#507 Riding on someone’s shoulders when you were a kid

Blast off.

Getting a six-foot liftoff when you’re two feet tall shoots you straight into the stratosphere. Suddenly you’re riding your own personal human in a bumpy living room safari in the clouds. Your diaper-padded ass bounces safely on sturdy shoulders as you giggle and grab fistfuls of hair and glasses while gazing down at the tiny toy-covered world you thought you knew.

Yes, your baby brain zooms out and gives a sneak peek of the big world you’re about to discover: riding wobbly bikes and skinning your knees at distant playgrounds, cruising around after curfew with fresh drivers licenses, and staring out tiny airplane windows at distant crisscrossed patches of your hometown.

Look back on those blurry shoulder rides in those jungle backyards and remember the rushing gushing feeling of going way up, staring way down, opening your eyes, and opening your mind…


Thanks to the nearly 500 people who came to The Book of Awesome Launch Party last night! Our fists-to-the-sky awesome movement was in full force! So nice of folks to make T-shirts, signs, and share stories with the crowd. Thank you Indigo for hosting!  – Neil

— Blog post —

“The Toronto launch of The Book of Awesome was a rousing success. People were kept waiting behind a velvet rope and there wasn’t even the promise of cocaine. Awesome. The book is being translated into German, Korean, Chinese, Cockney rhyming slang and also being dropped by helicopter into the remotest jungles of Papua New Guinea. The author held court with Heather Reisman at the flagship Indigo location in front of an appreciative crowd.

Participants were asked to fill out cards of their own examples of awesome things and in a touching moment, Neil’s third grade teacher, warmly remembered as an inspiration to him growing up, joined him on stage.” – Chris from Shark Guys

Photos from: here and here

59 thoughts on “#507 Riding on someone’s shoulders when you were a kid

  1. im 18 and still like gettin the rare opportunity to be placed on someones shoulders :)
    riding up high is the best!

  2. Hoisting a wee one up on your shoulders is mega-fun. I have fond and distant memories of the time I spent on my daddy’s shoulders and I revel in passing those good times on to a kiddo who will hopefully have the same happy memories. Sure, you may or may not (read: will) sacrifice some hair in the process, and heck, you may even end up with a neck cramp depending on how long you’re providing a ride — but it’s worth it :)

    P.S. Congratulations on the massive turnout at the event! Whoa!

  3. The Windsor Star did a write-up of your book yesterday and that is how I found your blog. I linked to it today on mine so I hope many more people see the Awesomeness of yours! I’ll be coming here often for a shot of good feelings.

    Congratulations on your success! It is … of course …
    AWESOME! ☺

  4. I have to add something: Have a kid ride on your shoulders. As I have a sister who is five years old and a brother who is two years old, I’m rather the one who takes them on the shoulders than the one who rides. But it’s ok, because it’s really fun.

  5. I don’t remember riding on shoulders but I do remember being picked up upside down so I could walk on the ceiling. That was awesome.
    I love giving kids rides on my shoulders. I tried recently to give my daughter one and we were both kind of sad that she is just a bit too big now. She used to love it. I’d throw her up there and bounce around and she would giggle away.

    Congrats on the launch party!! Wish I could have been there!

  6. I recently had the opportunity to ride on someone’s shoulders. That’s alright, but it’s an entirely new experience when you’re on the shoulders of a 7’4″ person.

    Yes, really.

  7. I love giving little kids shoulder rides. The fact that I can get them to laugh and giggle that hard is one of the reasons I tolerate all the baby food stains on my sweaters.

  8. The best was getting hoisted up on someone’s shoulders so you could see over tall people’s heads at a parade or concert. So awesome!

    1. When I was a teenager I went to a Who concert and was way at the back in a stadium. I asked a total stranger if I could go on his shoulders. For reasons I still can’t imagine he said yes, and I watched the Who from up high. That was Awesome!

      1. People like that guy are, in fact, awesome. I love it when you bond with a total stranger in a weird way like that. And you are awesome too for having the guts to ask him.

  9. I love this website! It’s my daily dose of happy! I can’t really remember riding on anyones shoulders, but it got me thinking about awesome childhood moments.My favorite was when my curfew was changed so that I could finally stay up and watch my favorite t.v shows without trying to sneak…Awesome!

  10. Grandpas are the best at giving shoulder rides! And if they happen to be bald, start slappin’ baby, ’cause you got yourself a bonus drum kit!

    P.S. A favourite moment from the Toronto Launch: when Heather Reisman said (and I believe I am quoting directly) “Ya, that guy needs to get a life!” referring to the friend of Neil’s who calculated the end date that the 1000 things would be completed. Uh… that wasn’t YOU, Freddo, was it? [….crickets…..].


    1. Hahaha … re-reading his comment made me laugh (NOT AWESOME) … and also made me realize he has a [big] birthday coming up? (Unless he was referring to April 20th, in which case I guess he just had a birthday).

      Anyway … I sadly missed out on a baldy-drum-set, but I remember riding on my uncle’s shoulders when I was little and he was rocking a pretty hardcore mullet at that time. So it was like I had reigns or something for my sky-high ride.


      1. Really? Ruh-Roh.. Heather wasn’t impressed by my fancy skillz to calculate the exact date that the blog will come to an end? That involved an excel spreadsheet, and no less than 2 or 3 google searches to track down the dates of all the holidays over the next several years.

        And yes – I do have a [big, scary] birthday coming up! Btw: Happy Belated to you, Laura! Hope you had a great one! :)

        1. Yes, I believe those details (spreadsheet, google searches) were mentioned, yet failed to impress. Sorry to tell you. :(

          But it DID give me a chance to “out” you regarding your upcoming [big, scary, momentous] birthday, so it’s all good! heh. Who knew how our early commenting could come back to haunt us!

          Team Broccoflower!

          1. I’ve got to say that between the epic battles between “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob”, I’m glad that I’m standing on the sidelines as a member of Team Broccoflower!

        2. Well, I’m impressed. Then again, I’m a nobody.

          And thanks for the birthday wishes! May babies are the best ;D

          1. Between being a May baby, and appreciating my very detailed calculations, I’ve got to say you are most definitely a somebody.

            Hooray for somebodies! :)

  11. My dad used to do that with me when I was little. Those were great moments which I will remember all my life.

    I also plan to do that with my own child, when I will have one.

    Thank you Neil for bringing back such beautiful memories!

  12. Due to being only little (4 foot 11) I still enjoy this :D – sometimes by choice and sometimes because all the big people in the world seem to think little 20 year olds are the best fun ever to pick up.

    Thank you 1000awesomethings. You are getting me through my final year exams at uni.

  13. Anyone else notice that the coloring on the word “awesome” in Neil’s reference to the awesome movement up above is perfectly matched up with the cover of the book?

    It’s that sort of attention to detail that keeps me coming back to this site. Way to keep the nerds satisfied, Neil!

    1. I thought I was the only one crazy enough to notice that! Awesome.

      And happy early birthday to you. Thanks to your incredible calculations i now know that 1000 things of awesome will end 2 days before my 31st birthday. I’m totally impressed by the nerdiness it took to figure that out. Awesome, indeed.

      1. Thanks Elysa! That’s what I like to hear! :)

        The trick mostly involved some judicious use of the =WEEKDAY function in excel. The trick was if Neil included holidays (which thankfully he did not), because it took a lot of googling to determine the dates of Canadian National Holidays for the next several years.

  14. Neil, I had to laugh when I read, “staring out tiny airplane windows at distant crisscrossed patches of your hometown.”

    Like the baby who is hoisted up to take a first ride on tall shoulders, many people cannot yet imagine what there is to see and feel. When you’re ready to experience another level of joy that will make your “baby brain” zoom out yet again, go take a flight in a light airplane — with windows that are not tiny but HUGE. The speed is slower and the altitude is much lower than any airliner, so your sense of three dimensions is greatly enhanced. Better yet, fly in an open-cockpit airplane. Your sense of wonder will come flooding back, just like when you were a kid. I promise.

  15. I do! I remember those shoulder rides! I also remember a careless uncle who walked into a doorway…. that wasn’t so awesome lol.

  16. I’d be about 13 when I last did this. Our entire school of 1000 kids did a sponsored six mile walk. I started to limp so one of the teachers put me on his shoulders for the last mile. Very cool!

  17. I hadn’t thought about this in years. Reading this makes me think back to a few times when I was really young and got a shoulder ride through the park and then again being tossed in a lake from high up on shoulders. Awesome!

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  20. There is an awesome picture of me when I was 2 or 3, riding on my grandpa’s shoulders while my dad walked beside us holding an umbrella high in the air for me. Yes, he got rained on and little princess me got carried and protected from the rain.

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  22. Love this! It reminded me of the time we went to the zoo and my little brother, who was probably 1 or 2 at the time, rode on my step dad’s shoulders. Somehow, my little brother was eating a cookie and when he got off, my step dad had huge chunks of chocolate in his hair!! We still have pictures of him holding the cookie chunks. It was hilarious

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