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mental_floss's Be More Interesting series will teach you new interesting skills. This week, Max Silvestri learns to rip a phonebook in half.

(And don't worry--the regular list show will continue on Wednesday!)

Music provided by Scorebuzz Music.

Max: Today we're gonna get some help from Joey, who we found on Twitter, to teach us the finer points of ripping a phone book in half.


M: Hi Joey, so I understand that you can tear a phone book in half.

Joey: Yeah I thought it'd be a pretty cool party trick.

M: Right-it's like a good bar trick. You didn't, you weren't mad at phone books.

J: No, I was not mad, personally, at phone books.

M: Where do you find phone books? It's pretty hard to track them down.

J: Yeah I had a bunch of old ones at my house, and I uh...

M: Are you a hoarder person?

J: No.

M: Okay. That's good 'cause that's like a fire hazard. So this isn't about pure strength because I, when I've heard of ripping phone books it seemed like a strong man - and you are a strong man, Joey, but like, anyone can learn this,right?

J: Yeah, anyone can do it.

M: Does it matter if it's white or yellow pages? Because this is white pages, this is yellow.

J: I don't think it matters.

M: You don't?

J: No.

M: Like is this something that you've been able to pull out at parties? Has it worked for you?

J: I did it one time.

M: That's kind of enough.

J: Yeah

M: 'Cause then people started talking about it

M: I don't know if I can pull this off. I was kinda trying before you got here, thinking that maybe, like, 'Oh I've just never tried, I've never been...

J: You could just do it

M: angry enough at a phone book' But it's really hard. I kinda hurt my thumbs. So, let's save the little one for me. So slowly walk me through it. Before you rip it, kind of show me what you're doing that I could learn.

J: All right.

M: Never want the magnet on the front. It's very hard to rip through the promotional law firm magnet.

J: Basically you just, you wanna, like, I dunno, loosen up a little bit.

M: Sure. Personally or you want the phone book to be loose?

J: Both.

M: Both, both. You should have warm muscles.

J: And, uh, what you wanna do is you wanna pinch it in the middle, like... like make a 'U' out of it and then slowly bring it together. And you'll be able to see that there's a line.

M: Oh wow. Yeah

J: It's like air, there's like air pockets.

M: Yeah.

J: Right down the middle.

M: I can see. It almost changes color.

J: You don't have to, you don't have to pinch it very hard. It's just, it's pretty easy.

M: So that's opening pockets between those pages.

J: And that's... Yeah. So that's all air pockets. So basically what it means is that you're like ripping one page.

M: It's like one page at a time, but like a thousand of them.

J: Yeah, exactly. So you just pinch it like this.

M: Okay. Do you like kinda hold it against you or anything?

J: Yeah I do, and you wanna pull apart. So.

M: Okay. So are you pushing down or are you pulling up?

J: It's... You're kind of pulling, you're pulling apart.

M: Oh apart. So it's not up or down, it's sort of, almost like...

J: Yeah it's kind of like..

M: Oh I see. So you do it and I'm just gonna watch and see what happens here.

J: All right.

M: Can I get goggles or something? It looks like it's gonna explode when Joey rips into it.

(Joey rips phone book)

M: Oh wow! Yeah! I really thought that'd be more of a thing.

J: And then,usually you can only, you know, if you wanna rip it half way and then you can practice on the other side.

M: Oh yeah! You don't wanna burn it..

J: Because...

M: Burn a phone book.

Joey: know, If you're trying to learn.

M: If you're trying to learn, you wanna use both ends 'cause now the work's done.

J: And then you just...

(Joey rips rest of phone book)

M: Like that. Two pieces. Look at that! I feel like I can do this. Okay (clears throat) I'm gonna get loose here. It's pretty loose, I mean... So thumbs together here. So we got a 'U'. And then you almost do a...

J: And then turn it into a 'V'. Yeah. Kinda like that.

M: Kinda like that.

J: And then you pull it apart.

(Max tries pulling it apart)

M: It's like, I mean, it's, it's basically dead. All right let's try it again here.

(Max tries again)

M: Oh yeah it's done, it's done!

(Max rips it in half)

J: And that's how you rip a phone book in half.

Max: Let's just make it rain. Make it rain that phone book paper. Wow. Um, that's awesome Joey, thank you. Uh, If I ever run into a phone book again.

J: You'll know how to take it down.

M: It will regret the day it met me.

J: Exactly.

M: Fantastic.

M: Of course, ripping a phone book is only half the fun. The other half is inviting your friends over for beer as you duct tape the pieces back together. Until next time, I'm Max Silvestri from Mental Floss and Dos Equis reminding you to be more interesting.