11 Things That Are Amazing When They’re Good, Terrible When They’re Bad


Last month, The New York Times Style desk rounded up their best “hot takes” of the summer. Included in the list were the assertions that you should delete their instagram, beer gardens are a scam, and cute pool floats are infantilizing. But the hot take I can’t get out of my head is that “watermelon is amazing when it’s good, but truly terrible when it’s not.” I, of course, agree, and have been thinking of other things that fall into this perilous life category ever since. Below are 11 that come to mind.


By choosing to live in New York, I have also chosen to live with roommates. I have lived with best friends and strangers from Craigslist (don’t tell my mom) who have turned otherwise generic apartments into blessed sanctuaries. Of course, the opposite also applies: bad roommates can turn those same apartments into cursed hellscapes. A memory that stands out is the time an extremely short-lived roommate kicked my suitcase down the stairs as I was moving out and yelled, “Welcome to New York, bitch,” as if we were on some dystopian East Coast version of The O.C. I shudder to imagine what would have become of a longer stay.


I’ve had my fair share of Rainbow and Dragon Rolls, rolls of sushi so flavorful and fresh I’ve wondered if my servers had, in fact, gone fishing for them. Unfortunately, I’ve also had my fair share of lukewarm crab sushi from the grocery store that I brought home full of hope and choked down for the simple reason that I had no other options.

Box Cutters

After being coerced into buying a drill from an overly enthusiastic Home Depot employee (long story but turns out we weren’t flirting), I decided that at the ripe age of 28, it was time I started building my own toolbox. One of my first purchases, in anticipation of an upcoming move, was a box cutter. As I began breaking down and opening boxes in my new apartment, I was enthralled by its usefulness, in disbelief that I’d waited so long to buy one. A moment later I sliced open my forearm. Box cutters: life-saving until they’re life-threatening.

Strangers on Airplanes

My movie diet consists of a glut of rom-coms, which have unfortunately also shaped my expectations around dating. So dedicated am I to the idea of a meet-cute, that I sometimes choose the middle seat on airplanes, theoretically doubling my chances of sitting next to a potential romantic target. This has worked out for me approximately one time, on a flight from Denver, when a man bought my drink and laughed at my jokes for three hours straight—convincing me that airplane dating is superior to all other forms. Unfortunately, every other time, I’ve found myself next to a drunk man traveling on business or a baby whose only means of communication is a primal scream.

Fast Food

Most of my friends have evolved from our college days of waking up to four uneaten Crunch Wrap Supremes in our bed (that specific situation actually only happened to me), but I still dabble in drive-throughs from time to time. But with fast food, you never really know what you’re going to get. At the perfect moment, taking your fry for a dip in a Wendy’s Frosty is bliss. But all too often you open up a bag of food to find soggy buns and grease stains, and are forced to face your mortality in the form of eating what essentially amounts to congealed chemicals.

A few more examples of things that are great when they’re good, terrible when they’re bad—presented without further comment:

“Mom” jeans
Reading the comments
Cancelled plans
Strapless bras
Yoga class
Staying up past 2 a.m.

What else?

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