset about eating meat-."
"It was the concept of this abomination itself that was disturbing and baffling."
"I thought she had to be wrong."
"'You haven't had ground beef in years, you don't know what it tastes like anymore, it's probably something else'."
"I tried them."
"It was beef."
"I was disgusted and really, really, really confused."
"Years later, I found out that apparently this was a thing."
"Someone came up with this-- putting beef in brownies-- as a substitute for walnuts for people with nut allergies."
"While this explains it a little, in theory, I'm still confused about why someone would assume that people who can't eat walnuts would prefer to eat ground beef brownies over just regular nut-free brownies."
"My sister reminded me that she was also there for this and she had tried the brownies first, and that they were actually the reason she stopped wanting to come to church."
"'I started doubting the entire establishment', she says."- UnfeyHungry Pizza GIF by Papa JohnsGiphy
Honest Mistake? Or Adventurous Experiment?
"Someone brought Deviled eggs and instead of sprinkling paprika on them they used cinnamon."- TinyWifeKiki
Veering From The Recipe Doesn't Always Pay Off...
“'Homemade fried chicken'.”
"Which translated to ‘chicken that I covered in pancake batter and breadcrumbs and dropped into a frypan until the outside looked cooked'."
"It wasn’t even seasoned."- Tying_pyrope
Not Everyone Likes Things Spicy...
"An apple pie, but they didn't have apple pie spices, like clove, cinnamon, or nutmeg, and said they used taco seasoning by accident and expected people to eat it."
"I, a dumb b*tch who likes to torture themselves tried it, and promptly tossed it into the trash when they looked away."- jirohenHot GIF by GIPHY Studios 2018Giphy
At A Restaurant No Less!
"A Korean-American coworker brought homemade kimchi, but she admittedly didn't know how to make it and just 'winged it'."
"It was fermented wrong and was covered in mold, which she didn't seem to understand was bad."
"The vegetables were basically half liquified and it smelled like dumpster juice."
"The thing is...half of the chefs at work had learned to make kimchi correctly and safely since various different kimchis used to be on the menu before she was hired."
"So we all instantly knew it was wrong and unsafe, but no one wanted to tell her."- No_Pear_2326
"At my previous job, I had a coworker that would frequently cook food because it was his 'passion' and he would bring it in to share with everyone."
"On a few occasions, someone would get ill after, but infrequently enough that people wrote it off as a coincidence."
"This coworker goes out on PTO and asks another coworker to feed his 12 cats while he is gone/scoop the litter boxes."
"Unfortunately, it was discovered the coworker was cooking/serving us food in the same pans he was also sometimes using as litter boxes for his bushel of cats."
"When confronted, he stated he thought this was fine because he washed them after."
"We never ate his food again."- Kitten_spawn
Surprise Ingredients Rarely Pay Off...
"Casserole with a side of roaches."
"Not even kidding."
"They crawled out of the bag she brought her dish in."
"I stopped participating in potlucks after that."- CanUFeelItMrKrabsnew york cockroach GIFGiphy
Yesterday's Delicacies/Today's Atrocities...
"Grandma's Jello salad, made with cottage cheese and celery."- GoatEatingTroll
No two people share the same taste in food, hence why we shouldn't always be hurt or offended if our contribution to a potluck doesn't prove popular.
There's also nothing wrong with choosing to pop by a supermarket instead of preparing something yourself.
As a store-bought lasagna will always go over better than homemade kimchi covered with mold or ground beef brownies...
The way people spend money has always fascinated me.
For many years I waited tables.
I worked in high-end, low-end, and all of the in-betweens.
And what would shock me most (besides all of y'all's BAD behavior) was the waste.
The waste of food, but more importantly the waste of money.
How does someone order a $50 steak, only eat half and toss out the rest?
No doggie bag. No leftover.
It must be nice to have that much coin to toss away.
Redditor StalkSmash wanted to discuss everyone's shopping habits, so they asked:
"What is one thing that you flat out just don’t know how people afford?"
Premium liquor choices always stun me.
When a certain friend can just casually order a $30 martini because of the vodka choice, without blinking, I'm stunned.
Jealous first, then stunned.
Stay HomeHungry Night Court GIF by LaffGiphy
"People who eat exclusively by ordering takeaways or delivery from restaurants. It's mind-bogglingly expensive."
"Secret hidden families. I can barely afford 1."
"At my last job, a woman told me her (ex)husband had a secret family. She found out when I guess the mortgage company called to ask about some documents for the new house. No idea what he did for work. Wife, two kids, a house, and whatever the bonus family consisted of."
"My dad did this. He had started a company in another city within the state, as that was where the industry prospects were better. Aaaaaaaand time rolled on past and I guess he missed having family around, just not ours."
"Eyelash extensions and the upkeep of them."
"I got them. They took 2 hours to put on initially and then you have to go back every two weeks to get them filled or you look like you have mange."
"You also have to brush them every single morning or they will point in every direction, and God help you if you have a cold or allergies where your eyes get even slight build-up. You can't just pick any crusty s**t from your eyelashes because the fake ones are glued on and this acts as a stopper so you can't just slide it off your lash."
"I spent so many mornings standing in front of the mirror cleaning and arranging one f**king eyelash at a time. I couldn't deal."
"I still don't know how we afforded daycare. At one point had two kids in daycare for a year before oldest went to kindergarten."
"We have two kids in full-time daycare, the daycare that we go to is slightly below market rate for the area, we're going to pay around 25k this year. Thank God my oldest goes to kindergarten next fall."
"We overpay on our mortgage because we're trying to pay it off quicker, but if we paid the actual loan amount daycare would cost more than our house."
"And let me be clear, my wife and I are the lucky ones. We waited to have a kid until our late 30s, and I was 40 when kid 2 was born. We both have good careers and make good incomes and it's a serious, serious financial stretch for us to be able to afford it, I honestly don't know how other people do it and there's no way I would have been able to afford two kids even 7 or 8 years ago."
For FunShark Week Ocean GIF by Pudgy PenguinsGiphy
"A boat or RV (or both)?! I can barely afford to exist much less spend all this money on recreation."
Boats have always been an issue.
Just remember the Titanic.
UpkeepFace Botox GIF by Montreux ComedyGiphy
"Women who keep up with nails, lash extensions, Botox etc. That crap is expensive as f**k!"
Up in the AirFlying Music Video GIFGiphy
"First-class airfare... it’s just so overwhelmingly expensive in comparison to regular seats I can’t imagine anyone ever having that amount to spare unless you’re incredibly wealthy."
"International First Class tickets. I'm going to Japan in a month and was thinking of going in style. I got a nice raise and a bit of vacation time saved and wanted to treat myself. Forget it all. $17k was the cheapest I found. Absolutely insane!"
"Buy economy than wait. They will send emails out to bid on the business and first-class seats that are not sold. Or you can check on the airline's app for seat upgrades closer to the departure date and upgrade cheaper."
"Multiple-family foreign holidays per year. To be clear, I'm not criticizing anyone on this, and I appreciate that if you leave in mainland Europe, it's easier than here (Scotland)."
"I am just genuinely amused/bemused when I see people on their 2/3/4 foreign holiday of the year on social media."
"We went to Portugal last year (Fantastic country, btw). 2 adults 2 kids (the eldest boy was playing in a football tournament), and it was probably £3.5k and that was done cheaply. We don't go into debt for a holiday ever, though."
Getting on in Years
"Eldercare. $300 a day is about typical for most states, and it goes up if they need special care (dementia, etc)."
"3/4 of Americans who live to 21 live to 65, of which 2/3 will need long-term care for an average of 3 years. Maybe not all long-term care is nursing level, but some of it is even more expensive -- memory care, etc. Comes out to roughly $150k per person-- and almost double that if you limit it to those who need any at all. Somewhere between a generous down payment and a new house. Who can afford that -- especially after decades not working?"
First-class has always been an intriguing aspect of mine.
But that extra coin can get crazy.
I'll stick to coach.
I have no aesthetic or emotional issues with getting older as it certainly beats the alternative, so I freely admit I have reached a certain age.
It's the age of sound effects when I get up from a chair and asking younger people to pick things up off the floor for me.
It's the age of having to use Urban Dictionary daily to understand messages I get from younger friends and relatives.
But as much as I don’t understand their language, music or hobbies, there's a lot they'll never understand about my childhood and adolescence.
I was reading an article by writer Eric Chilton who pointed out Gen X—the generation born between 1965 and 1980 of which I'm a part—was the last to live in a world without the internet, cellular phones and social media.
And those are only a few examples of the paradigm shifting innovations in our lifetimes.
Reddit user WeirdJawn asked:
"Older Redditors, what do young people get completely wrong about past decades?"
As a young person, I was fascinated with the idea my maternal Grandmother lived through the transition from horses to combustion engine vehicles, the inception of commercial air travel, the creation of the motion picture industry and the invention of television.
But I've lived through vinyl LPs and 45s, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and digital music players.
If I wanted to see a movie as a kid, I went to a theater—or drive-in—or waited for an often heavily edited version to air on TV. Then cable movie channels were introduced, followed by LP size video disc players, then Betamax and VHS, DVDs, HD and Blu-ray and now?
Digital downloads and streaming services—I haven't been to a theater in years.Giphy
"Up until video rental stores in the early 80's, at school the next day every kid was talking about what was on TV the night before, as every single family was watching tv together every single night."
"With some exceptions, most people watched the same thing as their schoolmates or co-workers, just to be a part of the conversation."
"There's something very isolating about modern media.
"You can be into a TV show, or YouTube series, and nobody else you know has heard of it."
"I'm a fan of aYouTube series—RedLetterMedia—that's pretty popular and very well regarded amongst its fans, and only one of my friends has heard about it.
"Probably just how often you had to accept that you couldn't find out the answer to something."
"If you had a question you could ask your family, maybe your friends, maybe your teachers, and your last chance was the check the library."
"But if the library didn't have the answer, then you just had to accept that you weren't going to get an answer (or you'd have to hope to come across that answer someday in the future)."
"Now you just ask Google and get 10 answers in just seconds."
One & Done
"How on-time you had to be for your favorite shows because there was little to no chance you’d see that same episode again until they (hopefully) did re-runs during summer."
"I remember waiting anxiously for the nightly news to be over so I could watch my favorite TV shows."
"Commercial breaks were just mad rushes for the bathroom, or to the kitchen to get something quick to drink."
"Once it was done, it was gone."
"The happy tears I cried when they finally released The Stand miniseries on DVD about a decade after airing."
"I feel I was in the last generation of this, even though channels were much more prevalent and reruns of everything was the norm."
"I remember rushing off the bus with all my friends because we were absolutely SURE Goku was gonna defeat Frieza this episode. And it was a crap shoot whether or not the driver would be fast enough for us to make it."
"Years later when DVDs started becoming more prevalent, they STILL didn't put shows on collectable media regularly. You couldn't just get an entire season of a show and binge it."
"At most you could find a 'best-of' compilation of five or six of the most popular episodes, and that was only if the show was incredibly popular."
"And what I am describing here was considered 'having it good' compared to older people."
"That it was incredibly common to just not have pictures of events or other things we see as important now."
"Not only did we have entire vacations where no pictures were taken, we could go months without a single picture being taken of any member of our family unless it was particularly notable."
"A trip to St Louis? No pictures. A trip to Disneyland? Maybe a picture at the entry gate or one of the souvenir pictures of us with a character."
"A trip to zoo? No pictures. An average day? Forget about it!"
"Frequently, the only pictures taken were at major holidays like Christmas or on someone's birthday."
"I explained that to my kids the other day."
"What if every picture you took cost a dollar?
"And you don’t know if it’s even good until probably weeks later, as long as the photo lab doesn’t f*ck up processing."
"Or your film or pictures don't get lost in the mail going to or from the developer or they don't send you someone else's photos by mistake."
"You had to plan ahead to take a photo."
"'Did you remember the camera? Did you remember to buy film or flashbulbs?”
So Few Options
"It's an exceptional AMOUNT of media to consume now. In the 90s, you had 3-4 super popular channels, and 4-5 low rated channels. They all showed one show at a time."
"Now we have a dozen streaming services with infinite media options."
"It's becoming increasingly difficult to engage in office conversation because so much content is available, people do not have to stray as far from their interest to consume content they want to consume."
Smoking Or Non?
"They understand restaurants had 'smoking sections' and that bars & clubs were filled with cigarette smoke. But I don't think many understood how pervasive smoking was."
"Non-smoking areas or sections didn’t exist before the 1980s. There were ashtrays and people smoking literally EVERYWHERE."
"Jury boxes had ashtrays in front of every juror. Judge smoked, lawyers smoked, the gallery smoked."
"You smoked on planes, trains, busses, taxicabs, and in all transportation centers."
"You smoked at the library, the PTO meetings at schools, the town hall and all city offices. Hell, you could smoke at the courtyard at my High School as a student."
"You smoked in the elevator and on the escalator. The mall. The grocery store. Sports venues. Doctor's offices. Hospitals. Sitting at your desk at work even if you were in a cubicle or open area."
"The movies. The plays, opera, concerts and every other public performance, people smoked."
"A non-smoker would come home often smelling like smoke. One was constantly surrounded by smoke. It was insane."
"You literally made ash trays as a grade school art project, that’s how common it was."
"Probably under estimating how few choices there were."
"Today, it seems like everything imaginable is available in a variety of sizes, delivered to your door over night."
"Catalogs and mail order had 4-6 week delivery."
"Malls were the best thing ever—all the stores in one place, a wide variety of products and sizes and not downtown."
"And also just how little people knew they were missing out. If it wasn't on network evening television (Channels 2, 4, 7, 9, and 11), or on a store shelf in your town, or in the Sunday newspaper... it simply didn't exist for you."
"If you had an inkling something existed—say, tin foil that comes in sheets instead of one giant roll—you could go around asking people, if you wanted. But you were more than likely to just get a shrug and, 'Why would you want such a thing?'."
"Let's say you were particularly enterprising, so you dial '0' and ask the operator for the number for corporate headquarters of Reynolds Aluminum Foil, if you knew the city it was in. Because there was no internet, and the only way to find a number was by dialing '0' and speaking to a telephone operator."
"But even if you spoke to someone at Reynolds, they had no way to exchange money for goods at that level, and they probably would just tell you they sell it in the Ohio area, and that would be that."
"You went to the market. They have one brand of pancake mix, and no one had ever heard of anything different, and why would you want a different brand, anyway?"
"Then you go to the hardware store, and they carry one brand of paint, and no one had ever heard of any other brand of paint."
"And it was that way for a long, long time."
One For the Road
"How common drinking & driving was."
"Until MADD came along, people did this routinely."
"It's where 'one for the road' originated."
"Yes! When my friends and I had our 18th birthdays in late 1979, the thing to do was to celebrate by driving through Beer Barn, where you could literally drive-through to get beer, wine, wine coolers, whatever."
"Then open them up and drive while drinking. At 18. This was in Texas."
"It also was not uncommon for my dad to drive while drinking when he was taking us wherever at night."
"Zero education on why you should not do that."
Good & Bad
"I am definitely older (born in 1949 so Baby Boomer)."
"What today's young people don't appreciate is how, growing up, we had to invent our own sources of fun."
"There were no video games (which I enjoy playing), just 3 channels on a black-and-white tv (we didn't get color until 1967), and no real entertainment aimed at kids."
"All we could do is interact with each other and play established games like marbles or maybe an organized sport like Little League baseball."
"There was a baseball diamond, overgrown with weeds, across the street from us, but mostly we played in the woods that surrounded us, climbing trees pretending to be pirates or some such.
"I loved the bookmobiles that would visit my street, and I must have read every biography (all bound in blue covers) in my elementary school library."
"It was a different era with many fewer distractions and much more time for sustained imagination."
"Being a different place and time, we developed different skills for interacting with the world and each other than young people do today."
"Was it better? That's hard to say. We tended to have an insular view of our own little world, while today it is hard to escape what it happening everywhere on Earth."
"We had to wait days for a letter to arrive, and we shared a party phone line with our neighbor's phone. That is a far slower pace than today's instantaneous texting culture. (Yes, I do text.)"
"Some things have been lost while others have been gained. That's the way it always will be. Just wait."
In Chilton's article—referenced at the beginning—he stated:
"We [Gen X] will be the last generation to know the world without...
- Cable TV
- Cell Phones
- The internet
- Seat belt laws
- Remote controls for the TV"
What would you add to the list?