5 unusual things that make me tick

Which includes but is not limited to…

Discovering unlikely but awesome food combinations

Holey Moley!

I unleashed my food adventurist as a college student in the Marquette University cafeteria. Because you have access to an all-you-can-eat buffet every day, I started experimenting by combining foods. First it was just small things like raisins from the salad bar on my pizza. Then I started getting bolder and mixed 3–4 cereal varieties with chocolate milk, cookies and soft serve ice cream. I called that particular creation Cereal Supreme. I still get a thrill out of discovering unlikely but amazing food pairings, whether it’s a Krispy Creme cheeseburger or a doughnut with bacon, chocolate and peanut butter frosting.

Compulsively updating my iPhone apps

You know that small hit of dopamine you get from doing minor house cleaning like starting the dishwasher or taking out the trash? I get that same sense of satisfaction from keeping my apps up to date. If I open the App Store and it tells me I have 14 updates, I jump into action. I don’t care if it’s to fix a few bugs or completely overhaul the UI, I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I update to the latest app version. If I did nothing else in one day, at least I made sure the Facebook app won’t randomly crash. Mission accomplished.

Replying to emails years later

Sometimes, old emails are like a fine aged wine. The days go by and bring out more flavor. You rediscover it years later and it makes you nostalgic for the year you first put it away. The same is true of an email that you never got around to responding to. Maybe the message seemed ordinary back then, but the years brought out extra layers of meaning and added context and richness. Try it. Go search for and an email from 4, 5 or more years ago. Read it over and see how it’s now expanded in meaning. Then crack it open, raise a glass, and enjoy with a friend.


With young kids, you’re forced to constantly police your own language — or have it policed for you. Our daughter will summon up her Catholic grade school guilt powers and call you out if she catches you saying certain words. This experience gives you a new appreciation for free and unfettered self-expression when you’re not being judged by a 5-year-old. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of letting F bombs fly when the kids have gone to bed. Thankfully, those who are good at swearing have a verbal advantage.

Falling asleep almost immediately

My superpower is I can fall asleep almost instantly. Once my head hits the pillow it’s lights out. This wasn’t always the case. When I was in middle school, I suffered from horrible insomnia. Now I’ve either cultivated the ability to quickly fall asleep or I’m completely exhausted enough that it doesn’t matter. Talking about this makes me a little nervous, like how you don’t talk to a pitcher who’s throwing a no-hitter or you could jinx it. So I’m just going to stop talking now — and go to ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Thanks to Cesar Gomez for the fun writing prompt. I’d like to now nominate 5 others to share 5 things make them tick. So Aaron Jay Ledesma, Matthew Manning, Kate Lee, Hilal Isler, Matt Paolelli — go! And I also invite anyone else, tell me what serious, quirky, unusual or interesting things make you tick.

Educator. Podcast addict. Wrote a book about creativity: http://bit.ly/thecreativejourney

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