#525 That teacher

Put your hand up if you ran from doorbells, hid behind pant legs, and avoided eye contact with grownups as a shy little kid.

Brothers and sisters, if your hand is up right now, you are not alone.

Yes, mute as a mouse, quiet as a cat, I was a short, snotty, bedhead-smeared ghost of a child until about eight years old.

That was when I was head-yanked out of my turtle shell by a cotton-white, curly-haired, crinkly-smiled teacher who pushed me every single day. For some reason Mrs. Dorsman cared, she just cared, and she had me reading to the class, talking out loud, and practicing my cursive on the blackboard.

Sadly, when I was 10 years old my family moved away and we completely lost touch. But the little germs of ideas she planted in me rooted deep and grew slowly as the years bumped on and on and on and on…

A few years ago when The Book of Awesome was coming out I woke up and found this in my inbox:

— Email message —

From: Stella Dorsman

Neil, I just read the article in the Star this morning about your interesting life and upcoming book. I just need to know….are you the Neil Pasricha who was in my grade 3 class at Sunset Heights P.S.? If so, reading about you has been my truly awesome moment for today. I have been retired for ten years, but always remember my good students and hope that some of the emphasis I placed on writing skills eventually paid off. Please confirm your identity!

Best wishes,

Stella Dorsman

— Email message —

From: 1000 Awesome Things

It’s me! It’s me!

Mrs. Dorsman, you did indeed inspire and encourage me. I remember our class fondly! You are a fantastic and passionate teacher and I’m sure you encouraged thousands of students in your career. I count myself amongst the lucky! Thank you for calling my name on your attendance list outside the doors on that cold morning after Labor Day.

Neil

— Email message —

From: Stella Dorsman

Neil, SO HAPPY to hear from you…..and you’re old enough to call me “Stella” now! I also remember your Sunset Heights class as one of the highlights of my career…not all classes were as much fun.

I will indeed check out your book….I’m very proud of you…Stella

Well, we’ve all got those teachers who plant seeds inside us. Maybe it’s the baseball coach who leaves you on the mound after giving up some runs, maybe it’s the language teacher who helps you with that stutter after class, or maybe it’s the college professor whose inspirational talks fill you with the power to follow your dreams.

When Mrs. Dorsman picks up a copy of The Book of Awesome I hope she reads all the way to the Acknowledgments buried in the back and finds the tiny little note waiting there just for her.

“Special thanks to Mrs. Dorsman for pushing me out of my shell in third grade.”

AWESOME!

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#526 When dreams come true

I was a bad baby.

From the time I was zero minutes old I was wide-eyed, wide-awake, crying and cranky. Bedtime meant nothing and my parents say I’d often stand in my crib staring around the room rattling the bars all night.

Sleeplessness stuck as the years rolled on and I’d lie in the dark quiet house staring at the ceiling with my eyes bugged open for hours. Eventually I discovered books and started squinting through thick Coke-bottle glasses — lips softly moving, fingers slowly dragging — getting pulled into new worlds and new lives. Dim lights cast dark shadows by my dresser as I followed Frank and Joe to Pirate’s Cove or cracked cases with Encyclopedia Brown.

When I went to high school I tried to sleep in, I practiced even, but it just wouldn’t take. And since nobody was crazy enough to date me, I spent most of my evenings nose deep in musty yellow paperbacks tattered from the library, creasy finger-dents in the backs, big cracks in the spine.

These days my fingers can still feel the crinkly color-faded pages of garage sale Archie comics. I can still smell the musty kid’s section of the dim library basement. My brain still reels with flashbulb-popping memories of flipping pages with mom before bed.

I think I’ve loved books since I was a crib-rattling baby. I love squeezing them in suitcase pockets, leaving them teetering on toilets, and curling up with them under blankets on wet rainy days.

Today is the anniversary of The Book of Awesome hitting shelves around the United States and Canada. Today it’s shipping over a million copies, been a New York Times bestseller, and was a #1 International Bestseller for two straight years.

I feel so tremendously lucky and honored that this chance to chat with y’all about awesome things rose out of such difficult times in my personal life. Your comments, suggestions, and support means so much to me and I sincerely hope you have liked or will like the book.

And maybe this one’s for yourself, maybe it’s a gift for Grandma, or maybe it’s for a little kid with thick glasses to read under the covers tonight.

AWESOME!

What’s your favorite memory of The Book of Awesome? Leaving comments open for fun today!

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#527 The night before a really big day

Stare at that ceiling.

Sweaty palms, white knuckles, deep breaths in bed.

Maybe the ring’s stowed away and the reservations are made. Maybe the results are coming in and everyone’s coming over. Maybe you’re buttoning down for a new job or following your heart and leaving an old one.

As the moonlight shines in your window excitement bubbles in your brain.

It’s almost here.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

 

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#528 When your pet notices you’re in a bad mood and comes to see you

Everybody hurts, sometimes.

Relationships fritz and fizzle, bad moods steam and sizzle, and we all have moments where all we wanna do is to curl up under a blanket so it all goes away.

In tear-stained moments of blackness, when the weight of the world hangs heavy, there’s nothing as sweet as a furry four-footed friend noticing your mood and coming over for a snuggle.

As your dog curls into your lap or your cat stares straight in your eyes you just suddenly sniff back hot salty tears and let a small smile curl onto your face.

AWESOME!

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#529 Finally peeing after holding it forever

It didn’t used to be this way.

For hundreds of thousands of years our species peed freely, whenever, wherever. Yes, whether we were roaming jungles, crossing ice bridges, or having picnics in plains, it wasn’t always pretty but when nature called, we answered.

Things are different now.

Most of the time our bladders are all locked up.

Yes, with our stadium seating, boardroom meetings, kid’s soccer games, and smooth highway lanes, the one thing we didn’t build in was an easy way to clear some leaves and squat in the corner. Honestly, how many times have you been looking for parking and circling the lot, waiting for a movie to wrap up the plot, or just fumbling with keys so you can race to the pot?

Listen, I’ve been there too. Yes, it’s always a tight squeeze, with bouncing knees, and gritted teeth, but we accept this tradeoff in exchange for living in our bright and modern World of Pants. And a world where everybody wears pants is great, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that it cramps our style sometimes.

That’s why finally peeing after holding it forever feels so great. It’s like millions of years of animalistic need bursting through the chains and restraints of modern social norms. It’s the bathroom equivalent of a primal scream and it feels oh so incredibly

AWESOME!

 

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#530 Listening to couples tell you how they met

Just look at them.

Cute, cuddly, giggly, smiling, holding hands wedged deeply in the restaurant booth. Picking nachos, sipping cola, you casually ask how they met and then listen with warm wide-eyed smiles as they stutter and stumble over all the little details and tiny moments that helped bring them together.

He did this, she did that, he was thinking this, she was thinking that. She thought he thought, but he thought she thought, and then there was this party, and then there was that night.

Just look at them.

AWESOME!

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#531 The Big Night Nap

The Big Night Nap is any nap you take before going out for a big night.

When you nail this warm up nap perfectly you end up with a long memorable evening without dog yawns, wristwatch glances, and early cave-ins.

Now, that doesn’t mean Big Night Naps are easy to pull off. No, no, the truth is you gotta be careful in that late afternoon Napping Danger Zone:

1. The Power Nap. Top of the charts. This is the perfectly executed twenty-minute power up that fills up your energy bar and gets you ready to take on the world.

2. The Call Waiting Nap. Your plans aren’t firmed up so you leave your cell phone beside you. This forces you to pop up to answer text messages and take groggy phone calls.

3. The Choreographed Nap. This is where you convince all your friends to take a Big Night Nap, too. You know them well and realize they’ll zonk out early if they’re not in the game. Do like Parker Lewis and synchronize watches.

4. The Neverending Nap. Whoops! You were gonna do a quick snooze but your body had other plans. You groggily kick off your socks as your phone buzzes on your dresser. You’re going straight to morning now. Expect a 4:00am wake up call.

5. The Extend-O-Night Nap. You head out to someone’s house without napping but start losing steam as everyone else is revving up. So you head upstairs and take a quick zonkout on the bed full of jackets. You don’t have to be eight years old to pull this off, people. You’ll be back in the game in no time.

So… save ‘em for new years, save ‘em for slumber parties, save ‘em for nights you need extra juice. Yes, when you go down early to get down late it’s a beautiful moment of party planning that we like to call

AWESOME!

Order The Book of Awesome

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#532 When you find out your new place has a really good shower

It’s all about water pressure.

Honestly, getting a misty low pressure shower is a slightly damp nightmare.  You may as well spray yourself with a water bottle or shampoo your hair in the YMCA steam room at that point.

No, you want that high pressure spray down, you crave that high pressure spray down, you need that high pressure spray down. You know the one: it punches you in the heart, power blasts the armpit scum away, and turns your entire bathroom into a hot and steamy Chamber of Bliss.

Not much affects your day every day as much as a good shower. And it’s hard to fix a bad one. So when you find out your new place gives you a power-pumping start to the day, it’s time to close the door, strip right down, and get ready to get completely

AWESOME!

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#533 Taking a spin on a shopping cart

Hey, baby.

Take a ride on the wild side.

Yes, while walking down that empty grocery store aisle look left at the Cocoa Puffs, look right at the rice cakes, nod confidently, and then step on the cart and fly.

Apples bounce, salami slides, and there are some intense g-forces on your loaf of bread. But a few seconds later, a few feet away, how much are you smiling after that dangerous floor-tile thrill ride to the yogurt section?

Now, there are a few different ways the dangerous deeds go down.

Here we go:

1. Pedal to the metal. This is the classic one-foot ride to heaven. Two hands on the bar, one foot jammed underneath, and your back leg hanging out like a wobbly figure skater. Just make sure you’ve got a watermelon and a sack of potatoes in your cart to hold her steady.

2.Two Footer. This is similar to the Pedal to the metal, but with more commitment. Without your skiddy-soled runners providing an emergency brake anything could happen. Remember to know your limits and play safe out there.

3. A Tisket A Tasket. Someone’s riding in the basket. Make sure you don’t crash into a wall of soup because the only air bags in this thing are full of onions.

4. The Station Wagon. Remember that backseat in old station wagons facing the opposite direction? This is the shopping cart version. Hold on tight to the front of the cart and hope the driver doesn’t steer you into the egg wall.

5. The Submarine. Highly not-recommended. This deep sea move consists of riding underneath where the soda cans and diapers  usually sit. It also consists of being at the mercy of the lunatic driver above you. Remember to be safe in that grocery store jungle. Nobody wants to go home with a forehead full of kidney bean can dents.

Yes, taking a quick spin on a shopping cart is a coffee aisle vacation.

It’s juice and jam jubilation.

It’s a diaper dash temptation.

And it’s a supermarket celebration.

AWESOME!

 

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#534 Catching food in your mouth

Toss it mean and catch it clean.

Drop that jaw, tilt that head, and let’s get down to business:

• Level 1: Pop Practice. It’s important to start small with popcorn. There are no penalties for misses here, since the corn is light and doesn’t collect much dust if it hits the ground. This is a baby step and it will take time to master, but it’s an important rite of passage before hitting the next levels. (Note: In some circles, this level also covers marshmallows, Cheerios, and Corn Pops.) 5 points.

• Level 2: The Grape Beyond. Yup, next step is big ol’ grapes. Usually someone on the other end of the movie couch is munching on the vine in their own little bowl. If you’re feeling a bit hungry, simply drop your mouth and tap the couch cushion while saying ‘Uhn! Uhnnnnn!’ to get their attention. Soon a cold, hard grape should be flying fast at you. If the toss is good you should catch it perfectly. Other fruits like raspberries and strawberries fit here as well. 10 points.

• Level 3: Dog On A Bone. This extremely advanced move involves catching something larger than your actual mouth. An apple, peeled orange, or corn on a cob are good targets. You need to time the molar chomp perfectly and be prepared for embarrassing T-shirt stains and a black eye. 25 points.

Yes, when you catch food in your mouth you’re suddenly sitting high on top of the snack-eating universe. You’ve just combined equal parts laziness and athletic ability in a daring couch potato feat the likes of which this family room has never seen before. So when you nail it smoothly you know what to do.

Chomp it loud.

Chew it proud.

AWESOME!

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