I keep seeing them lately, articles on all of my favorite web sites, stuff like, “Check out these awesome life hacks!” and then you click through a bunch of pictures to find out tips and tricks that supposedly make everyday life a little easier. It that the goal, easier? I can’t tell. I’ve seen hundreds of them, and I always think to myself, wow, those are so cool, I’m definitely going to start implementing those in my life.
But I never do. In fact, I can’t think of one life hack that’s ever gone any further than my computer screen. But whatever, I’m not giving up on life hacks just yet. I think the problem is that we need better life hacks, not the same ten or fifteen life hacks that pop up on every single life hack list, a new one appearing on my news feed every week or so. It’s time for some new life hacks. Here are seven.
Everybody knows about this one, right? You take a pair of old jeans and breathe a second life into them by using a pair of scissors to cut them into shorts. Jorts by themselves aren’t really much of a life hack. In fact, most people turn their noses up at jorts.
But they shouldn’t. The trick here is to use brand new jeans. If you take a pair of old pants, you’re just going to wind up with a pair of old jorts, which is why jorts often look a little trashy. But brand new fresh cut jorts are actually really cool. And that’s not it. When you buy your new pants, make sure you buy them extra long. Save the bottom parts for the winter. Now sew them back together. And then cut them back into jorts the next year. You can keep this cycle up for three or four years if you’re good at saving loose pieces of fabric for an entire season and then remembering where you put them next year. After several sew and cut cycles, you’ll eventually lose a few inches, and your pants are going to turn into jort capris, (jortpris?) which don’t sound cool now, but most fashion is cyclical, and so capris are going to have to be back in style any summer now, just watch.
2. Stop brushing your teeth
You’ll save a ton of money on toothpaste and toothbrushes. Because come on, you already have a toothbrush, right? Just save it. Just keep using it. Sure, you might have to brush a little harder as those bristles start to fray, but it’s worth it, trust me, those are some big long term savings you’re looking at.
What about talking to people? Won’t people get grossed out if by your poor dental hygiene? Easy, just stop talking to people. If you don’t talk to anybody, you never have to worry about making plans, or going on dates, or spending money when you leave the house. Those are even more savings. You’re going to have so much money, you could just buy new teeth if you really wanted to. But don’t, because then you have to start going out again, and it defeats the whole purpose.
3. Make your own seltzer
Buying seltzer is really expensive. The obvious solution is to buy a Soda Stream or some other home seltzer-making device. But that gets pricey too, all of that replacement carbon dioxide, buying the whole Soda Stream in the first place. I used to go to McDonald’s and lie to the cashiers, telling them I was only going to drink water, and then I’d take a bunch of empty two-liter bottles out of my backpack and fill them up with seltzer. That was the plan anyway. I got greedy and started stealing Coca-Cola, managers had to get involved, I’ve been told not to come back to several stores.
But the life hack is so simple. You just fill up a glass of water and, with a straw, you start blowing as hard as you can into the glass. It’s crazy because, we all used to make our own seltzer like this when we were three or four years old, but our stupid parents would always yell at us, “Stop blowing bubbles! Stop that right this second!” But now that I’m an adult, I can blow as many bubbles as I want. And it’s adding up to all the free seltzer I can drink.
4. Tired of the same boring egg salad?
I know I was. A couple of years ago, I saw some recipe on the Internet for some really good egg salad. And then I saw a cooking show that was similarly all about egg salad. So after a while, I just felt like the universe was throwing egg salad into my face. “The secret is paprika!” I’d hear it in my dreams. But how much egg salad can a person eat? After like two or three weeks of egg salad, I found myself in an egg salad rut. And worse, while the Internet had clearly gotten me into this mess, I couldn’t find any novel approaches to egg salad online. “The secret is cumin!” every web site was saying the same exact thing.
The life hack here is to stop eating egg salad altogether. Egg salad is disgusting. Yeah, go ahead and use a mushed-up avocado instead of mayonnaise, that’s even more disgusting. Just stop eating egg salad for a week and I guarantee, after a whole seven days of not having that filmy post-egg salad residue stuck to the roof of your mouth, you’ll never think about eating egg salad again.
5. Don’t buy replacement razors
This is kind of like my don’t-buy-toothpaste-or-toothbrushes life hack from the top of the page. Actually, it’s exactly like that. Stop buying razors. They’re so expensive. And for what, a tiny piece of sharp metal? Here’s what you do, just stop shaving. After a while, you’ll have a really sick beard. And then say something important comes along, like you have to get married or go on a job interview, just use the same razor that you had when you stopped buying razors. Everybody knows that a razor always has at least one or two more shaves in it, even if it hurts, you can make it happen, you can get clean-shaven if you really want to.
6. Pizza Time
Has anybody been in a situation where you and five of your friends decide to order pizza for lunch? “Should we get two pies?” someone might throw out, and somebody else is always going to say, “Two? Do we really need two?” and then another person is going to lie, saying something like, “Well, I’m not that hungry,” and so you’ll all stand around with your hands in your pockets, nobody assertive enough to make a decision, until finally the cheapest of the group picks up his phone and says, “One is fine. It’s fine. Really. One pizza for six guys is fine.”
Fine. But here’s the thing. That’s eight slices of pizza for six guys. Who’s going to get one of those extra two slices of pizza? I can see it my head already, everybody kind of taking their time, nobody wanting to really go for it, all while the remaining slices get cold, the cheese coagulating, leaving a hardened layer of grease on top of a crust that’s only getting soggier by the minute. Here’s what you do: as soon as you guys open that box, just take two slices. Right away, you put two slices on your plate. If anybody gives you any shit, just say, “What? I said we should have gotten two pies. Weren’t you the one who claimed he wasn’t that hungry? I’m really hungry. I’m eating two slices.” And then just eat them, don’t answer any more questions, and stop hanging out with this group of friends.
7. Business cards
I don’t know about any of you, but I used to get so annoyed every time I ran into an acquaintance on the street. Larry David coined the phrase “stop-and-chat” in reference to exactly that, having to stop walking just because you see someone that you know, engaging in a ridiculous conversation that nobody really feels like dealing with in the first place.
The life hack is a clever way to get out of those conversations with people that you really don’t feel like chatting up. Just get a bunch of business cards printed up. Have them say something like, “I have severe amnesia. I’m sorry, if I’m handing you this card, it’s because you recognize me, but I don’t remember who you are. My life is very difficult, again, I’m sorry.” Hand that to whoever stops and says hi to you, shrug, and then start walking away.
On the rare occasion that you run into a really annoying good Samaritan, you know, someone who feels bad for your situation, who insists on hanging out with you, maybe walking around town with you, hoping to jog some memories or at least make some new ones, you’ll have to get a little more creative. I keep a spare set of business cards in my other pocket specifically for this unlikely circumstance. Gladly accept this person’s invitation, but then just as you start walking away together, hold your stomach and make a really pained face. Then give them the emergency business card. It should say something like, “I have explosive diarrhea. I have to leave, right now. Goodbye.”