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Best buddies separated during WWII reunite 78 later, proving that true friendship is forever

'It was like we had always been family.'

vets reunited, ptsd, world war 2

World War II, Operation Overlord, Omaha Beach, 1944.

This summer, after 78 years apart, my grandfather, World War II veteran Jack Gutman, got to reunite with his best friend from the war, Jerry Ackerman. They saw each other for the first time since the 1940s and spent two days laughing, joking, catching up and being honored by the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California.

Finding an old friend is always an occasion to celebrate, but the story of how this reunion came to be feels like true kismet. Not only were two buddies reunited, it also brought closure to two WWII veterans during some of the tougher years of their lives, while also uniting two families, now forever changed.

Take a moment and think back to what you were doing at the age of 17.



Depending on your generation, the activities might look a bit different. Baby boomers might have been sipping a milkshake at the local diner. Gen Xers might have been angstily listening to The Smiths or the Sex Pistols. If you’re a Gen Y millennial like me, you were maybe shopping for cheap jewelry at Claire’s Accessories at the mall. Regardless of what you were up to as a teenager, you probably weren’t doing what my grandfather was doing at age 17—fighting as a Navy Corpsman during the invasion of Normandy.

My Grandpa Jack was born in 1925 and grew up in New York City. When Uncle Sam called, he lied about his age and enlisted in the Navy. He wanted to serve his country, but had no idea the horrors of war he would witness during the Normandy Invasion and the invasion at Okinawa.

When I was growing up, my grandfather didn’t talk about the war. For years he struggled with PTSD and all of the various coping mechanisms people experiment with to get out of pain. It almost tore his life apart, but with the love and support of our family, he made his first steps toward healing.

With the help of Dylan Bender, a talented therapist with the Veterans Association, a decade of EMDR and CBT, my grandfather can now talk about his experience during the war. He even wrote a book about it.

Group photo of young navy corpsmen during World War II.

via Erin Shaw

He’s been interviewed on television, at the WWII Museum in New Orleans and he speaks to groups of students regularly. He even got to travel to Normandy, France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day as part of a documentary. You could say his journey to heal the wounds of war was pretty complete, but there has always been one bit of closure he was never able to get.

A friend he always wondered about.

In between the invasion of Normandy and his time in Okinawa, my Grandpa Jack returned to Camp Pendleton for training and that is where he met Jerry Ackerman.

“I was assigned to Oceanside, California and that’s where I met Jack, and we became instant friends,” said Jerry. “He was the most jovial, fun-loving guy ever. Always smiling and always happy.”

The feeling was mutual. “Jerry was one of my best friends after Normandy. I knew him when I got transferred over to Oceanside to the Beach Battalion. We hit it off, I guess from both being New Yorkers maybe. One thing I didn’t like about Jerry was that he was better looking than me,” Grandpa Jack joked. “We bonded together, and it was one of the greatest times I’ve ever had.”

The camaraderie of this new friendship gave my grandpa a respite from all of the atrocities he had experienced while trying to patch up dying soldiers on the beach in France. In his friendship with Jerry and another Navyman, Joe Gagliardi (who we haven’t been able to find), Grandpa Jack found solace and humanity … the very things he wanted to fight to protect when he enlisted. Unfortunately, the war hadn’t ended yet and when Grandpa Jack was sent to Japan, he, Joe and Jerry lost touch.

“We never got a chance to say goodbye when we got to Pearl Harbor,” said Grandpa Jack. “I got transferred to another ship. So all these years I often wondered about them.”

Apparently, Jerry had been wondering about my grandfather as well because one day in early 2021, out of nowhere, a silly little song my grandpa had once taught him popped into his head. It was a happy memory that Jerry desperately needed. His wife Barbara was in the hospital in New York for a health issue, and he was very down after having visited her.

“My parents have been married for 70 years and when something happens to one of them, like my mother’s hospitalization, it really affects the other,” said Peter Ackerman, Jerry’s son. “My father and I finished visiting her and went to a restaurant. It was there, toward the end of our meal, when a song randomly popped into his head that he hadn’t sung since his Navy days during WWII. It was a song, he said, that was taught to him by his good buddy, Jack Gutman. As my father lamented out loud about having never been able to track his friend down, using my phone and good ol' Google, I found someone matching Jack’s description and Navy background. When my father realized I was actually calling someone named Jack Gutman his eyes were as wide as pies!”

Meanwhile in California, Grandpa Jack was having a tough time himself. His life had changed drastically when the pandemic hit. He, like everyone else, was feeling isolated, and while younger generations were turning to their devices, social media and Zoom, older generations without as much tech knowledge were feeling even lonelier. At the time, Grandpa Jack had just gotten over the coronavirus and my grandma had gotten COVID-19 pneumonia and was still slowly recovering. They were quarantined at home and Grandpa Jack was experiencing some pretty tough bouts of depression.

“I was depressed and really down, sitting in my office one afternoon and I was just thinking that life was a lot of crap,” Grandpa Jack said. “I usually try to stay pretty positive, but this day was tough. In my lowest moment of depression the phone rang, and it turned out to be a guy named Peter. He said to me, ‘Are you Jack Gutman?’ and I said, ‘Yeah…’ and he said, ‘Were you stationed in Oceanside, California?’ and I said, ‘I sure was, yeah.’ And he said, ‘Did you ever know a Jerry Ackerman?’ and I said, ‘He was my best friend. I’ve got his picture up on my wall,’ and he said, ‘He’s my father and he’s sitting right here, and he’s been looking for you for about 77 years.’ And I tell you, the tears flowed. It was just the thing I needed so badly. I could not believe it.”

The timing of this call couldn’t have been better, and it was so random that it felt kind of like fate to our families.

“I will take to my grave the look of pure joy on my father’s face when he and Jack spoke for the first time. They talked for a half hour and vowed to keep in touch,” said Peter.

For Grandpa Jack, it was an emotional and life-affirming call that helped give his days some renewed vigor. “Hearing his voice and realizing that there’s a man that for 77 years has been wondering about me, it touched my heart,” said Grandpa Jack.

When the call ended, Peter tells me that his father was beyond grateful to have reconnected with Jack. “He was almost in shock, and happier than I had seen him in a very long time,” he said. “Sitting there in that restaurant, listening to my father talking, laughing and reminiscing with Jack, I felt so happy for both of them, and a deep sense of satisfaction in having helped sew that stitch. It was as if a circle was completed. It was a highlight of my life, and I believe one of the great highlights of my father’s life as well.”

These two men could have connected at any point during the last 70-plus years but for some reason it didn’t happen until a moment when they both needed to hear from each other. Some might call it coincidence, some might call it fate, but it changed both men’s lives.

“My dad’s life had changed so much because of the pandemic,” said my mom, Paula Shaw. “He couldn’t be out with his friends and doing his speaking engagements. So when Jerry’s call came through, dad’s whole life picked up again and turned around. It gave him hope and it gave him a sense that he mattered because this man, 77 years later, remembered him and sought him out. So it was a real turning point for dad.”

You’d think that just having that phone call would have been a highlight of these two men’s twilight years, but there was more coming.

A reunion with military honors.

Jack and Jerry kept in touch over the phone for the next year, but they were still yet to see each other face to face. My mom Paula had gotten to befriend Peter and together they were able to plan a time for Grandpa Jack and Jerry to meet, with a few family members in tow.

It turned out the Ackermans were planning to be in San Diego for a wedding in June of this year and with my own family based in Southern California it would be the perfect time for a reunion.

But before that, they had a face-to-face chat with my mom when she interviewed them for her podcast, Change it Up Radio. I asked my mom what it was like to facilitate the first face-to-face interaction between Jack and Jerry on her podcast over Zoom, and she described it as life-changing.

“When I got the idea to have them see each other for the first time on the Zoom screen I had no idea how really wonderful and moving and almost life-changing it was going to be. When they laid eyes on each other for the first time, dad started to cry, and Jerry just got the sweetest, softest expression on his face. He was so touched that dad was so happy to be able to see him.”

With their podcast interview in the can and a first face-to-face reunion over Zoom a success, it was time to get together in person in San Diego.

World War II veterans are harder and harder to connect with these days. According to Forbes, we lose approximately 234 of them each day. Having two best friends from the war still alive, healthy and with all their mental faculties intact is rare, so time was of the essence to get these two together for some quality time.

Unbeknown to Jerry and Grandpa Jack, my mom had arranged a visit to Camp Pendleton for them as well as for CBS News to come capture their reunion. Our family captured some of our own amateur footage, which is hard to watch without crying.

So what was it like to witness the reunion in person? “It was just lovely to see,” said Mary Jo Gutman, my grandma. “To think about the time that had passed and now they were able to see each other and touch each other, it was just a beautiful moment. Everybody that was there was having the same experience. Some people teared up and some were just in a state of shock, but a happy state. We were all just happy for them both.”

My uncle, Craig Gutman, traveled with Grandpa Jack back to Normandy in 2019 and was with him when he visited the beaches and military cemetery there. He says while that was tough, this moment of closure was nothing but joyful. “It was just so nice for them to see each other again and to be back with each other,” he said. “Even after just a few minutes they were the same 19-year-old guys, BS-ing with each other and telling jokes. To just see the joy in both of them, being able to find an old friend after so many years that they probably figured was either dead or gone and would never be seen again. It was just great.”

My aunt Marilyn Gutman describes their reunion as a full-circle moment. “When they met, it was like they had always been together, starting in on the jokes, the laughter, the camaraderie that had brought them together initially. I felt their lives had just come full circle. I felt a completeness for them, a closure of the wounds of war.”

Over the course of the next couple of days, the families got to spend time together and although I wasn’t able to be there myself, everyone who was there described loving each other instantly just like Jack and Jerry had upon meeting.

“It was like we had always been family,” my mom Paula said. “I get a little teary just thinking about it. It was like we’d known each other for years. We laughed, we had meals together, we chatted up a storm. It was crazy. It was like whatever that energy was that brought dad and Jerry together had been passed onto the families. All the family members felt that same connection.”

For my Grandpa Jack, getting to reunite with his best friend from the war was the last bit of closure he has needed during his healing journey with PTSD. It has reminded him that love is the most important thing we can give to others and that we never know how we touch someone’s life just by being their friend.

“Jack struck me as the happiest guy in the whole world,” Jerry said. “I never ever knew what he went through in Normandy. I’m very delighted to know that at least I was a part of helping Jack rehabilitate himself. I’m very happy about that. Our reunion is something I will never forget.”

Grandpa Jack told me that he spent so long working to get over post-traumatic stress but not knowing what happened to Jerry was like a wound still left open. Finding out what had happened to him gave him closure, but being able to see each other and connect was a moment he’ll never forget. “It really fulfilled a closure for me. It was just amazing.”

“I feel like for both of them there was this unfinished chapter,” said my mom, Paula. “There was so much love between these two men and the war didn’t kill it.”

Perhaps Virgil said it best when he said, “Amor vincit omnia.” Love conquers all.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A young mom with her kids in the ER.

Sage Pasch’s unique family situation has attracted a lot of attention recently. The 20-something mother of 2 shared a 6-second TikTok video on September 29 that has been viewed over 33 million times because it shows how hard it can be for young moms to be taken seriously.

In the video, the young-looking Pasch took her son Nick to the ER after he injured his leg at school. But when the family got to the hospital, the doctor couldn’t believe Pasch was his mother. “POV, we’re at the ER, and the doctor didn’t believe I was the parent,” she captioned the post.


Pasch and her fiancé , Luke Faircloth, adopted the teen in 2022 after his parents tragically died two years apart. “Nick was already spending so much time with us, so it made sense that we would continue raising him,” Pasch told Today.com.

The couple also has a 17-month-old daughter named Lilith.

@coffee4lifesage

He really thought i was lying😭

Pasch says that people are often taken aback by her family when they are out in public. "Everybody gets a little confused because my fiancé and I are definitely younger to have a teenager," she said. "It can be very frustrating."

It may be hard for the young parents to be taken seriously, but their story has made a lot of people in a similar situation feel seen. "Omg, I feel this. I took my son to the ER, and they asked for the guardian. Yes, hi, that's me," Brittany wrote in the comments. "Meee with my teenager at a parent-teacher conference. They think I’m her older sister and say we need to talk with your parents," KatMonroy added.


This article originally appeared on 10.24.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

The 40s inexplicably involves a whole new level of bird interaction.

Aging is a funny thing. You start off young and excited and eager to get older, and then at some point you reach a point where getting older becomes less fun and more…achy.

Your 40s is generally when you start to feel aging hit in random ways. Healthy living can help fend off a lot of aging woes, but not everything. And it's not even just bodily aging that manifests in your 40s. It's things like needing to sleeping less, realizing exactly how dumb you were in your 20s and developing a sudden, inexplicable fascination with birdwatching.

Or bird arguing, as the case may be.


Someone who identifies as Xennial (on the cusp of Gen X and millennial) shared a "Life in your 40s" confessional about an argument they got into with the birds in their yard, which prompted others to share their own mid-life quirks.

The post read:

"Today I had an argument with the birds of our backyard.

I took down the bird feeder to fill it and all the foliage had a cacophony of noises as if to say, 'Took you long enough.' This was not the happy sounds of birds loving life. This was the sounds of demands. I told them I’ve been busy and they’ll just have to wait.

I then decided to shift the hummingbird feeder a bit because lately I’ve been banging into it despite having it in the same spot for several years.

I shit you not, as I was on the ladder a hummingbird came over and hovered near me giving me the death stare. I told her that I was just moving it and to give me a second.

My god what has happened to me?

What’s your recent 'life in your 40s' story?

Update: The hummingbird has come back several times now rather pissed the feeder has moved 3 inches. She won’t drink out of it, but keeps checking to see if I have put it back.

Update 2: After hours of me telling her I’m not moving it, she finally drank. I win."

from Xennials

Other Reddit users' 40-something stories did not disappoint.

Some had their own bird encounters to share:

"My husband is hell bent on befriending the local crows. He bought a 25 lb. bag of peanuts and throws a handful out on to the deck every morning. They’re getting more and more comfortable eating closer to the house, and now they 'summon' him with aggressive caws if he’s late putting out their breakfast. His goal is to Disney Princess it at some point. #lifegoals"

"Hahaha I am the crazy bird lady in our neighborhood and my husband says it's like a scene from Snow White when I open the backdoor to let the dog out. All the birds and usually a chipmunk go flying!"

Someone shared this classic:

Bird watching sneaks up on you
byu/Due-Paramedic8532 inXennials

And another added:

"Well, I'm glad it's not just me.

I'm 42, and last summer I really started feeding the birds, but I'd intentionally let the feeder go empty for a day or two. My goal was that they'd eat some of the yellow jackets that are frequently hovering near my south facing wall. They bitched an absolute ton when I would fill the feeders. They would eat the yellow jackets though.

Then, this last fall, my cameras caught me singing 'Muh birds, muh birds, gonna feed muh birds' while carrying my bag of seeds. I was happy as clam. The wifey showed me, and the kids, the footage. Now, whenever I'm feeding the birds, my middle son starts singing it to me.

I used to chase bad guys, with a gun, and a taser (I was in law enforcement for a decade, I fix robots now.) Now, I have an eleven year old harassing me because I'm nice to the local wildlife."

There were also lots of body betrayal experiences:

"If I sit for too long it’s exhausting and I have to go lay down and get some rest."

"I slept funny last night, and I don’t think I’ll ever recover."

"No joke. I literally slept weird 4 weeks ago and have been dealing with a pinched nerve in my neck ever since. Went from 42 to feeling 82 overnight."

"Last week I sneezed while in the shower and threw my back out."

"If I feel a sneeze coming when I am in the shower, I sit down. Standing shower sneezes are how you break a hip."

"Can’t trust my lower GI to do anything right anymore."

"I start peeing the second I head into the bathroom to pee."

And a host of other random middle-agey realities:

"Complaining about the price of cereal.

No clue of today’s music.

Go big or go home? Buddy you didn’t even need to ask the question. Home.

Lastly, my daily word search."

"I didn't make it to the store today, and the window/will to leave my house has passed, so I'll probably go another week without the items I intended to purchase today 🙃"

"My friend is having a pool day and I don’t want to go. I don’t want to take off my clothes and I really just want to chill in my house because I work tomorrow and I need a day to get ready."

"I went to bed at 4pm and woke up at 11 on the 4th of July. 41 doesn’t hit like 21 did. 😂"

"I’m 45, and my boyfriend is 32. We went through an exhibit Friday and he finished long before I did because I had to stop and read all the plaques and information, which I never use to do."

"Yeah I just built a raised garden bed and am super excited to plant squash! Wtf happened to me…."

Here's to the joys of aging! May your backs be limber and your birds be plentiful.

Using the FORD method to make small talk.

There are many reasons why people are nervous about entering social situations where they have to make small talk, such as a work event, a party where they don’t know many people, or at school.

Some people don’t enjoy small talk because they get frustrated talking about seemingly unimportant topics. At the same time, others are shy and afraid they’ll say the wrong thing or run out of topics of conversation.

Psychologists suggest those who are uncomfortable knowing what to say should use the FORD method. It’s an acronym that’s an easy way to remember four different topics of conversation that work with just about anyone.


According to Nicole Arzt, M.S., L.M.F.T at Social Self, FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.

Family

Just about everyone has a family, so it’s a great way to ask someone to share some information about their personal lives without being too forward. Arzt suggests the following questions when making small talk:

Do you have any siblings?

How did you two meet? (if you are meeting a couple for the first time)

How old is your child?

How is your____ (sister, brother, mother, etc.) doing since ____ (event that happened?)

Occupation

Just like a family, almost everyone has a job. Or, if they do not, that can be an interesting topic as well. Here are some starter questions you can ask someone about their job.

What do you do for a living?

How do you like working at _____?

What’s your favorite part of your job?

What made you interested in becoming a _____?

Recreation

You can learn a lot about a person after knowing how they spend their free time. It’s also an excellent way to determine if someone is like-minded and shares the same interests. Here are some questions to get the ball rolling:

What do you like to do for fun?

Have you watched (or read) ______(popular show/book)?

What are you up to this weekend?

Dreams

Learning someone’s hope for the future can tell you much about who they are on a deeper level. They may have just told you about their current job or how they spend their time. But, ultimately, what do they wish to do with their lives? Here’s how to ask someone about their dreams.

Where do you hope to be working in the next few years?

Where would you like to travel?

What’s something you’d like to try in the future?

Would you ever consider trying _____ (particular hobby or activity)?

Arzt also notes that you shouldn’t just be an interviewer. You have to talk about yourself, too. In other words, you need a mutual take-and-give. “Pay attention to someone else's answers and think about how you can draw from your own experience to connect," she wrote.

Not sure how much to say during a conversation? Follow the 43:57 rule. A numbers guy at Gong.io analyzed over 25,000 sales calls with AI and found the perfect speaking-to-listening ratio. Sales soared when the salesperson talked 43% of the time and listened for 57%.

Even though this insight is from business calls, it applies to everyday social interactions. It's really about listening and making the other person feel special. After all, who doesn't love feeling heard and appreciated?


This article originally appeared on 10.20.23

Man builds rollercoaster through his house for epic ride

The thrill of flying down carpeted stairs inside a laundry basket as a kid is something that doesn't get old. You just get too big to fit inside the laundry basket so you have to resort to paying high fees at an amusement park. Unless...you can figure out a way to bring the amusement park home to you.

Drew Dirksen decided to give building a roller coaster a try, but not just in his backyard. The thrill seeking man built a homemade rollercoaster that travels through his house and out the door taking riders on an unexpected adventure. Dirksen and a few visitors take turns riding the coaster, at some point looking like two riders were chasing each other to joust.

The mini rollercoaster seems to go pretty fast for something that's fully propelled by gravity and the bodyweight of the passenger. There are no bars or harnesses holding the riders in either, they appear to be sitting in a seat fastened to what looks like a moving dolly. But the lack of safety equipment doesn't stop them from jumping at the chance to ride the backyard coaster.


Clearly the people visiting Dirksen had more confidence in his ability to provide a safe rollercoaster than commenters on social media where the video has gone viral.

"Just waiting for the head bonk on window," one person writes.

"Man did anybody fall yet with no seatbelts??," another says.

"Looks Soo fun. But definitely would add a seatbelt and helmet. Better safe than sorry. But totally looks so awesome!!," someone shares.

Some people were worried about the takedown process and wildlife having free access to the home with the rollercoaster keeping windows and doors wide open. Others simply wanted to know if they could come by for a ride.

"The open doors are giving me such anxiety cause all I can think about are the mosquitos running rampant in the house! But insane skills in building that roller coaster," another person writes.

"Omfggg can I come and try it out lol," a commenter asks.

Several people thought the idea looked like an episode of "Phineas and Ferb" where the two step-brothers were always getting into some sort of hijinks when left unattended. Either way, let's hope there's a quick solution to break down the coaster before the electricity bill is higher than the mortgage.

Joy

Man parodies wife's frantic cleaning 10 minutes before guests arrive and it's so relatable

"The quick mental break sitting on the toilet and staring into space just makes this a relatability masterpiece."

You can't let company know you actively live in your home, of course.

Unless you're someone who manages to keep a perfectly neat, tidy and sparklingly clean home every minute of every day, you're probably familiar with the mad-dash-to-clean-before-company-arrives. You know, when you start shoving random piles of things into drawers and closets and bedrooms, simultaneously dusting and vacuuming while yelling, "OMG, WE LIVE IN A PIG STY! DOES ANYONE EVER CLEAN THIS HOUSE?!?"

If that drill sounds familiar, wait til you see this parody video from online creators Micah and Sarah Wallace.


Micah shared a reenactment of his wife greeting guests at the door and "apologizing" for the state of their objectively clean house, claiming it's "a little messier than usual" and that they "have just not gotten around to cleaning it."

Lies. All lies, as evidenced by his reenactment of his wife 10 minutes before those guests arrived. That you just have to see.

Watch:

"WE NEED TO SET UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF HOW WE LIVE!"

Feel that one? Yep.

"There should be NO TRASH in the TRASH CAN! I want them questioning if the bin is even real!!!"

Umm, ouch.

It's exaggerated for comedic effect, but it's actually not that far off of how many people panic imagining all of the imperfections someone might possibly judge them for when they come over and frantically clean accordingly.

"I DON'T APPRECIATE THIS ACCURATE IMPERSONATION OF MY HUSBAND'S WIFE!"

"Bro you took me out running the vacuum on the ceiling because it’s literally what I feel like I had to do‼️🤦🏾♂️😂😂😂🫠"

"The quick mental break sitting on the toilet and staring into space just makes this a relatability masterpiece."

"'There should be no trash in the trash can!!' 😂😂 I feel attacked!"

"She’s 1000% correct bc why is there Trash in the Trash can 🫣🤯🤯 Thats Honestly a serious violation in “Guests are coming Over 101” in my House 😂😂"

Some commenters added things he left out, many of which had to do with what the husband would be doing during the frantic clean-up.

"Forgot the part where you pretend to be a guest.. you go outside and come in the front door to make sure everything looks good!"

"You forgot to light the scented candles and make sure the wall flowers are full."

"Now make one where the wife needs assistance making the house presentable and the husband does some nonsensical unrelated chore like cleaning out the gutters."

"Meanwhile the husband is doing something completely useless like using the leaf blower on the roof 🤣"

"Every single time when we expected guests my husband do some nonsense stuff...like organizing his screwdrivers or something like this."

Some shared that guests coming over is the only thing that gets them to clean the house.

"Guest coming over is my biggest motivation for clean up the house within a day😎"

"Yes!!, for normal days, it feels like why the housework got no ending…
Before the guest coming over, oh so it’s possible to clean the whole house 😂"

"I only invite guests to finally be able to enjoy my clean home 😂"

"I invite friends so I clean the house 🤣🤣🤣🤣"

There's nothing wrong with wanting to provide guests with some nice, clean home hospitality, but there's also nothing wrong with letting people see that you actually live in your home. Micah and Sarah clearly hit a nerve with this one. You can follow them for more comedy on Instagram.