#299 Finally pulling out an ingrown hair

Pull, pull, twist. Pull, pull, squeeze. Pull, pull, yank. Pull, pull, tweeze.

SPROINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!!!

AWESOME!

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#300 Successfully navigating your home in the dark

Welcome to the dark.

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It’s time to assess your nightwalking skills, young warrior:

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Level 1: Fresh soldier. You’ve got confidence to try getting around in the dark but you’re just no good yet. Maybe you moved into a new place and are stubbing your toes on walls, stepping on your cat, and constantly flipping bathroom fans instead of light switches. You get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and end up in the laundry room or linen closet with your arms straight out. Purple war wounds on your thighs and broken toes from the fridge mean it’s time to keep
practicing.

Level 2: Human Roomba. Your confidence keeps growing and now you’re finger feeling your way down hallways and into kitchen cupboards by the light of the alarm clock, cell phone, or full moon. This is the level where you first attempt stairs with one or two hands firmly on the banister. You may also successfully avoid strange objects in your path here — like ironing boards, rogue ottomans, or a random diaper bag. Don’t forget to hum softly and bounce off the walls.

Level 3: Kitchen Ninja. There’s no moon in the sky and clouds cover all the stars. You’re alone in the zone of blackness… but you don’t care. Nope, you’re breezing down hallways and through doors without using your hands and you’re smacking light switches on walls like you’re William Tell shooting apples off heads. Ninja mastery is complete when you manage to make an entire snack in the dark including the final challenge: spreading peanut butter or Nutella on toast.

Yes, successfully navigating your home in the dark is an important life skill that takes time to master. You start with getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom but over the years you eventually turn into Al Pacino from Scent of a Woman.

The only step after this is evolving to use some sort of sonar like a dolphin or bat.

It could happen.

AWESOME!

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#301 Unpacking the last box

Packed boxes are ghosts.

After you move into your shiny new place those cardboard demons haunt your hallways and basements for months and months and months. You see them hiding behind drain pipes in the storage room, lingering between boots in the closet, and even subbing in for missing furniture. (Seriously, I can’t be the only one with a corrugated bedside table.)

Now see, that’s why it’s so satisfying when you finally unpack the last one. Throw those VHS tapes on a bookshelf, stash the gravy boat in the cupboard, and drop them baby clothes in a donation bin.

You just exorcised your demons of laziness.

AWESOME!

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#302 Grandma hair

Congratulations!

You’re a walking talking Grandma.

Well, if you made it this far then I think life’s treated you pretty gosh-darned well. You got born into a brave new world full of possibilities and you grew up and grew into someone who’s managed to spread their life, ideas, and sensibilities deep and down into future generations so they can keep our planet spinning and spinning into better places.

Lean back on that creaky rocker and smile in the dusty sunbeams by the window as you survey your grand ol’ time getting to be a grand ol’ Gram. You played with dolls, you shopped in malls, you now that you’re finally here it’s not time to chide nature for those cruel fates of wrinkly skin, poor vision, and gray hair, no!

No! No! No! No! No!

No, now’s the time to love it lots because that long life gave you all that you gots.

Grandma hair is any beautifully manicured mane of white hair bundled into buns and bunches right on top of Grandma’s cute and dainty head. It can be hidden under a flower hat, permed out in cottony waves, or hanging like Christmas tree tinsel in long shimmery  strands.

Grandma hair is a sign of seeing things. It’s a sign of wisdom. And it’s a sign that Grandma’s ridden some long roads in life so now she gets to look beautiful at the end of it. When you get old enough to have a beautifully bright white swirl of Grandma hair it sure is time to say thanks.

Thanks for a life full of love, thanks for a life full of laughs, thanks for a life filled all the way up with

AWESOME!

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#303 All the food that comes out of a pig

AWESOME!

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#304 Staring into a fire

Check out the sun.

It’s just a big ball of fire swirling high in the sky.

Plants, heat, life, pretty sunsets — damn girl, that’s some good deals for free.

Yes, we owe a lot to that friendly fireball so it’s no wonder one of the Greatest Things We Ever Did was make fire in its likeness here on Earth. So first up, let’s just stop for a moment today and close our eyes to say “Good job, Cavemen.”

Now these days whether you’re sitting on a wet log around a smoky campfire, cuddling on the couch on Christmas eve, or cooking up dinner on the grill, it sure is easy to get mesmerized by the flames.

Stare into the red hot heat as it crackles and pops before your eyes. Watch as licks and curls unfurl and swirl in a twisted dance of fiery flames. Let the heat wash over you as those beautiful shapes flicker in a neverending show of lights. There is a rhythm and beat to the movement but at the same time it’s just… natural and free.

Staring into a fire warms your eyes… and your heart. Sometimes it comes with tea and hot chocolate, squished slippers, and good conversation. Sometimes it comes with ocean waves and wind whispering through trees under a dimming pink sky. Sometimes it comes at the cottage, sometimes it comes at the park, sometimes it comes in the morning, sometimes it comes when its dark…

But whenever you’re lucky enough to transplant your brain to the center of the flames it’s always an escape from the world… and always an escape into

AWESOME!

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#305 When little kids hit the age where they just start saying hi to everyone

Really outgoing two year olds are the friendliest people on earth.

AWESOME!

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#306 Wearing pyjamas outside of the house

Life’s too short to be uncomfortable.

Look, we already figured it out at nighttime: baggy flannel keeping you cozy in the cold, smooth and silky underthings slipping and sliding in the sheets, and extra-large sweatpants and thin fraying T’s help keep us relaxed when we’re sawing wood and breathing Z’s.

Yet somehow during the day we’re fine stiffening ourselves up: high heels, skin-tight jeans, and tight bras mean we’re often uncomfortably pretty.

That’s why wearing pajamas outside of the house is such a great move. It’s like you’re finally admitting to yourself that being comfy is worth it.

Here are some classic ways to pull it off:

1. Picking someone up from the airport. My friend Evan and I once got a late-night pickup from his wife Sim who peeled into the parking lot wearing thick glasses and a slippery winter coat over full-length PJs. Hey, she figured she wasn’t leaving the car so why change into daytime clothes?

2. College dining hall. Back in college we used to eat on the ground floor of an all-male residence. So it was pretty common seeing pimply nineteen year olds in plaid pajama pants, jagged bedhead, and slippers slurping big bowls of Corn Pops in the corner.

3. Walking the dog. Whether it’s the midnight stroll in the dead of winter or the early morning walk before the sun comes up, it’s always a classy move to roam the hood in pajamas, a tattered robe, and maybe some furry pink earmuffs.

4. Going to the corner store for milk. There’s no dress code at the corner store: strolling in slippers, strutting in sweats, that’s fine, that’s fine, that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure you tuck your pajama pants into those giant salty snow boots for good measure.

Wearing pajamas outside of the house smears nighttime comfort into daytime fun. Sometimes it’s good to escape our fluorescent world of shirt-and-tie expectations to just cozy into the cuddly realm of being comfy and being cool with it.

AWESOME!

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#307 The Sniff Test

Works on underwear, milk, and babies.

If it smells bad it’s bad.

If it smells good it’s

AWESOME!

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#308 Joking with the staff

I eat out a lot.

I’m not proud of it but living alone downtown surrounded by greasy burger joints, neon sandwich signs, and late-night pizza places means I’m often tempted to trade a crinkly fiver for a waxy-wrapped package in a paper bag.

Sometimes I step into the zone of an empty sub shop or barren pizza place and it feels like I’m walking onto a late night talk show stage. Someone’s filling napkin dispensers while another chops tomatoes and they’ll be joking like Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. They’ll be in tears laughing at something funny from a few moments before and I won’t know if someone dropped a jar of olives on their foot, a customer ordered a slice of pizza for their cat, or the boss got beet red because nobody ordered receipt tape for the register.

No, I won’t know what’s going on but if I’m lucky they’ll invite me onstage.

Just a few nights ago I walked into a greasy hole in the wall with my friends Nick and Julie and two guys behind the counter were having some sort of hilarious engaging argument. When we walked in they turned to us quickly and one of them immediately yelled out “Hey … what’s a perm?”

We laughed and Nick jumped in quickly to clarify: “What, you mean like in someone’s hair?”

“Yeah, exactly bro. Like, one of us thinks it’s when you make your hair curly and the other think it’s when you make your hair straight. Which one is it?”

He leaned on the cash register with his fist under his chin and with the furrowed brow and squinty eyes sort of looked like a modern day version of The Thinker, only wearing a paper hat. The other guy was laughing behind him while pulling a dripping basket of wet fries from the bubbling hot oil.

“I dunno, I think it stands for permanent,” Julie started up. “Like, anything you do to permanently change your hair in a new way. So … you’re probably both right. Or both horribly wrong.”

A few seconds later we were having mock-serious debates and laughing out loud in a tiny hilarious connection in our dusty neon world. It was a great moment and it made me realize that joking with the staff is always a great time.

Yes, whether you’re laughing with the ladies at the laundromat, trading barbs with the barbers at the shop, or joking with the jail guards in the joint — well, it just means you nailed your cameo appearance onstage.

Congratulations on a great walk on performance.

Today you win the Best Supporting Actress of

AWESOME!

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