README: A 60-second summary of all this…

Hey everyone,

My name is Neil Pasricha and here’s a quick summary of this blog 1000 Awesome Things and my life since then:

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#990 Picking up a q and a u at the same time in Scrabble

The devilI’m the world’s worst Scrabble player.

Every time it’s my turn I see other players lose interest as they get ready for a long wait. I feel bad, so I stare intensely at my pieces trying desperately to conjure up a word longer than three letters or else suffer their complaints that I’m “really clogging up the board.” A couple minutes of silence will pass before somebody says “Hey, you know what this game should have? A time limit, ha ha ha ha ha!!!” And everybody laughs and smiles at me and I look up to grin and then stare back down at my letters quickly. I stare at those letters and stare hard. A few more minutes of silence will pass and then I look up, grimace slowly, and offer up one of my two classic lines:

  1. “Sorry guys, I’ve got like all vowels over here,” or
  2. “I’m really sorry. It’s like Consonant Central over here, guys. I’ll be just another minute unless Jgrfkll is a word.”

A couple people nod and smile at my lame joke, someone idly turns on the TV and starts flipping channels, and another will generally grab a section of the newspaper and head to the can. I frantically rearrange my letters over and over again, silently praying rebuke, jinxed, or fibula will appear on my little wooden tray by accident.

Consonant CentralMy nerves fraying, my heart drum-thumping, I’ll eventually put down a lame four-letter word like bill or lamp in an act of desperation. “Eight points,” I’ll whisper to the scorekeeper, while turning the board and nodding to the other players to move along.

… See, part of my problem is that I draw letters like j, z, or q at the beginning of the game and they end up haunting me all the way through. That big q is the worst of all. It holds its powerful 10 points over my head, just daring me to draw one of the four u‘s in the game so I can lay it down. I spell my letters out in arrangements like q_ick, q_ote, and q_iet, ready and waiting for a u at any time, but generally no dice, or at least no dice for a while. I got qat or I got nothing.

And so you see that’s why, in my books, there is no better Thing To Happen To You In A Boardgame than picking a q and a u at the same time in Scrabble. I say it beats building two hotels on Boardwalk in Monopoly or drawing a perfect brontosaurus in Pictionary during an All Play.

If I get that q and u together in Scrabble, then it’s all me all the time, baby. Doors open, and I quite quietly and quickly quash all quack queries from my competitors. And baby, you know how that makes me feel.

AWESOME!

The goal

Illustration from: here

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#991 Really, really old Tupperware

Watch your retinasFound in dusty kitchen cupboards and dishwasher top-shelves across this wide, great land, really, really old Tupperware is as handy today as it was twenty, thirty, forty years ago. That famous Tupperware “burping seal” still holds strong, and you can bet your boombox that banana bread will stay moist, those chopped celery sticks crisp, that leftover lasagna slice fresh. Yes, all is well in this tight vacuum-sealed Chamber of Taste-Preservation.

Really, really old Tupperware is mostly found in three colors: Stovetop Green, Pylon Orange, or The Core Of The Sun Yellow (pictured). Optional features include novelty 1950s floral patterns or deep tomato stains, from that time someone put leftover chili in there and shoved it in the back of the freezer for two years.

One thing I enjoy doing is thinking about all the different kinds of food a particular piece of Tupperware has tupperwared shut over the years. Apparently Tupperware has been around since 1946, so we’re talking about the full tastebud timeline — from lard burgers, creamed corn casseroles, and Jello salads to hemp brownies, parsley soup, and tofu cookies to pizza pockets, Hungry Man leftovers, and astronaut ice-cream pellets.

Really, really old Tupperware has been there, sealed that, and lived to tell the tale. It’s a throwback to the simpler life, when things like airtight seals meant something. Something real. Something honest.

Something worth believing in.

AWESOME!

Tupper Rainbow

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#992 Being the first table to get called up for the dinner buffet at a wedding

Your throneWeddings can go one of two ways.

Either you’re tight like twins with the bride or groom — a sibling maybe, college roommate, or grandmother. You’re on The Inside, recommending photographers, hosting showers, renting tuxes, giving toasts. For you, the wedding is a great day, a proud moment, a chance to recognize and celebrate someone you love dearly.

Or…you’re on The Outside. You’re the groom’s doctor, the bride’s new boss, or worst of all, the cousin-date. You’re only there because it would have been rude not to invite you, so you RSVP past the deadline, squeeze into dress clothes from prom, and drink before the reception. You sit at the back table with a lot of people you don’t know and introduce yourself to at least one half of the newly married couple late at night on the dance floor during Mambo #5. “You look really great,” you scream over Lou Bega’s thumping beats, a nearly full Corona swinging wildly in your hand. “I’m Cory, by the way. I work with Linda.”

If you’re on The Inside, the entire wedding is great for you. You tear up during speeches, take two hundred pictures, and dance until the lights come up, your hair sweat-glued to your forehead, big toes popping through fresh holes in your nylons at two in the morning.

If you’re on The Outside, you’re scoping out bridesmaids, eating other people’s wedding favor chocolates, and ordering off the menu at the bar.

Waiting for youWhen you’re on The Outside there is no greater wedding high than being the first table to get called up to the dinner buffet. Suddenly you’re on The Inside, honorary winner of the prestigious Gets To Eat Before Everyone Else award, dipping your ladle into Alfredo sauce before it films over, toothpicking meatballs before they congeal into sugary meat pyramids, surgically removing the perfect first triangle of cheesecake before the serving dish gets all gummed up with clumpy graham cracker paste and marischino cherry glue.

Yes, you walk back to your table a newly crowned king, sitting down at your chair-facing-the-bathroom-at-Table-#31 throne, lord and ruler of your much-too-loaded plate buried in rolled up salami cold cuts, potato salad, and gherkins.

AWESOME!

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#993 Fat baseball players

Let me tell you how many eggs I put in my omelette.If you ever find yourself playing professional sports and someone from the stands yells out “Come on, Big Bopper!,” you’re probably a fat baseball player. Fat baseball player, thank you for giving us that simplest thing of all.

Hope.

See, because usually when we see those tricep flabs shaking in the wind and those bathroom scales exploding into a mess of springs going in all directions, we figure that our professional sports careers are pretty much over. Ain’t too much room on the hockey bench or the soccer pitch for us husky folks, and so, with our dreams sidelined, we sign up for night school VCR repair courses and start staining furniture in the garage, channeling our energies away from the games we love into our Plan Bs and Cs.

But that’s where you come in. To the Cecil Fielders, John Kruks, and C.C. Sabathias of the world: Thank you for keeping our dreams alive to one day be a platoon Designated Hitter. Thank you for being

AWESOME!

The dream

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#994 Waiters and waitresses who bring free refills without asking

Ice coldOn the whole, we’re pretty nasty to waiters and waitresses. We complain they’re wasting our time if the food takes too long to come, we complain they’re trying to rush us out if the food comes too early. We warn about allergies, make special requests, ask for more bread, and talk openly about their tip while they’re busing the table next to us. We’re kings barking orders from the booth and they’re sweating peasants in aprons and pieces of flair with dirty J-cloths hanging out their back pocket.

Waiters and waitresses have to put up with us and paste wide, toothy grins across their faces, besides. They split bills, sop up spills, and slip and slide across slick kitchen floors for us.

Despite this all-odds-against-them setup, there are a few gems out there, a few rare, bright gems, who deliver perfect waiter or waitressessness. Perfection here is defined solely as bringing free refills to the table without us even asking. Because nothing beats ice-filled towers of cola arriving unannounced at our table, just as we’re finishing up our spinach and artichoke dip for a perfectly timed palate cleanse before the big entrée. The only things that come close are ice-filled towers of cola arriving unannounced right after the entrée and ice-filled towers of cola arriving unannounced with the check and handful of mints.

…Three hours later, when you lay bloated on the coach, your entire meal swimming in the carbonated sea that is your digestive system, I know your eyelids will droop heavily and your posture will slide, but I also know you’ll give a thin, subtle smile, and a slow, sure thumbs-up sign when anyone asks “How was dinner?”

AWESOME!

Free refill is on its way

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#995 Finding money you didn’t even know you lost

An old roommate of mine was sifting through and tossing out some old birthday cards once when a crisply entombed twenty dollar bill slid out of a faded card from Grandma. Her eyebrows perked up, her mouth formed a perfect O, and she raised her hand up top for a high five, which I promptly delivered.

Finding a bill zipped up in last year’s ski jacket, laying wet and crumpled in the washing machine, or folded in the pocket of your booze-smelling blazer is such a great high. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but this sure comes close.

Such a great highFinding your own money is a lot like discovering an entirely new currency, one that cannot be used to pay down debts or obligations, but only has value when purchasing stuff you probably don’t need and wouldn’t have bought otherwise, like an old-school beanie cap, novelty ten-pound Toblerone bar, or high-octane gasoline. It is disposable income in the truest sense of the phrase.

For the pessimists out there, you may be saying “Barumph! That money has been all chewed up by time and inflation, slowly losing value and unaccumulating interest while prices ramp right on up, making my life less and less affordable. That found money could have purchased more before I lost it than it can today, so why should I celebrate my own stupidity?”

But Pessy, come on, we’re talking about found money here — money that hasn’t been budgeted for, accounted for, remembered for, promised for, or owed for, anything at all, since you lost it! Surely the few sacrificed cents of interest in the bank are a small price to pay for holding that folded up bill, right up to the sky, in your tightly clenched fist, with no claims to satisfy. Sure, it may smell a bit like mothballs, Tide, or Grandma’s skin cream, but that money still works. And it works well.

So let’s call found money what it really is then.

AWESOME!

New form of currency

 

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#997 Locking people out of the car and pretending to drive away

There are so many different levels to this classic gag.

There’s Version 1.0 which involves a car full of people, a gas station bathroom break, the locked door, and the slow rolling drive away while the victim knocks on the window and pretends not to care. This version is Locking People Out Of The Car And Pretending To Drive Away Lite, a tame version of the gag intended to induce a few giggles without any tense moments. Just some G-rated comic relief for the long drive home. Version 1.0 is the most commonly practiced version out there and is the officially sponsored and recommended version by 1000 Awesome Things.

Trouble

Next up is a version that’s a bit more advanced than Version 1.0 but not quite at the level of Version 2.0. We’ll call it Version 1.5, also known as The Big Tease. The Big Tease works as long as the victim leaves their car door open. That open door is critical to pull it off. To execute, the driver simply waits until the victim is approaching the car and then drives away slowly with the door hanging wide open like a big tease. The Big Tease works fine on small or large cars, but is especially effective in vans with sliding doors. You’ve got that big van door just sitting there wide open and the victim may figure it’s worth running and jumping for it. There’s really no telling what could happen in this situation. Just remember to be safe out there.

Next comes Version 2.0 which involves a car full of people, a gas station bathroom break, the locked door, and a complete drive away, lap of the gas station, and return after a minute or two. Big difference here is that Version 2.0 dials up the fear notch a little, instills a tiny bit of bootshake in our helpless victim. When the car comes back some name-calling goes down, but nothing too serious. Still — this one’s not recommended for children twelve and under. Let’s call it Rated T for Teen.

And then finally there’s the grandaddy of them all, the one and only Version 3.0. A real cooker, Version 3.0 involves a car full of people, a gas station bathroom break, the locked door, and a full-out drive away into the sunset, without any eventual return. The victim is left curbside, casually spooning up a McFlurry as they walk around for a couple minutes, expecting the car to come sweeping around the corner any second. But no… the car never comes back. Unless practiced in walking distance of the victim’s house, Version 3.0 can be devastating. And it’s rarely executed and not recommended for obvious reasons: its potential to destroy relationships…to destroy relationships…forever.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#998 Getting grass stains

First of all, getting a grass stain means that you were running around at high speeds without proper equipment. Maybe you slid last-minute to avoid a frozen tag or made an awkward, somersault dive at a line-drive wiffleball. Either way, the grass stain symbolizes your large, devil-may-care investment in having balls-out fun, and that’s something worth respecting.

See, boring people, like myself, rarely get grass stains running around because we’re always doing it in Umbros and shinpads from 7:30 to 8:25pm on Mondays down at the indoor Sportpark.

Now, when you’re just running around full throttle in cords and a sweater until you trip on a rock and fall down a hill, my friend that is something. Walk home with pants full of grass stains, some spicy kneeburn, and mud-caked shoes, and you’ve just had yourself a great day.

AWESOME!

Hold on to that cookie!

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#999 That last, crumby triangle in a bag of potato chips

Kick-starting a bag of potato chips is pretty much standard — you open with the double-pincer, squeeze-and-pop technique, start fishing out the prime, full-bodied chips at the top of the heap, and then start working your way down to the half-broken chips in the middle of the bag. A few minutes in you’ve chomped your way down to the bottom and you might think you’re pretty much done. But wait, that’s just the beginning.

That’s when you get to the best part, that’s when you get to that last, crumby triangle of potato chips wedged right in the corner of the bag. You know what I’m talking about. Usually at this point your lips and face are covered in grease-crumbs and your fingers are neon orange, coated in a thin film of salty saliva.

That delicious patch of potato powder is all yours, but to get it you haMirrory Wellve to get a bit dirty:

  • First of all, you won’t be able to see your fingers down that crinkly, mirrory well so you have to tilt the bag sideways and size up that crumby triangle for what it’s worth. See what you’re dealing with here. Commit to a game plan.
  • Next, even though your fingers might already be wet at this point, it’s best to be safe with the ol’ Thumb & Index Finger Pre-Lick. Come on, slide them right in and out of your mouth, don’t be shy. Remember: the crumbs are in there deep, and your slightly sticky spit-glue will help mine the greasy plunder.
  • Next — attack! Wedge your wet thumb and forefinger in there hard, and squeeze until you feel like you’ve got most of it. Then pull out quick, and in one swift move sweep and drop that last, crumby triangle right onto your tongue, making sure to lick the stubborn remains off your fingers while saying Mmmm a lot.

And you’re done!

Exhibit A

Now, while the Thumb & Index Corner Pinch move is grittier and more explosive, there is a backup technique that will still get the job done if you don’t like to get your hands dirty. Those in the biz know what I’m talking about: The Dump-Truck Bag-Tilt Maneuver. This one requires two hands, a gaping mouth, and a forty-five degree angle to turn the trick. You can use it alone or in tandem.

But either way, almost entirely composed of salt and artificial flavor, that last crumby, triangle packs a full flavor finishing move, unlike the watered down sip at the end of a soft drink cup, the stump at the bottom of a muffin, or the toothbreaking kernals hiding in that last handful of popcorn.

AWESOME!

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