Before we get started here, a quick personal aside… This is absolutely bananas that I actually finished this list. I started nearly five years ago and didn’t actually anticipate I’d ever complete it. I’m not sure I learned anything or gained any real knowledge/experience of value over that time—aside, of course, from the obvious lesson that organization is beneficial. I didn’t start a master list of the feelings for about two years, so if things appeared to be showing up haphazardly… that’s why. Anyway, I hope that if you’ve read any of these, you’ve at least chuckled to yourself once. If not, read them again. There has to be something in here. Hell, there’s two-hundred and fifty of them.
I don’t typically enjoy all the things about weddings that most people love.
It seems like, and I could be wrong here, most people enjoy–in no specific order–the dancing, the ceremony, the witnessing of two people in love, the pomp and circumstance.
I really don’t care about any of those things.
In my experience, when my friends get married it’s one of the rare times when we’re all together. Somehow, despite growing up in New Jersey, going to a college that sends primarily from the tri-State and living in one of the more populated spots around New York City that isn’t New York City… almost none of my super-close friends are in this area.
I could bitch and moan about this all post long if I wanted to, but not only do you not give a shit—you’ve likely heard me do it in person.
So, with all that in mind, you can understand how important it is to me to see these people. Of course, it isn’t lost on me that if we all lived as close as I’d prefer, this feeling would substantially lose its value and perhaps even fall off the list entirely.
But, they don’t live close and I haven’t moved on with my life like they have so it’s still got a hell of a lot of value (Literally, every single one of them is married and many of them have… what’s the word for when you have to change your lifestyle, sleeping habits, spending habits and saving habits without ever knowing if you’re doing the right thing for very little gratitude over 20-40 years? Oh yeah, kids. A bunch of them have kids.)
Anyway, back to weddings… it really can be any event where you’re all together, but it seems like weddings are the only times nowadays where you can get everyone in the mix. Funerals are obviously sad, reunions never seem to get the whole gang back and bachelor/ette parties inevitably leave people out. Weddings are where it’s at if you want to see everyone.
And inevitably, at these weddings, there are distractions. Sometimes it comes in the fact that I’m a best man or a groomsmen and have actual responsibilities. Other times it comes in the form of people “wanting to dance” or “enjoying the company of their significant other” or “listening to the speeches” or not needing to “double fist every single time I go to the bar.”
Regardless, when the smoke settles and the dust clears and the lower-case j’s are dotted and x’s crossed, it’s just you and your best friends, likely at one or two large tables, staring directly down the barrel of a full day together at an all-you-can-drink and nearly all-you-can-eat affair.
Note: This feeling isn’t specifically about drinking with friends. It’s aided by drinking, in many cases, but those who don’t drink at all experience this feelings just the same.
There will be consequences in the morning and perhaps later that evening, but for now you’re just starting to round into form. If you’re lucky, it’s nice outside and if you’ve truly got a horseshoe up your ass the whole event is outside in this incredible weather.
It doesn’t hit you fully until maybe drink two or three: you’re not even buzzed yet but you’re on your way and you know it. You all know it and that’s part of the reason it’s so fucking great.
You and your friends have no where to be, nothing to do other than spend time with one another and have fun. There’s no class to wake up for, no work to take care of, no kids (more often than not) to care for… the only thing that’s incumbent upon you is to stay up as long as you possibly can to soak it all in.
Think about that for a second… As you get older, how often does that scenario truly come up? Sure, we all have fun shit we do during the week or on weekends. But how often do you have nothing else to worry about but fun with the people you enjoy being around the most?
I’ll end with this: I was once a groomsman for a good friend and I’d brought a girl to the wedding as a date. For other reasons that aren’t nearly as relevant to this feeling nor as humorous to talk about, I wasn’t inside for much of the wedding. Instead, I spent it outside, on the deck, drinking and talking with whichever of my friends happened to pass by. At one point, my date came out and joined in on the fun. She’d eventually finish her drink and ask if I wanted to meet her on the dance floor. I said no, not because I didn’t want to dance with her (I didn’t, but that wasn’t why I said no) but because I wanted to keep hanging out with my friends.
I tell that mini story to point out a few things:
- how deranged I am
- how poor my social skills can be
- how much I value my high school and college friends, many times, to the detriment of nearly every other relationship in my life
I’ve definitely gone overboard with how extreme I feel about this sort of shit, no denying it. But, there’s also no denying how great it feels to be two or three drinks in with your best friends in the world, knowing you’ve only got time on your side.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: I’m honestly not sure… having no friends? Having your friends not invite you to anything but not tell you that you’re no longer part of the group? Hating your friends? I honestly don’t know.
It’s pretty much the one thing we can all agree we’ve either done or spent time thinking about doing.
It’s what gives life and gives life meaning.
It’s one of the few things in this world where the enjoyment of it is only equaled, and in many ways outdone by, its pursuit.
It’s fueled the creation of movies, television shows and music for decades. Centuries, in the case of music.
It can last as long or as short as you like.
It’s spawned an industry all its own.
It really only requires two people, but can handle as many your imagination can dream.
It’s possibly the only thing we like doing that we never want to imagine anyone we know doing.
It sells magazines.
It literally changes the chemistry of your brain and is good for you.
It can somehow make you feel incredible and horrific, all in the same way.
It fundamentally alters relationships between the people involved and is generally irreversible in that sense.
It brings people together, makes them closer physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It’s being done all over the world, all the time.
It’s pretty damn great.
It’s the second best feeling.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When someone sees you.
My grandmother used to say to me, “Would you rather be happy or would you rather be right?”
Invariably, I’d answer: “Both.”
She passed away in 2012 but knowing her as well as I did I’m still consistently stunned when I think back to her saying that to me… because she enjoyed being right more than just about anyone I knew.
Now, of course, there’s varying degrees of how good it feels to be right. There’s the quiet, keep-it-to-yourself type of being right where it warms the cockles of your heart but you don’t say much. Then there’s the type where no one really was arguing with you but it’s still nice to be the authority, to be correct when it comes to some/anything. But lastly, and most importantly, there’s the sort of being right when someone actively, vociferously and/or repeatedly doubts you in public and YOU’RE STILL FUCKING RIGHT.
This could be as simple as remembering where Chris Kaman went to college… it’s Central Michigan… or as impossibly complicated as being proven right that your mom never, in fact, liked boxing despite your dad’s claims to the contrary (even though this literally, by laws of physics, space and time, cannot be proven one way or the other, I look forward to the white light at the end of the tunnel to settle this with my family once and for all).
Before we go further, and admittedly there’s not much left to go, I think this is as appropriate a time as any to posit this question: why do sports fans remember where guys went to college? This seems to be an oddly specific thing that only happens to us. Fans of movie stars don’t tend to know where they grew up. Politicos don’t know everyone in government’s alma mater. If brain space was like a hard drive, I’d venture that about 20-40% of mine is filled up with shit like Chris Kaman and Central Michigan or Aaron Judge and Fresno State or Chris Johnson and Eastern Carolina. I’d like to wipe that slate clear and even if I could replace it with nothing, I think my whole OS would run smoother.
Anyway, this feeling is obviously similar to number four with one major difference: when you’re doing better than someone, you know deep down that you aren’t necessarily better than that person. But, there’s very little ambiguity about being right.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Acting like a confident, pompous douche about something you KNOW… and then it turns out you’re either mistaken or, worse yet, been wrong about forever and no one’s told you. When I was younger I used to think “irregardless” was a word and that the phrase was “for all intensive purposes.” Imagine as an adult, if I still thought that, confidently argued that’s how it was and found out I was wrong.
You know why that never happened? My mom checked me on it when I was a kid and set my ass straight. Why? Because she also liked being right.
Let’s not lie to one another… this feels absolutely fantastic.
Don’t you sit there on your high horse and judge me, pretending you don’t have that person in your life you enjoy doing better than.
Perhaps it’s your brother or sister. Maybe one of your parents. How about an ex? Or maybe just that kid that’s been better than you at everything your whole life.
Everyone has their Lex Luthor. Their Newman. This person is that for you.
The thing about this feeling is that it’s not exactly socially acceptable to admit it. We’ve all been raised, to varying degrees, to believe altruisms like “The best revenge is living well” or “It’s not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you were yesterday.”
Here’s the real truth: believing either of those things and also wanting to do better than someone you can’t stand aren’t mutually exclusive feelings.
Sure, I’d like to think I’ve matured as a person and continue to grow as an individual every day… but that doesn’t mean I don’t like sticking it to someone, if only in my mind, when I’m doing better than they are.
Here’s a few things that could happen to you that make you feel like you’re doing better than someone.
- You get a raise and they don’t.
- You get a raise that’s better than the raise they got.
- You are happily dating someone and they are still on Hinge.
- You are living a great single life and they are in a miserable relationship.
- Your favorite sports team just whooped their team’s ass.
- You are in far better shape than they are.
- You have a better game than they do in (any sport).
- You look better than they do at a wedding or similar event where people are dressed nicely.
I could go on and on here, but I’ll stop for the sake of time constraints because I think you get the point, no?
Imagine that person you can’t stand and then imagine any of those things happening. If you’re sitting there reading this saying that wouldn’t make you happy either one of two things is true:
- You should be put up for beatification by the pope.
- You are full of fucking shit.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: You think you’ve finally beaten your nemesis at something, you’re convinced of it, and you discover you are oh-so-wrong. It’s like getting to the finish line of a long race only to discover everyone is already done. You lose, you get nothing.
Before we get started, we’re all on the same page about what this means, right?
According to UrbanDictionary, a reputable source for things like this, here’s the defintion:
So, basically every single guy on Earth, right?
I’m not saying that in some sort of bullshit, “the future is female” and all women are amazing type way. A lot of women are amazing. Some men are too. But not all in either group.
The fact seems to remain that there are a ton of men you run into that you look at and go, “Jesus, what is she doing?”
Just off the top of my head, I can think of anywhere from 7 to 250 men I know… literally, just dudes I actually know… that are dating or have dated or are married to women they have absolutely no fucking business being with. Whether that’s because she’s better looking or a better person or more interesting or more fun to be around… or all of those things and more, there’s a ton of guys where you honestly can’t help but wonder what the fuck happened to this poor woman.
Does he have her family tied up to a train track somewhere? Perhaps he’s an evil wizard or magician of some sort that’s cast a spell?
No one will ever quite know for sure.
But, if you do happen to find yourself among the lucky dudes with a woman that you clearly don’t deserve on many or all levels, don’t dwell on it too long.
You don’t want her to get hip to the idea she could (and should) do better.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Thinking you’re the one she’s lucky to have when it’s really the opposite. And now you have no hand.
The funniest person in my group of friends, at least from college but still likely all included, is a man named Alastair Ingram.
He works and lives in Vermont, is married and has a dog.
None of those facts are humorous.
In fact, in many ways, he isn’t humorous. He’s the kind of funny you can’t quite explain but know is real. The sort of guy that’s always quick with a joke or to light up your smoke. But, you can also tell there’s some place he’d rather be.
Seriously though, Bill Joel lyrics aside, the dude is hilarious. Can’t quite explain it all the time, but it’s undeniable: he makes me laugh consistently harder than just about anyone else I’ve ever met.
I say this because we all have a friend like him in one group or another. And if you’re anything like me, the only thing more fun than laughing at the stuff he says is saying something that actually elicits the same reaction out of him.
Now, to be clear, it’s not as if he (or any other version of this friend in your group) is necessarily difficult to make laugh. It’s not as if they’re the type to withhold laughter or that they have some impossibly hard-to-reach sense of humor. Sometimes that’s the case, but not always.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you’ve somehow gotten this person, the one who can make your whole group of friends stop what they’re doing and laugh uncontrollably, to do the same for something you’ve just said.
Take a bow.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: This doesn’t specifically relate to this, nor is it a polar opposite but it’s close enough so here it goes: that moment when you take the joke the step too far and it’s no longer funny. It’s been batted around for a bit, everyone’s had a good turn of it and you get your chance and you kill it. Not with something offensive… just something that isn’t fucking funny. Joke, over.
Obviously, I like food.
I’ve already talked about the joy I get from planning my meals and eating sandwiches and apples (and even specifically the act of buying good apples). We’ve talked about bag fries and junk food (and even specifically McNuggets). We’ve discussed the joys of having someone cook for you and of cooking for others.
Fuck, even the delivery guy calling made it on the list.
Clearly, I’ve got a little thing for eating.
So with that said, we get to this next feeling. It may seem like a slight repeat of a few and in some ways it is. But, I wanted something that encapsulated all of the feelings of enjoying that great whatever you’re having.
I’ll give you an example to illustrate:
Recently, I went to a comedy show with a couple friends. It was a weekday and there was enough time after work to meet for dinner before the show. In fact, the other two I was going with were meeting for dinner. I declined.
Because just the night before I’d made chicken tortilla soup and I couldn’t fucking wait to have more of it. Let me repeat that, in a different way, so the girth of it hits you squarely: I was so excited to eat something I declined an opportunity to hang out with friends so I could dine alone and meet them at a later time.
The beauty of this feeling is that it extends to anything you’re excited about eating. That could be the sushi delivery you have coming for lunch today or the cake you’re allowing yourself to devour on your cheat day or the monthly Popeye’s run you make (this, dear reader, is actually a part of my routine) or when you make yourself a bowl of linguine and clams big enough for two people (yes, I do this as well… it’s both gluttonous and amazing). Hell, it could be something you’ve made at home or it could be something someone’s made for you.
One way or the other, you’re excited. You know, beyond any doubt, you’re going to love every single bite of whatever you’ve got coming.
But nothing beats that first bite.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: The last bite. Now, to be fair, the last bite can be quite satisfying as well. I’m a big proponent of saving and organizing that last bite so it’s a great send off to your meal. That all said… there are no further bites after that.
I’m sure this is the case in reverse for women, but as I’m a guy, I can only speak to my own experience.
There really isn’t much to say in this space that the title doesn’t plainly convey, but let’s at least get into it a bit.
In the beginning of a relationship, it’s almost an absolute no-no until one of you crosses the line for the first time and lives to tell the tale.
Honestly, it’s not that different from the first time my brother or I said “fuck” at the dinner table. My parents, after initially being angry, eventually said “Well, I guess we’ve crossed the fuck barrier” and from that point forward conversations were different. Farting and fucking share this one commonality.
I’ll add, before we go further here, that even when you have crossed the fart line together it’s still not the same as you would when you’re alone. Some things are better left as they are. Farting is one of those things.
But, back to the feeling at hand…
Before you’ve crossed that barrier, every single date and sleepover and hangout is really just gymnastics for your intestines and anus. How long can you hold in this gas before you either implode, something leaks out or you can get to a bathroom that’s far enough away that she A) won’t hear it and B) the smell will dissipate by the time you return?
No matter how great the night or date has been—let’s say, absolute best case, you’ve had mind-blowing, life-altering sex with the hottest chick you’ve ever gone out with—not a moment of it compares to the sweet and total release you’re going to feel the second you hear those heels click far enough away that they’re not coming back.
You know you’re back in the safe zone, so you let it rip. Good and long, multiple times for the next few minutes and it’s bliss in a way that truly can’t be described.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: You think you’ve been good, holding it in this whole time, but you discover you’ve actually had a few silent ones leak out… which is even worse than anything you could’ve imagined because now it just plain stinks and there’s no one to blame.
Growing up, I used to bug my dad at every opportunity to tell this one story about an argument he got into with a coach during my older brother’s baseball game.
Every time, we’d do the same dance.
When there was even the slightest opportunity, I’d try to shoehorn the story into whatever the present topic of conversation was and get him to tell it. Not only did he know it better than I did as it happened to him, but he told it way better. He’s always been something of a raconteur, a skill I like to think I’ve gotten from him—along with a passion for sports that borders on lunacy, an inability to assemble even the simplest of household items and an impressive knack for flying off the handle at even the slightest annoyance (like, say, your seatbelt not giving you any slack out of absolutely fucking nowhere) and taking it out on the undeserving people around me.
Anyway… I’d bug him to tell the story, he’d initially refuse. Sometimes he’d refuse because he just didn’t feel like telling it, other times he’d refuse because he felt like it painted him in a bad light (it doesn’t, the other people involved were complete dickheads).
So, if we were in good company and I could sense he wasn’t going to get pissed, I’d start telling the story without his help. Inevitably, I’d stumble and trip over a few details, forget something worthwhile here or there and he’d soon tire over how poorly I was telling his great story… and come in, Mariano Rivera of the story-telling world in this moment, to save the tale.
(For the record: here’s a brief version of the story, because he doesn’t write for this blog and won’t be able to tell it himself… My dad’s watching my brother play a game, didn’t like that an umpire let an opposing coach sway a call. He calls out to the coach, something to the effect of “Let the ump do his job, coach!” After the coach and my dad have a little heated conversation–apparently, he didn’t take well to the criticisms from the stands–the coach’s son told my dad to “sit his fat ass down.” In fairness to the coach’s son, my dad’s ass wasn’t exactly little at this moment, but my older brother didn’t take well to that comment and proceeded to rush the mound from the dugout and a fight ensued between the coach’s son and my brother. I’m sure there’s more I’m missing, but that’s basically it. Pretty good, right? Now imagine my dad telling it.)
It didn’t (and still doesn’t) matter how many times I hear this story. Every time, I love it.
I don’t know exactly why that is, why we love hearing these oldies but goodies. I’d imagine comfort and fond-memory association play a large role, akin to how you can listen to the same song for years and years. In my mind’s eye, I picture a group of my friends or family members, a bottle of wine or some beers scattered around the table, some food potentially as well, and everyone either listening or laughing.
Even though the exact details can get hazy over time, the punchlines remain unchanged and we ravenously eat them up like it’s the first time we’re hearing them, every time.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When you try to bridge the gap with a story, sharing one of your personal “oldies but goodies” with a new person or new group of people and it falls completely flat. Fuck those people, go back to your OGs.
There was a time when I used to be funny in front of strangers.
I had the egotistical notion that I could stand in the front of a darkened room on a slightly elevated platform and talk to people who paid an entrance fee to be in that room.
I’d talk into a microphone and say things I thought were funny and assumed the people consuming watered-down vodka sodas and soggy fries would similarly find them funny.
I would talk, largely uninterrupted, for anywhere from five to thirty minutes and then I’d stop talking and get off the elevated platform and wait to do it all again.
I used to do stand-up comedy.
Sometimes, when it went well, people would laugh.
Sometimes, when it went in the opposite direction, there would be no noise. No one booed. It’s not like there has to be an opposing noise to a laugh… that for every laugh there’s a contrarian boo or hiss. No, the silence of a room after a failed joke is enough to remind you exactly how good it feels to make people laugh.
Most people haven’t done stand-up for a number of reasons. One, they’re not funny. But two, and most importantly, they’re not insane egomaniacs. To do what I did, you have to be a little bit of both.
That said, you don’t need to be a fucking stand-up comic to make people laugh. In fact, it was this realization that allowed me to feel better about giving it up.
Oh, yes. I can just make the people around me laugh. And no one is exploiting my sense of humor for their own personal financial gain? Get out! I can just make someone laugh… or not make them laugh… and we both go on with our lives?
Unless you’re a soulless robot of a human being, at some point in your life you’ve made other people laugh*. But, I’m not talking about a chuckle, a forced HA that someone gives out of pity or that a subordinate gives you in a meeting. I’m talking about that actual laugh-out-loud feeling you can’t control. That guttural bellow, perhaps accompanied by tears, that can’t be stopped no matter how hard you try.
The only thing better than laughing that way, in my experience, is making someone else laugh that way.
Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Not that I would know or that this is a specific story in any way… but I’d imagine the opposite of this feeling is doing a show in the back of a bar in Bloomfield, NJ to a crowd of 6 people, three of which are other “comics” and two of which are the friends that drove you.
*I haven’t done a footnote in a while, but I think this warranted one. We all know that this type of person definitely exists. Perhaps there’s some sort of personality disorder at play? I think of these people like computers that have been dropped and still work in a general sense but there’s something off–the CD drive is busted, the internal speakers are off, something. But yeah, these people are real and they’re unbearable. You don’t need to be a god damn court jester, just smile every so often for fuck’s sake. Even if it’s just to imitate the rest of us humans.