#521 Calling a mulligan on the day

Do you play golf?

Me, I’ve tried a couple times but it’s always the same: I lace up some stained sneakers, borrow rusty clubs from someone’s basement, and then scrounge around the parking lot for some dented balls for my once-a-decade tee shot.

Now, I’ve mentioned my athletic abilities before so you’ll understand why I love that golf rule which lets me call a mulligan. Have you heard of it? Basically, I swing and miss the ball a dozen times before eventually shanking it dead sideways into the dense forest.

But then I just yell MULLIGANNNNN! really loudly and everyone lets me try again.

It’s a great rule and it got me thinking: We should be able to call mulligans anywhere. Because hear me out.

What if you could call a mulligan on your driving test? Yes, after tire-punching the curb and hitting Grandma’s shopping cart you just drop the m-word and start again. Or how about calling a mulligan after an awkward side hug in the airport? Or after accidentally spitting a tiny piece of food on your date’s face?

It’s starting to sound good, am I right?

Now, my old college friend Mike is the master. See, he’s perfected the beautifully indulgent Weekend Mulligan. He often gets up and groggily stumbles around the kitchen, spills coffee grinds on the floor, and accidentally steps on the cat. But then he stares at his dark, hollow eyes in the mirror and realizes he woke up too soon.

That’s when he just calls a mulligan on the day and goes back to bed with a plan to give it another shot a few hours later.

People, life’s too short not to sleep when you feel like it. So take a page from our book and when your first couple shots land in the rough, just yell mulligan and start again.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“Yesterday, a mysterious package showed up at my apartment. I opened the box, and there it was:The Book of Awesome! The label said my mother had ordered it for me (I go to college three hours from home). I called her to thank her then asked how she knew I’d wanted the book! She said she saw a link I posted on Facebook and thought it would be a nice surprise! So there’s another awesome thing for the list: Small surprises that show how much someone cares.

This gift reminded me that even though my mom and I have disagreements she loves me so much more than I could ever fathom. Your site and book are so lovely — sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own personal crises that we forget to remember the small miracles that make up the beautiful world we live in. Thanks for reminding us every day. Keep the awesome alive!” – Kelly from Virginia

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#522 Dancing when you’re home alone

Get your groove on strong.

Yes, lock that door, shutter those blinds, and crank that bumping thumping music, baby. Because it’s time to get down with the get down:

• The Microphone. Wooden spoons are ideal but there are good substitutes like toothbrushes, combs, or even a bulky plastic hair dryer. Just don’t trip on the cord.

• The Crowd. It’s all about mirrors. Nod and let them nod right back at you. Watch them mouth the words and raise their fists with yours. What a beautiful audience.

• The Critics. There are none! This is the best part. Nobody says you’re singing out of key so just wail till you can’t wail no more. For bonus points get your voice so loud and dirty it scratches the back of your throat.

• The Wardrobe. You’ve got a few costume options including the classic ripped raggedy T-shirt and pair of faded sweats. There’s also underwear only, or even, well… you know. Relax, you look great. Time to rock out.

Yes, we’ve all been home alone and sometimes it’s fun to lose yourself in the moment.

After all, maybe you’re hanging with a heavy heart, burning with a hot temper, or just snowed in after a bad day. If there’s a black cloud hanging ugly over your head there’s no cheaper cure than having a solo dance party in the comfort of your place.

Some come on and turn it on, crank it up, and just shake it baby, shake it baby, shake it like that.

AWESOME!

–Email message–

“This book is way thicker than i expected. love it so far! but since i’m still in school i don’t have a lot of time for pleasure reading so this will be my book for the summer, which is only a month away :) – Matthew @matthewklassen”

Photo from: here

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#523 When you learn a new word and then suddenly start seeing it everywhere

Thanks, universe.

Once in a while you send big blinking signs that everything’s unfolding according to plan. Yes, whether it’s a supersmooth drive home, some eerie deja vu, or a  perfect time showing up on the clock, you drop buzzy little braintwists that always keep us guessing.

Yes, it’s great when you learn a new word and then suddenly start seeing it everywhere. You know how it goes: something weird like coagulate, vexed, or perforated leaps into your temporal lobe and wedges itself there tightly, grabbing a beer, putting its feet up, making itself at home.

But then soon magazine articles are zooming the word up to your eyeballs, your college professor is dropping it in lectures, and you see it hanging strangely coagulate in the middle of a random blog.

“I never knew that word before,” you think. “but now it’s following me around.”

See, the Lords of Language know you well. They gotta repeat things to seal in the learning. So when it happens just enjoy that personal thrill, feel that connection crackle, and smile and nod because you just got a little bit smarter and a lot more

AWESOME!

Order The Book of Awesome

—Email message—

“Hi Neil! I’ve been slowly maneuvering my way through grad school.  Unfortunately, my boyfriend lives 200 miles away and it’s tough to have him leave Sunday nights and return to work. Tonight, after the boy left, I put aside my work for a little longer and dove into your book.  I felt so much better. Thank you for putting a little more AWESOME into the world, Erica.”

Photo from: here

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#524 When your fries order has a few onion rings stashed in the mix

Dive in.

Scoring some sweet and salty rings hidden in your fries is the fast food equivalent finding a treasure chest at the bottom of the sea. Suddenly you’re an explorer stumbling upon a lost shipwreck way, way down in the darkness. While your friends linger above, you plunge deeper and deeper … eventually spotting a coral-covered chest wedged between some slippery rocks.

As your heart thump-thumps you kick the rusty lock and peel open the lid to behold a glittery sight. Your face lights up like a flashlight and your eyes pop open behind the scuba mask as you realize you’ve uncovered a hidden stash of crunchy, oily gold.

There be treasure in these fries.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here and here

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#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!

Sign up for an awesome spam-free email every day.

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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!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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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!

Photos from: here and here

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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!

 

Photos from: here and here

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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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