Hi & welcome to Situation Normal! I’m Michael Estrin, and this is where I tell funny stories from my daily life. I also share funny essays about serious topics, dispatches from the world of adult entertainment, and occasional book news about my Porn Valley mystery novels.

Michael Estrin with a real fake hand

Who reads Situation Normal?

Twice a week, Situation Normal stories are enjoyed by more than 2,500 people who take their humor with a side of humanity and a dash of insight.

I’m intrigued. Do you have any samples?

Sure! Here are some popular Situation Normal stories for you to check out:

Free subscribers get stories like these delivered to their inboxes every Wednesday and Sunday, plus membership in the situation normie comment community, where members regularly discuss:

Wow! What do paid subscribers get?

For $5 per month, or $50 per year, paid subscribers receive everything free subscribers get, plus:

If you want to go the extra mile, please consider becoming a founding member of Situation Normal. For $150 per year, founding members receive all the same benefits as monthly and annual subscribers, plus:

  • A year-end report detailing how your contributions support my work

  • A free ride to doctor’s appointment in Los Angeles County (see my Colonoscopy friends story for details)   

Fans, celebs, and creditors say nice stuff

“Michael takes life and cuts it up into delicate, tasty slices. Then he eats the rind, so we don’t have to.” — Eli Grober, Here’s Something

“Next to fire, and maybe free refills on drinks, Situation Normal is the best thing humanity has going for it.” — Prometheus

“I loves me this newsletter!” — Anne Kadet, Café Anne

“I don’t care if he’s writing about porn conventions or butter boards (he has, about both), I wanna read it all.” — Alex Dobrenko, Both Are True

Situation Normal is exactly why I invented the internet.” — Al Gore

“It’s a deeply absurd world we live in, and Michael Estrin is writing about it.” — Sara Campbell, Tiny Revolutions

“Michael’s shit is the tits!” — Kurt Vonnegut

“Michael combines wry humor with a generous soul that loves to share useful insights along with laughs. You’ll smile AND think, which is a nifty combo.” — Brad Berens, The Brad Berens Weekly Dispatch

“Look, we’re just trying to make a dollar and a cent in this world, and Michael owes us a lot of money, so this newsletter of his better be damn good.” — American Express

“I don’t even know Michael, but he said he’d leave me alone if I’d blurb his silly newsletter.” — Joan Didion

Why I’m qualified to write about me

First, I’m Michael Estrin, the internet’s number one authority on Michael Estrin. Unless human cloning becomes a thing, I have a decent chance of keeping this gig.

Speaking of gigs, I’ve strung enough of those together to have what some people call a “writing career.”

As as journalist, I covered tech, advertising, law, personal finance and porn (there’s more overlap than you might think). An editor once told me I owned the “bizarro beat,” which was a fair thing to say to a guy who has written about obscenity trials, dope-smoking lawyers, doomsday preppers, and space tourism.

Because art imitates life, I write funny mystery novels based on my time as a reporter for the second best trade publication in Porn Valley. Not Safe for Work is the first book in my Porn Valley mystery series.

My personal essays have appeared in Vox, Narratively, and Tablet. My short stories have appeared in Out of The Gutter and Akashic. Ride/Share is a collection of micro stories about the funny, odd, and soulful things I’ve experienced as a Lyft passenger.

In 2017, I joined photographer Sam Comen to co-create The Newest Americans, a project about immigration and identity. The exhibition continues to tour museums throughout the U.S.

Situation Normal began on Facebook around 2014. At the time, I would share funny vignettes from my life with friends and family. Eventually, strangers started reading those stories, and I little later I realized that Facebook sucks, especially if your writing is more likely to inspire laughter than spark outrage. That’s when I discovered Substack, and now you’ve discovered me.

Situation Normal Community Rules

As Dolley Madison’s husband, Jimmy, once wrote, if people could just be cool, we wouldn’t need rules. But people aren’t always cool. That’s why I put together a few rules for the Situation Normal community.


At Situation Normal, everyone’s comments are welcome! Just like John Cusack, you can say anything in the comments, with two exceptions:

  • If your comment maligns or attacks a specific individual or a group of people, I will delete it.

  • You are welcome to post links to your own newsletter, blog, song, product, service, or whatever, but ONLY if it’s relevant to the conversation. If it’s not remotely relevant to the conversation, it’s spam, and I will delete it.


Substack gives writers a tool that allows them to recommend other newsletters to their readers. It’s a powerful tool, so I try to use it with care. I recommend newsletters based on the following criteria:

  • I enjoy reading the Substack.

  • The Substack covers stuff I think the Situation Normal audience may find interesting. Trust me, that covers more ground than you probably think.  

  • The Substack is updated regularly.

As of this writing, the above rules & policies are the only community guidelines that exist for Situation Normal. With a little luck and a lot of respect, this community should be able to grow and continue without adding additional rules or policies. All we have to do is…

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Stories for people who enjoy humor with a side of humanity and a dash of insight


Michael Estrin
Life is funny (sometimes), so that's what I write about. I also write fiction that some people have called "funny."