1. If you ask for “half a cup of coffee,” especially on an airplane, you will get a full cup. The way to get half a cup (60%, actually), is to arch your eyebrows in an unusual way and ask for “just a quarter of a cup.” To get a quarter of a cup, squint as if trying to see something very small and say, “Could I have just a sip — one finger — of coffee? Really: just one finger.” And hold out the index finger of your right hand horizontally, grasping it with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, as if to put it on display.

2. Never use an S in Scrabble if it doesn’t enhance the score you otherwise could get by at least 15 points (unless you have two S’s, which is rarely the bonanza that it seems). Never use the blank other than to make a seven-letter word, or else to earn at least a 60-point score. Yes, JO, AA, AI, AE are words (and AG and ED are in the latest Official Scrabble Dictionary).

3. It is perfectly all right to eat a full grapefruit. And the best kind to eat are the ones with the thin shiny skins even though they’re harder to peel. (You peel them, because then you can just eat the sections, eliminating the need for a spoon, eliminating the waste, and eliminating the possibility of squirting juice on your tie or your companion.)

4. It is dumb to buy annuities. And yet people keep doing it, in droves. Stop it! (Having bought, though, it’s usually wise to hang on. And console yourself with the knowledge that, while it may not have been your very best alternative, you were a heck of a lot smarter buying the annuity than not saving that money at all.)

 

 

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