Hi & welcome to Situation Normal! I’m Michael Estrin. This is where I share funny stories from my life and some essays too. It’s also the internet home for my podcast, where I tell funny stories to my friend Todd.

Michael Estrin with a real fake hand

Are you a professional writer?

Yes, that’s what it says on my tax returns. Here’s my professional bio:

Michael Estrin writes and tells stories from his life that are funny, heartfelt, vulnerable, and sometimes even profound. His essays have appeared in Vox, Narratively, and Tablet. His journalism has won two Maggies and earned an LA Press Club nomination. Michael also wrote a couple books (self-published.) He received his BA from Wesleyan University, and JD from Brooklyn Law School. He studied comedy at UCB.

Michael lives in Los Angeles with his wife and partner in crime, Christina. He is the Chewbacca to her Han Solo. Their dog, Mortimer, is named after one of the villains in the Eddie Murphy comedy Trading Places.

Who reads Situation Normal?

Situation Normal stories are enjoyed by 4,500 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:

And people pay for this?

Yes! People pay to support Situation Normal because they love it. Their support means the world to me for a few reasons:

  • Paid subscriptions are a huge vote of confidence in me. Thank you for believing in me, I will not let you down!

  • Paid subscriptions make it possible to offer Situation Normal to thousands of people for free. Thank you for underwriting joy for people you don’t even know, that’s a beautiful thing!

  • Paid subscriptions allow me to reinvest in Situation Normal. Thank you for underwriting new adventures for me to write about and produce a podcast where I tell some of those stories to my friend Todd!

Do paid subscribers get anything special?

Absolutely! As a thank you for supporting Situation Normal, paid subscribers receive the following benefits:

  • A thank you shout out in Situation Normal. I love doing these! Plus, paid subscribers can add a little note when they upgrade, and if they toggle the privacy box on that note, I’m thrilled to tell the Situation Normal community about their support.

  • The last post of the year. At the end of each calendar year, I write a post explaining what happened to your money. Think of it like a shareholder report, only way more fun.

  • Access to the Situation Normal archives. While everything is free in its initial run, posts automatically go behind a paywall after six months. (Note: I do this because it might make it easier for me to collect these stories into books someday, but if you want access to the archives and can’t afford it, just ask and I’ll hook you. Seriously, it gives me joy to do this. Send me an email at michael.j.estrin@gmail.com).

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

“Rodney Dangerfield paid me to write nice things about Michael’s newsletter, and so it goes…” — 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

“The internet’s 57th best humor newsletter makes history every Sunday.” — Francis Fukuyama

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 prosper 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


Human in LA. Husband. Dog dad. Writing slice of life humor @ Situation Normal. Writing about business and tech @ Thought Partner.