They felt like losers in their youth — but that's how these couples met later in life.

It was Valentine's Day 2006, and 32-year-old Neil Katcher was standing on stage reading poetry he'd written in high school.

This was part of "Mortified," a hilarious stage performance where adults could come together and share their most hilariously embarrassing and angst-filled moments from adolescence, usually in the form of diary entries, poetry, or chat transcripts.

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On that night, Neil was reading a selection of love letters that, as an awkward teenager, he'd been too afraid to send out of fear of rejection.


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You know. Stuff like this:

GIF from "Mortified Nation."

After the show, a woman named Christine came up and introduced herself to him. "She was wearing 2-inch heels and she’s already like an inch taller than me. So she was like towering over me and I had no idea she was flirting with me," he told Upworthy over email.

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The rest was history, and their first child turned 3 last year.

Neil, Christina, and their little guy, in 2013. GIF from "Mortified Nation."

"It’s kinda fun that this love letter I wrote as a kid — where I wore my heart on my sleeve — ended up getting the very thing I wanted — a girlfriend/wife — only 15 years later," he said.

Of course, that wasn't the goal when he started "Mortified" with his friend, David Nadelberg, back in 2002.

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They just thought it'd be funny to do a one-off night where people could read and share and laugh at their own delightfully awkward teenage memories, whether it's their funny chat transcripts with the girl next door or the erotic poetry they wrote about their sophomore math teacher before they had any real concept of what eroticism was or meant or something else as awesomely awful.

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They never expected the project to expand into podcasts, books, documentary films, and a television series, with live-performance chapters spanning three continents. And they certainly never thought so many people would find love along the way.

Founder David Nadelberg. GIF from "Mortified Nation."

The first time that Sara Faith Alterman read at "Mortified," she looked into the audience and saw a woman from her high school staring back.

Sara was already exposing herself by sharing tumultuous stories and poems about her on-again-off-again high school sweetheart.

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But seeing someone who actually (kind of) knew the person that she was back then? That made the whole thing even harder.

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"She hadn’t been the nicest kid, so exposing my teen musings and insecurities in front of her felt really terrible," Sara said.

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One year later, she returned to the "Mortified" stage. And this time, she made a passing joke about seeing someone in the audience that was actually present for the teenage trauma she was talking about.

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A man named Sam used the same angle when he approached her after the show. "Hey, we went to high school together!" he said. 

Sara in high school. Photo used with permission.

As Sara remembers it:

"I thought he was just joking to hit on me. I didn’t mind, because he was really cute. But he was serious. And it took me a minute to recognize him because we only knew each other through peripheral social media connections. I’d been a year ahead of him in school, and we’d run in completely different circles: I was in jazz choir and the drama club, he loved camping and skiing. 

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I fell in love with him immediately."

That was nearly 10 years ago. Today, they're married and live in the Bay Area — though Sara still produces the Boston and New England chapters of "Mortified," back where she grew up. 

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"My husband thinks I’m crazy for remaining affected by high school. I think he’s a robot," she said. "And our baby is basically a crazy robot, so that makes sense." 

Sara and Sam today. Photo used with permission.

Anne Jensen-Smith and her husband, Adam, were both already entangled in the "Mortified" world when sparks began to fly between them.

Anne had been co-producing the Los Angeles chapter's live performances, alongside co-founders Dave and Neil. At one point, they decided to bring in a house band to accompany performances — and Adam just so happened to be the leader of the band.

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That's what got them talking. The first time they went out alone together was after a "Mortified" performance — on Valentine's Day. "Adam and I talked all night long about our upbringings, our high school experiences, most embarrassing moments after that 'Mortified' show nine years ago," she told Upworthy.

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"Now, nine years, one marriage, two kids, two dogs, and one major move (to Texas) later, we decided to open a 'Mortified' in Dallas where, once again, I am the producer and he is the band leader."

Anne in middle school, on the left, and today with her husband, Adam. Photo used with permission.

"The charm of 'Mortified,' and why I think it brings so many couples together, is that it immediately disarms you," Anne said.

"[It] makes it cool, funny, and most importantly it makes you feel OK to talk about that most vulnerable time in your life," she added. "One doesn't often open up like that on a first date, or even a fifth or tenth date, but watching 'Mortified' can really inspire someone to share the tenderness of one's adolescence."

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Sara agrees. "'Mortified' gives people a platform to lay their deep-seated dreams, insecurities, and secrets all out on the table. It’s exhilarating. It’s cathartic."

But the most important lesson to take away from "Mortified"? It's that despite our terrible teenage memories, we ended up OK after all.

As a performer in the "Mortified Nation" documentary put it:

"Having the audience with me, kind of cheering me on, is a remarkable thing. Because I didn't have that when I was teenager. I didn't have anybody saying 'aw' when I was getting picked on. That's a really powerful shift."

It is a powerful thing to reclaim your past humiliations, when you were young and naive and worried about everything. Imagine how your high school self would have felt if you had known that it would all turn out OK — or even better — and that your heinous high school poems about your sexy sophomore math teacher could lead you into the arms of the one you'd spend your life with.

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For some people, that could make the difference between life and death.

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Maybe if I'd known where I'd end up today, I wouldn't have felt so tortured back then. But then I probably wouldn't be where I am — which is writing this story before I go on stage at "Mortified" to sing a song I wrote more than half my life ago.

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The refrain? "Somehow it'll all turn out right."

Me at "Mortified," probably singing "@#$% You, Hotchkiss Lane" or "Love Song in the Key of Amateur" or some other incredibly angsty adolescent anthem that I penned in my punk rock youth. Clearly I haven't changed that much.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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