How to score! At almost everything
Julius "Dr. J" Erving perfected the slam-dunk, a move that helped make him one of basketball's all-time greats. Danny Moder, a movie cameraman, is worth zillions because he met and married Julia Roberts. And designer Kenneth Cole, who once sold his shoes out of a film-production trailer, now rules a fashion empire estimated at $400 million. As different as those people and their tales are from each other, they all have one thing in common: They knew how to score. Big. In sex, sports, career, freebies--you name it--everyone wants to win large. The question is, how do you do it? We've got the answers--25 of them, in fact.
Snag swag from the pros
Want a personal memento from your favorite player? Simply find out where he's staying for the night. The Baseball Blue Book lists likely team lodgings, so you can hang out in the hotel bar or lobby for a close encounter and beg for a freebie. (Do it during the regular season--don't stalk the poor guy during his vacation.)
Catch a Major League baseball
It's not whether your team wins or loses --it's can you dive across the bleachers before that 8-year-old punk catches the pop fly missed by a guy named Jeter? But you don't have to dive--just grab a corner seat in the lower sections of either the left- or right-field lines, where most foul balls go, advises Joshua Pahigian, co-author of The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip. That or show up early for batting practice. You may find a ball in the stands or coax a player to toss one your way.
Hit a bull's-eye
If anybody knows darts, it's the straight shooters at Cyberdarts.com. They recommend that you don't lean over the line--closer is not better. You need the stability of an even stance for accuracy. And no need to chuck it. The dart will fly straight without lunging or throwing with your shoulder. Hold the dart level, aim at the board, and release your fingers and thumb in unison. Follow through. And concentrate--you don't need a wrongful-injury lawsuit on your hands because you stabbed someone by accident.
Bowl a strike
Your mind--not your ball--belongs in the gutter. To bowl a strike, Chris Barnes, 1998 Professional Bowlers Association Rookie of the Year, says aim for the head pin and the 3 (the 2 pin for lefties). Take the traditional four-step approach, extending the ball out on the first, down on the second, and shoulder-height on the third. On step four, slide forward with the left foot, bend your knees, and release the ball gently, targeting the arrow to the immediate right (left for lefties) of the center arrow. Wait for lane thunder.
Serve an ace in tennis
Looking to launch a Roddick rocket? Aim for the corner in the service box you want to hit. Then face your serving palm downward as your racquet arches over the ball, says Tyler Gibson, the University of Hartford men's tennis head coach.
Get a raise--fast
Don't ask--insist, says Stamford, Conn., career coach Julie Jansen. When just an "Attaboy, Murphy" isn't enough anymore (your name isn't even Murphy), tell your boss what salary the competition offers for your position and give a decisive presentation. You're telling them you deserve more respect, represented by money.
Earn a promotion--faster
Do a corporate takeover on a personal level, says Jansen. Start doing the job you want without being asked. If a higher-up in your section has been promoted, let the boss see you answering the phone at that desk and filling the void.
Command the most power
Expand your authority by becoming one. Be the person whose opinion everyone else in the office wants, says California workplace strategist David Thiermann. Become Mr. Know-It-All about tasks outside your orbit. And volunteer for every committee in sight, especially those handling politically sensitive issues such as ethics and diversity.
Make a name for yourself in your field
Be a self-promoter by persuading professional groups to invite you to speak, advises career counselor Michael W. Reed. Also, suggest throwing a party for the media in order to raise the company profile, then get yourself appointed host. Some lazy journalists (not us) will surely show up for the free food and booze, then realize they'll need a story to justify their schmoozing. That's your chance to pimp your special skills and make the story about you.
Bust your workplace archenemy
Get cozy with your cutthroat colleague, suggests consultant Thiermann. Ask the boss to team you with a rival on a big project, then give a party to celebrate its success and make a little speech to fellow workers where you toast him. You're the one who will be remembered.
Duck boyfriend duties
Want to dodge shoe-shopping trips, Meg Ryan movies, and "quality time"? Be "nice" and grant her a girls' night out. Suggest that she might find hitting the mall or a chick flick more fulfilling with her girlfriends than with you, say online manners gurus the Etiquette Grrls (etiquettegrrlstyle.com).
Pick up a "get out of jail free" card
Think like a woman: Silently keep track of all your girl's bad behavior. Then, the next time you come home from a night out, "go in with guns blazing before she even has a chance to say a word" and throw those mistakes back in her face, says MF sexpert Sarah Hedley. Add the icing by telling her, "I'm much too upset with you to talk right now," and storm off.
Land a rich babe
It takes more than a roll of quarters to check into Paris Hilton. The fact is that rich girls gravitate toward rich guys--the better to spawn more trust-fund babies. "I'm not materialistic at all, but a guy wouldn't have a shot in hell with me if he didn't have a lot of money," says Elaine Klimaszewski, one of the well-endowed "Coors Light Twins." So make a quick shopping trip to Ralph Lauren, rent a Porsche Boxster, and head to the hottest club in town. You'll be a rich-babe magnet--at least long enough to document it on video.
Have a friendship with "benefits"
Want a booty buddy? Step one: Have a one-nighter with a friend at work who enjoys sleeping around. Step two: The next morning, be friendly and casual, but not clingy --almost as if you were talking to her at her cubicle. Suggest, "Let's do this again sometime," and see how she responds. If she cuddles up and says she wants to get to know you better, run. Fast. "The biggest entanglements are when one person thinks she's being used," says Oxygen network sexpert Sue Johanson.
Get with your best friend's chick?
Wish that you had Jesse's girl? First, convince yourself that you truly hate your buddy. Then subtly undermine that son of a bitch every chance you get. (C'mon--you know he'd do the same to you!) "Every time he's a chump, give the girl a shoulder to cry on," says MF's Hedley. Act like you're defending him while actually creating doubt. Lines like "Sure he's got a wandering eye, but he'd never cheat on you--I'm pretty sure" work nicely. Then, some night when he's out and she's alone, happen by her place with a bottle of wine. After all, the jerk deserves it no?
Net a free fitness evaluation
Call the exercise-science or nutrition departments at your local university and ask if they need study participants. Researchers are often looking for subjects to test for studies on body fat, flexibility, and strength, says Alex Koch, assistant professor of exercise science at Missouri's Truman State University. You can learn your V[O.sub.2] max, resting metabolic rate, cholesterol levels, and get free exercise and diet consultations.
Access cutting-edge medical attention
If the only M.D. you can afford is Dr Pepper, consider signing up for free medical testing. Sure, you'll have to volunteer for therapies and medical procedures that haven't been fully approved for public use, but you will be contributing to the advancement of medical science, you hero, you! Oh, and did we mention that it's free? The easiest place to find a trial near you: clinicaltrials.gov. The government site lists more than 10,000 scientific tests, covering everything from minor vision problems to serious genetic defects, and everything in between.
Secure free/cheap health care
You can check everything from your blood pressure to that persistent burning sensation when you pee by taking advantage of clinics. Keep an eye on the local newspaper or call an area hospital and ask about the next public-health screening.
Acquire free/cheap drugs
You've heard the phrase "Ask your doctor for a free sample." That means you get real medicine for zero dinero. And while you're visiting, ask your M.D. about pill-splitting, a legal practice where he prescribes twice the dose of pills and you split them in half--chopping 50% off your cost