The other night I decided it was time for my weekly shave, so I earnestly trudged into the bathroom with my shaving bowl (saves water) and my Gillette Sensor, which I bought after I saw that really cool ad in Superbowl XXV. Now, I’ve always been an Edge Gel man myself, as my father was before me, so you can imagine the sense of utter horror I felt when I saw that on this night, we were all out of the Edge. Apparently, the twenty-seven Campus Trial Packs that we took from Cobden’s in September, with their twenty-seven little sample cans of Edge Extra Protection, just wasn’t enough to keep us stocked until May.
So I looked around the bathroom and found an old can of Gillette Foamy resting on a remote rafter. I cupped my left hand, shook the can with my right, and served myself up a dollop of the Foam. Then it started expanding. And expanding. And before I knew it the glob had spread clear to my elbow and was pouring into the sink, Foamy friggin everywhere. And it was at this point that I realized that there are a lot of things I simply do not know how to do. I clearly cannot maneuver a can of regular shaving cream. I cannot knit a sweater. I have a Chia pet that I have sown yet still wait to reap (in desperation I wrote to the company—their response began “Thank you for informing us you are experiencing difficulty growing your Chia” and was addressed “Dear Idiot”).
All this was kind of bumming me out, so I sat myself down and decided right there to make a list of some things I can do.
Snapping bottle caps. One of my specialties. I can do pennies, too. Double up your arm and raise it so that your elbow is pointing forward and your hand is right above your shoulder. Put your fingers in the snapping position. Insert the edge of the bottlecap snugly between your thumb and middle finger. Snap. It takes practice, but soon you, too, will be exploding light bulbs with the flick of your fingers.
Fireball. Make a loose fist. Get a butane lighter (Zippos don’t work) and, pressing the button but not turning the lighter’s wheels, spray gas into the little chamber you’ve created with your fist. Now light your hand and open it. It doesn’t hurt but it looks really cool.
Blowing spit bubbles. An advanced skill I honed as I warmed the bench for my high school’s 0–20 freshman baseball team. First you have to learn how to make a little bubble on the end of your tongue by tapping into a pool of spit in the well behind your lower teeth, building the bubble by pushing your tongue against your lower lip. It’s really quite complicated. Once you’ve made your spit bubble, stick your tongue out and gently blow a steady stream of air at the bubble’s base. After many hours of practice you, too, can feel the euphoric lift of watching your saliva gracefully float to the floor.
I can levitate peas. Cock your head back so that you’re squarely facing the ceiling. Pucker your lips and rest a pea in the airhole. Now blow gently. The pea will rise, spinning, on a cushion of air. Doesn’t work as well if the pea is wrinkled.
A mean hummus. What you do is you put two cans of chick peas in a bowl, along with about 1/3 cup olive oil, the juice of two or three lemons, three or four cloves of garlic, and however much salt you want. Then you mash it all up and serve it with pita. Use a food processor if possible; chick peas are sort of hard.
Drinks with Yoo-hoo. The little-known mixer. Try the Kalu-hoo (two kalu’s for every hoo) or the Rumple-hoo, a Rumplemintz shot chased with the best water-based chocolate drink in town.
Stratego strategy. A risky thing to print, but my Stratego enemies know all my secrets anyway. If you put your 1 next to your flag, you cannot lose. Once I learned this strategy my innocence was lost and I haven’t played since. I also have a complex Crazy 8’s strategy which I am not yet prepared to disclose.
That dumb-ass card trick with the jacks. Specifically engineered to dazzle seven-year-olds. It is the only card trick I know. You take out the four jacks and fan them out—but, you sly dog, you have three other cards hidden behind the jacks! Then you put the “jacks” (nudge nudge) face-down on top of the deck, take the top three cards and slip them into the pile at random intervals, then clap your hands and the jacks are back together again! Incredible!
Type words into a calculator. A great gag for any occasion. Try typing “55378008” into someone’s calculator in the middle of chem, then read the number upside-down. Side-splitting hilarious! Other things you can type are “0.7734,” “71077345,” and, of course, the flippant, friendly, “hey-baby-what-are-you doin’-tonight” “14.”
I just coughed on you. Any time your hands are wet, sneak up on someone and, making bubonic coughing noises, flick your wet hands near the back of their head. I’m also quite accomplished at the difficult-to-master “I just hocked a loogie in your hair” effect.
Galloping horse sound with my tongue. I have no idea how I do this.