Renting out the entire venue for your friends

Leaving a path of cleanliness in your wake

I was recently opening a family sharing sized carton or jug of something, and I noticed an instruction printed on the container which read "Do not use if seal under cap is broken". It occurred to me that this is an instruction which actually needs a lot more subtlety, and which, as-written, is only intended to be followed once.

Think about it. The real instructions should be like...

"If you are confident that you are the first person to be interacting with this container after you purchased it, and you are opening the cap and have found that the seal under the cap is broken, you should assume this has been tampered with and you should not consume the product inside. If you are confident that you are not the first person to interact with the container post-purchase, then you should be sort of freaked out if the seal is NOT broken, because it would mean that the person before you somehow consumed the product without breaking the seal, or maybe that there's magic afoot. You should definitely consume this product if the seal is broken and you are not the first person to be interacting with it, because that's totally normal and exactly what you should expect in that role."

That would be sort of hard to print on a cardboard carton of milk, and my entire gambit here relies on my pretending to believe that the printed text is meant to be instructional towards the consumer rather than liability-covering from the perspective of the manufacturer; but man, I bet there's a copy editor somewhere in the depths of the carton liquids industry that is bothered by this as much as I am.

I want to buy 100 acres of land and build a compound on it

Here's a pro-tip or maybe a life hack that you can use when you order coffee from your baristá at your local càfé. When the server asks you "Do you want room for cream?" or "should I leave some room?" or whatever variation on that question they might be asking, you should always answer in the negative, and instruct them to not leave any room in your drink. Your goal is for them to put as much coffee in the coffee container as they can possibly fit, and I'll explain why.

Let's say you are someone who "takes it black" (astute readers will note the call back I'm making here to a previous newsletter where I complained about using "take" to describe consuming coffees), and does not plan on adding any creams or sugars or sauces or milks or flavors to your beverage. Your only goal in this interaction is to leave that counter with as much coffee in the container as is possible, and I think saying "no" when asked about leaving room is pretty obvious for you.

Now, let's say you're someone who does indeed plan on adding some cream or maybe some half and half or maybe some soy stevia coconut butter or whatever. You might think "Matt, shouldn't I ask them to leave me some room? Wouldn't it actually be convenient for me to have some room in there so I can add my stuff in without overflowing my cup?!" The answer is no, and there are at least two reasons why.

First, there is the possibility that they leave you with too much room. Enough room that even after you add your stuff into the beverage that there's still a bunch of room between the top of your drink and the top edge of the container. What a tragedy that is. Your container does not get to fully realize it's potential, and you are limited to consuming slightly less coffee than you might otherwise have been able to.

The other reason - and this is maybe even more fundamental - did you know that the human body is equipped with the ultimate leaving-room-adjustment device? It's called your mouth, and it's attached to your face, and it's the way you're going to drink the coffee. Given a full cup of coffee, a full counter of accoutrement, and the fully operational level adjustment battle station called your mouth, you are at peak coffee preparation readiness, and you can engage in an iterative cycle whereby you continually drink tiny sips of coffee from the container until the level has been reduced by the minimum amount needed to leave room for your things to be added, while leaving the maximum volume of coffee in the container for you to mix with the things and drink later.

We adjusted the levels until we couldn't tell the difference anymore

If you're ever going to dedicate a room in your house to be a "shrine" dedicated to your obsession with someone else, and featuring lots of candles and pictures of them and maybe weird newspaper clipping and maps and burning incense and taxidermied animals and so on, I have a legal tip for you. While the construction and usage of the room will probably be enjoyable for you, there are really only a few ways the experience is going to end, if movies can be believed.

It seems overwhelmingly likely that the situation where the room is discovered by other people is going to be one of a) law enforcement has found you and is searching your property, b) the person who you are enshrining has agreed to come to your home under false pretenses and discovered this room by accident, c) you are dead and your friends/family are going through your stuff. I'm sure there are cases where the person who builds a shrine room comes to their senses and dismantles the whole thing before anyone sees it, but those must be few and far between, right?

Anyway, here's the legal tip -- before you build the room, you need to record a video of yourself laughing about how funny it's going to be when so and so finally finds the room, and how you're just doing it "as a joke" because it's super funny to build a room like that. This way, if you're still alive when the room is discovered, you just whip out this video and everything is cool because it was just a joke! In the meantime you have the luxury of enjoying your weirdo shrine room however you like to with some peace of mind around it's ultimate discovery.

Sadly, I think the Venn diagram between people who are building weird candle rooms to worship other people, and people who have the presence of mind to record videos explaining themselves ahead of time is pretty small, and this advice might never get to the people who truly need it.