Why subscribe?

Life is funny if you stop to think about it, but few people have the time, training, or inclination to produce observational humor. That’s where Situation Normal comes in. Every Sunday, subscribers experience the humor of (my) life, without the hassle of talking to oddball baristas, managing home improvement boondoggles, or screwing up a chance to work with George Burns.

Cool! But who are you, and why are you qualified to write about your life?

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. But after more than a decade in journalism and a few awards that make great paper weights, I moved on to greener pastures. These days, I’m a ghostwriter—boo!

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 is currently touring museums throughout the U.S.

Because art imitates life, I’m currently writing a series of stoner mystery novels based on my time as a reporter for the second best trade publication in Porn Valley. And because every novelist needs a side hustle, I also write novels for the young and young at heart on Wattpad, where I’m a two-time Watty Award winner and member of the Wattpad Stars program.

Situation Normal began on Facebook around 2015. 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 spark joy than outrage. That’s when I discovered Substack, and now you’ve discovered me. Welcome to the party!

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I use Substack.com because it’s a story distribution platform that won’t break your brain (or society). I also love GIFs because they’re the gifts that keep on giving. But that’s another story.