960. Go up the down escalator

This is it: the ultimate battle of man vs. machine. This is your chance to shine, to say “screw you” to conformity and go against the flow of regular airport-goers and mall-shoppers (all while getting some gratifying exercise).

Any old pedestrian can go up the up escalator or down the down escalator. A million people do it every day. But only an elite few can muster the bravery, the leg strength, and the sheer lunacy to go UP the DOWN escalator. Are you one of them?

Original photo found here.

961. Make a New Year’s resolution and STICK WITH IT!

Now that the hangovers have all faded and the screams and shouts of “Happy 2013” have stopped ringing in our ears, it’s achievement-time! (Cue the epic “achievement-time” dubstep/rapcore theme music.) Here’s one we’re all familiar with but probably never actually achieved before: Make a New Year’s resolution and STICK WITH IT!

Remember, it’s not enough to just make a New Year’s resolution; anyone can do that! You need to STICK WITH IT (hence the reoccurring CAPS)! So many of us make New Year’s resolutions, like lose (or gain) weight, exercise more, or get better grades, but end up failing somewhere along the way (and literally with that last one, too). Some statistics claim as high as nearly 90 percent of us who make New Year’s resolutions end up not keeping them throughout the whole year. Which would make it all the more special to be one of the few who can proudly say, “I did it!”

My New Year’s resolution? To write more. Writing is my greatest passion and when I’m not working on my first novel (which just surpassed the 55,000-word mark the other day), I’m either writing short stories or blogging here on WordPress. And as part of my New Year’s resolution, I’m going to try hard to post one new achievement every other day! Huzzah, 2013!

Original photo found here.

963. Learn how to ride a bicycle

This may be the first achievement many of us cross off our lists as kids, after falling on the sidewalk or running into a mailbox about three dozen times. But did that discourage us? Well, probably, yeah. It was pretty discouraging.

But did it stop us from trying again and again until we eventually conquered that two-wheeled beast? Heck no, and the moment you’re finally riding that thing and don’t have the feeling like you’re going to crash and burn any second now is one of the proudest moments of our younger years.

Oh, and seriously, avoid those mailboxes. Swerve, my friend. Swerve.

Original photo found here.

964. Win something from a claw machine

Ah, yes, the dreaded claw machine. No one ever thinks about them until they spot one in an arcade or a grocery store, and that’s when trouble strikes. Usually, most of the group tries to pretend like they never even saw it, or say “Who would waste money on that?”

But there’s always at least one in the group who can’t resist the challenge. The one who laughs in the face of whatever financial peril the rest of them say you will befall if you try the machine. The one who has a fire burning in their eyes that can only be extinguished by the victory of obtaining whatever arbitrary Pixar character lies trapped inside that glass box.

So, you scoff at your more timid companions, saying, “Pshh, what’s so tough about that? I can get that gold watch and teddy bear with one quarter, you bunch of sissies.” That is, until you actually try it. Sure, the claw acts like your friend at first. “We can do this,” it telepathically tells you.

But it soon becomes all too clear that your new four-fingered ally is not as determined to grab those prizes are you are. Just when it looks like it’ll catch the limb of some overly-sized stuffed animal, it just feebly closes on itself, empty-handed, then slowly takes the walk of shame to the prize dispenser, where it drops its glorious nothing into the bin for you.

“That doesn’t count, my hand slipped,” you say, and then try again. And again and again and again, your trash-talk slowly dwindling down to, “Man, this thing’s gotta be broken!”

“Come on, let’s just go,” one of the others say.

“Seriously, we won’t be able to afford our bills this month if you keep it up,” another says.

But you don’t let them instill doubt in yourself. It’s no longer just a game anymore. No, this is personal. This is you proving your dominance over the rest of the animal kingdom (even if they are all stuffed). So you persist, continuing to calculate exactly how this infernal claw moves and just how long vertically and just how long horizontally you need to move it before pressing that button.

Sometimes you even get it to grab the thing and pull it up, but it drops it along the way. Gradually, it gets closer and closer, the suspense building in the air, until finally, in one beautiful moment, it drops it into the bin. The Karate Kid’s “You’re the best” starts playing in your head as you first pump the air and jump up and down with your new toy.

At the end of it all, you ended up paying 15 bucks and a lot of sweat and toil for some stupid knick knack you could have bought for 1.50, but it was well worth it. Because you have something far more valuable than some stupid knick-knack. You have bragging rights, my friend, the kind that can easily get you laid in any bar, at least twice.

Original photo found here.