Man, my main Han Solo-ish ability is that I can talk my way out of anything. I could talk my way out of a sunburn. I think the reason people don’t think this works is because they just don’t try it. I have had bills reduced, fees removed, avoided jail, and so on, just by saying, “Is there any way I can . . . not do that?”

A long long time ago in high school I needed an extension on a paper for absolutely no good reason (I just hadn’t written yet), and so I wrote this super overwrought Shakespearean email and the teacher gave me an extra week. I remember writing back telling her that she was “a lamb among wolves.”

Recently AT&T was trying to fuck me over some old bills I still had from my house in Oakland, and they had slapped on about $50 worth of fees. All I did was ask the guy if he could remove all the fees. Just like that: “Can you please remove those fees?” He paused and said, “. . . yeah, I can do that.” Whoa!

Another time I had a layover in Detroit on my way back from Tokyo, and my cell phone was dead and I needed to call my girlfriend in Baltimore. They had these pay phones where you could insert a debit / credit card and it would bill from that. Well I guess I failed to read the tiny print saying it was like $2.00 a minute! A month later I got slapped with an $80 bill. I called their customer service hotline and asked them to remove all the charges and they did. I think I only ended up having to pay $10.

This is probably the most insane one: My friends and I got lost coming back to Northern Virginia from DC. I was driving my friend’s car. Somehow I blew through a security checkpoint outside a Naval base. It was dark and I didn’t see anyone in the booth and so I kept going, driving pretty fast, and suddenly these huge spotlights came on and a bunch of guys with guns and flashlights flooded out of a nearby complex and commanded me to stop. The dude in charge had me get out of the car. He had a pistol pointed at my head. Two guys frisked me and took my license out of my wallet and read off all my info. The main guy said: “In a post-9/11 world, we don’t fuck around.” I made smalltalk with him and asked him about his gun and his flashlight and stuff like that. I asked him about his experience with “real” invaders. It was a genuinely interesting experience! I told him one of my friends was really going to get it if I didn’t get her home soon, which was true, and that I was blindly speeding through the dark so that I could fulfill my mission. I said something like: “C’mon, look at me. I couldn’t even break into my own bedroom.” Man I guess that was good enough for him because he patted me on the shoulder and sent me home.