#81 Being the oldest grade in school

Bow down, dirty rascals.

When you’re king of castle the entire school kneels before you:

1. Romeo has left the building. Those annoying older kids who got all the lead roles in school plays and starter spots on sports teams have graduated and gone far, far away. So wherefore art thou now? In the spotlight, baby. So shuffle over and claim your rightful chair as first clarinet of the mighty woodwinds.

2. All Godzilla Mode, All The Time. I work an office job where I’m about average height. Some are taller, some are shorter, but for the most part we’re all the same. But back in eighth grade I could storm school hallways and send three-foot first graders flying in all directions. It was like being in Giant World in Super Mario 3 for those kids. Of course, there is one major problem with Godzilla Mode — getting on your knees to use the short water fountain.

3. Backstage Passes And Secret Hideouts. Top grade means you’ve likely earned a lot of teacher trust and scored big brownie points over the years. Backstage passes could come in the form of special access to the A/V closet, responsibility for the gym equipment room, or perhaps the holy grail — a key to the school. Who’s up for Midnight Dodgeball?

Yes, when you’re the oldest grade in school you sure are loving it lots. Scoring prime cafeteria seats, getting first dibs on lockers, and doing it all without bullies from the big grades is a big deal. So savor every single second of your year long You Dynasty and rule the school with a big steely fist full of


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#83 Flushing a toilet with blue water in it

We used to pee in ponds.

Believe it — back before the third millennium BC there was no such thing as toilets. It was sometime around then we all agreed that pooping in the corner was to be frowned upon and so began the dawn of “The Age of Cleanliness.”

One place toilets first popped up was Mohenjo-daro, a site in Pakistan that was home to one of the most advanced societies on Earth back around 2600 BC. They had brick roads laid out in grids, swimming pools, vented rooms, and even a giant condo where 5000 people crashed. On top of that, they built toilets into the sides of their homes — with wooden seats and flush chutes that drained out into a street sewer system.

We never looked back from there and today many of us are lucky enough to have toilets close by. For disgusting pit-scratching, fart-popping animals like us, having easy access to a loo is a beautiful thing. Sure, sure, keep them in a special room — with a lock, fan, and pink cableknit toilet paper cozy — but keep them close, my friends, because nature calls us all a few times a day.

Nowadays let’s give thanks we’re not peeing in ponds too often.

But once in a while let’s enjoy pretending we still are.


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#84 Ripping your present open like a wild animal

First, some apologies.

We’re sorry, Endurance Wrapper. You spent thirty minutes getting the present just right with your scissor-frilled ribbons, crisply folded corners, and those adorable little bows. You put time in and we didn’t respect that with your raccoon-with-rabies slaughtering of your gift.

We’re sorry, Auntie Paper Collector. We know you quietly keep all the discarded bows and paper to fold back into little piles for next year. Nobody minds the creased sun-faded reindeer wrapping paper because we know you’re saving money and the planet. But this time we didn’t leave you with much. Unless you’re collecting saliva-smeared scraps, squashed boxes, and torn bows.

We’re sorry, Garbage Collecting Dad. We see you trudging around the living room with the World’s Lightest Garbage Bag, scooping up all the tiny bits of tissue paper and sticky ripped price tags. We know your job would be a lot easier if all presents moved to a Gift Bag Only Policy.

We are very, very sorry to you all.

And now that we’ve apologized our conscience is clear.

Because the truth is we love ripping presents open like a drugged-up reindeer.


Thank you for making The Book of Awesome #1 on the bestseller list for the 20th straight month!

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#85 Driving around town to see all the Christmas lights

Every city has a street.

It’s the quiet cul-de-sac where all the neighbors play it big for Christmas and decorate their homes with the great light show the world has ever seen. Word gets out through the local paper or radio station and soon everyone knows it’s just the place to go for a late night cruise down Neon Light Lane.

It’s the one place everyone enjoys traffic jams.

Sitting bumper to bumper around the quiet crescent, you push your hat above your forehead, press your mittens to the window, and stare out at the twinkling scene. Reds and greens flicker and flash on your darkened face as snow reflects classy floodlights, roofs beam with strings of white, and inflatable Santas bob and wave from the middle of lawns.

And there’s always one house that is just a bit better than the rest. It’s probably the family that got the parade route started with the big splash every year. I like thinking the neighbors leaned on their shovels with furrowed brows when they first saw lights spelling Merry Christmas being draped across the roof, but over time their Grinchlike hearts melted and they felt the Christmas spirit themselves.

Somehow over time the street grew and grew and grew until it became the sparkly beauty we see today. There’s something fun and something sweet about bundling up and just driving down the street. Hear the carols softly on the radio, feel the smiles in the car, and just take a moment to relax and remember how lucky we are.


“For anyone who relates more to Clark Griswold than Buddy the Elf, Christmastime can be a minefield — a season of pinched nerves and picked-over family wounds instead of plain old peace and goodwill toward men. If your home is starting to feel comparable to chaos theory, then perhaps it’s time to pick up Neil Pasricha’s The Book of (Holiday) Awesome to deliver some solace amongst the stress.” – The National Post

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#86 Flipping channels and stumbling on that one Christmas special you loved as a kid

It’s a wonderful life.

When you’re bunkering in the basement to get away from the holiday madness upstairs, it’s always nice when the channel flipping pops you onto your favorite old flashback.

Which classic gem burrows into your heart?

That Rudolph stop-motion special. Sam the Snowman (no relation to Frosty) narrates this epic tale of outcasts Rudolph and Hermey the Elf as they stumble through the North Pole meeting Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman before taking refuge on the Island of Misfit Toys. Never forget the moral of the story: Follow your heart and become a dentist.

A Charlie Brown Christmas. Like most Charlie Brown cartoons, this one features monotone voices, confusing plots, and dry humor. Thankfully, jazzy piano music and dancing kids makes it all come together.

• Any non-Christmas movie that takes place during Christmas. Sure, Bruce Willis crawling around office ducts in Die Hard might not seem festive, but listen closely to the background music and you’ll hear some Christmas tunes. Let’s throw Lethal Weapon, Gremlins, and Batman Returns, too.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas. All the Whos living in Whoville have a serious problem in that there’s a freakish monster living in the cliffs above their romantic mountain town — dramatically reducing property values by the day. If you don’t love the big rhyming sing-a-long finish to this one, your heart is officially three sizes too small.

Frosty the Snowman. Poor Frosty just doesn’t have the personality of Sam from the Rudolph special. And since they always air this one with Rudolph, the inferiority of Frosty jumps out even more. Honestly, if Frosty is your favorite old Christmas special, then I feel sorry for you. You had a rough childhood.

• Whatever special is on the same time as Frosty on the other channel. A Garfield Christmas, John Denver and the Muppets, or Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas automatically win.

Finding your favorite holiday special from when you were a kid is like uncovering a hidden stash of buried treasure at the bottom of the sea. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it a hundred times, have it on your computer, or own the DVD, either. There’s just something sweet about feeling like it was waiting there as this very moment … and feeling like the stars all aligned to give you a brief little dose of


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#88 Stovetop hypnosis

Be one with the stir fry.

Last night I worked late in cubicle jungle and drove down dark highways to arrive at my cold and lonely apartment after 8pm. After flicking on a couple lamps, turning on the stereo, and staring in the fridge, I decided to suddenly get ambitious and fry up a soupy soy-sauce surprise full of delicious and nutritious Random Crap From My Fridge.

Half a rubbery red pepper, two spoons of peanut butter, and an entire head of broccoli later, I’m suddenly zoning out of my head and into the sticky frying pan. Paper cuts and printer jams suddenly fade into a steamy garlic daze of stovetop hypnosis.

Dim lights, sizzling onions, and salty scents slip your head into a secret cooking zone where your body just slows, slows, slowws, slowwws, sloowwwws, slooowwwwws, sloooowwwwwwws, sloooooooowwwwwwwwws …..


Thank you for making The Book of (Holiday) Awesome an instant bestseller!

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#89 Rogue children

You’re out for dinner.

You’re having a chat in your booth when a rogue child suddenly appears at your table. Everybody stops to look at the Junior Runaway, living the romantic nomadic life between sticky tables and wobbly chairs at the chain restaurant. There are smiles, a couple friendly hellos, and then a parent appears to claim the child.

Rogue children appear anywhere parents are busy and kids are bored. Furniture showrooms, bank lineups, dentist offices, all fine places to spot endangered rogue children in their natural setting. Keep your eyes peeled for these three-foot creatures, who will likely be shy and curious, and pose no threat unless threatened, in which case they will bite.

Let’s let rogue children remind us that the world is a pretty simple place.

We’re all little kids wandering around looking for interesting things.


Get someone The Book of Awesome for Christmas!

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