#171 Completely guessing the right answer on a multiple choice test

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#172 Laugh lines

Bathtubs are crystal balls.

Soak in them long enough and you’ll get a wrinkly idea of what you’ll look like in years.

Brothers and sisters, since skin creases will wedge into the cracks and corners of all of our bodies over all of our lives we’ve got two big choices on living with them: love ’em or let ’em bother you. And if you choose option two, it’s a world of fancy creams and face-stretching for you.

Nope, I say just get used to them. Love your wrinkles! Squishy baby elbows, silky smooth legs, and pimple-smeared prom faces will all slowly morph into Wrinkle Homes. Forehead wrinkles, cheek wrinkles, saggy arm wrinkles, you’ll have them all. Life will still be a ball but you’ll just be telling the world you lived it.

Now there’s something especially sweet about laugh line wrinkles. You know, I’m talking about the ones creased into your dimples when you smile, the crow’s feet in the corners of your eyes when you laugh, and all the little lines that pop out of your chucking face whenever you hear a good joke.

Laugh lines are a sign that you lived and lived well.

Congratulations on laughing your whole life.

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

 

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#173 When you walk straight through one of those empty winding lineup things

Don’t get me started on airports.

Look, I love flying as much as the next guy but sometimes it feels like we’re grunting cows being poked from pen to pen. Check-in, customs, and security mean lines up the yin yang and through it all we’re papery flurries of passports, boarding passes, and carry-on bags.

That’s why it’s heaven when you’re scrambling through a Known Lineup Zone (or “KLZ” for short) and you come across an empty line in its place:

1. The roller coaster after the rain. Thunderstorms scared your fellow families away from the Looping Vortex of Doom. But when the skies clear it’s time to make your move for first sit on slippery slick seats. If you’re super lucky, you may even get that once-in-a-lifetime solo ride, where it feels like you own the amusement park. Funnel cakes for everyone!

2. Using a pay phone anytime. Anybody else remember pay phone lineups? Anybody else have to get their mom to minivan over to the mall after seeing Ace Ventura for the third time? Anybody?

3. The really popular restaurant at the really unpopular time. Good luck getting into The Cheesecake Factory on Friday night. But Tuesday at 11am? Booth time, baby! Same goes for your office cafeteria before the stir-fry rush or McDonald’s for a sneaky midnight shake.

4. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the movie. Sure, its terrible missing a dream sequence or chase scene, but at least you avoid the sardine tin of heavy bladders after the show.

5. Anything at the airport. Like we said this is the holy grail of KLZ victory. Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing a barren security or customs line, with just a tired old man waiting for you there on a stool, like he suddenly got lost in a world of neon pizza signs and magazine racks and just sat down.

Yes, it’s a beautiful moment skimming through Known Lineup Zones with no lineups around. You can almost pretend the pillars and red velvet ropes were set up just for you so you can smile and wave to your adoring fans as you pull off a dream move like a VIP.

“Can I have your autograph?” they’ll scream, pushing markers and notepads at you with their tiny hands. “Of course,” you laugh back, personalizing every one and taking care to give high fives to all the babies. They’ll scream and applaud and yell questions as you parade through the lineup with ease.

“So what does it feel like?”

“And how would you describe it?”

“Tell us in just one word!”

AWESOME!

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#174 Old people pants

It’s about authenticity.

It’s about being you and being cool with it.

It’s about baggy turquoise capris, striped maroon jumpsuits, and neon track pants.

Yes, when you walk by an old person sporting some colorful and comfortable pants with flair, do us all a favor and give them a head nod of respect, a cracking high ten, or a military salute. Respect their hand-waving dismissal of your skin-tight denim jeans, swishy business suits, and identical black dress for the club. Smile when they yank them over their belly button, grin when they snap the elastic band, and get up and applaud when they strut down the street in comfort and style.

Folks, it’s like I always say.

We can learn so much from The Grandma.

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

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#175 When your footsteps line up perfectly with the black and white floor tiles

Brain, you´re funny.

Who knows what caveman electrons are firing you up on a daily basis? Something must have been programmed in a while back to make it so enjoyable to pop bubble wrap, hear frozen puddles crack, or stab those little buttons on top of the soft drink cup lid. Click clack, neutrons snap, brain cells buzz and smiles attack whenever those feel-good jabs start feel-good jabbing.

When your footsteps line up perfectly with the black and white floor tiles it´s like the stars are aligning for a quick little minute of fun. Perfectly avoiding all sidewalk cracks, squeezing through a door as it´s shutting without touching it, and walking onto escalators without breaking your stride all come close, but not much feels as good as Checkerboard Stepping all the way through that snobby lobby.

Let the front desk staff all stare in awe, drop their jaws, and burst into applause.

You just nailed it, my friend.

Right when it counted most.

AWESOME!

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#176 Getting tiny chores done before the microwave dings

Beat the beep.

Toss that bowl of instant oatmeal, can of Chef Boyardee, or salty plate of last night´s stir-fry into the microwave and get ready for sixty seconds of tornado-twisting action in the kitchen. When the door slams and the plate starts turning, it´s time to start scrubbing the last few dirty dishes, tying up the garbage while running to the garage, or speed-folding the bathroom towels in your time-ticking Hyper Maid State.

Now when that apple cinnamon breakfast bings, bubbling bowl of ketchup ravioli dings, or soya-sauce smeared broccoli spears ring, well you can enjoy it a little more knowing you just maximized your time. Yes, the microwave timer gave you a jolt of energy and as you settle into your couch dent while wiping sweaty bangs off your face you can rest feeling a little more productive and a lot more

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

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#177 Grandma emails

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#178 When you hear someone’s smile over the phone

Living in a big city can be lonely.

Friends scatter and splatter in all directions and people dear to your heart fling themselves across state lines, borders, and deep dark oceans.

And while calling your friends has gotten a lot cheaper, let’s be honest: It’s still hard to line everything up perfectly for a long phone call. There are time zones, there are answering machines, and there’s the general difficulty of jumping into someone’s life for an hour when they’re in the middle of living it.

Despite these issues, once in a while you land one of those special one or two hour phone calls with a close friend far, far away. If you’re lucky, after the first twenty minutes of what’s new at work, with the kids, with the folks, and with people both of us know but one of us knows better, it might fall into that healthy back and forth banter where it seems like no time has passed.

That’s the best part of the phone call.

Joking like you’re back in the dining hall at college before a long Friday night, chatting like you’re sharing a bunk-bed and whispering on Christmas Eve, and laughing like you’re still young and still married.

Sometimes if you listen close enough you can hear those smiles shining through the phone like laser beams. And they tug on your heart as your brain lapses and enjoys some great times with a loving friend.

AWESOME!

Thank you for making The Book of Awesome a bestseller for over 150 weeks!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

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#179 Getting your ID checked when you’re way over the legal age

Hey, sometimes you’re in the mood for a few drinks.

Big bottle of Merlot over a romantic spaghetti dinner, clinking beers floating in an icy cooler beside the tent, Jello shooters before the bars in college, or bubbly flutes of champagne for the big New Year’s bash.

Whatever your pleasures, whatever your poison, that’s cool with us. But before you get down with the booze-filled pour, you need to get out that door, and run down to the liquor store. Word to your sister.

Now, if you’re like me, you go through four distinct phases when you get your ID checked and they go a little something like this:

Stage 1: Underage Rage. Okay, you’re not quite at the legal limit but you’re close enough to push it. Problem is that the pimply dude at the cash ain’t buying your fake ID so you get busted at the scene. So close yet so far. You storm away with your Friday night plans dashed burning with a bit of underage rage.

Stage 2: New Booze Buzz. When you hit the legal limit, it’s time to fight for your right to party. You wheel your shopping cart around the store with pride, picking up a bit of this, a bit of that, and beaming like a schoolgirl when the cashier asks for your ID. “Why, no problem at all!” you say loudly, grinning widely at the tired, bleary-eyed folks behind you in line as you present your wallet like a newborn baby. “Thank you so much for asking!”

Stage 3: Jaded Twentysomething. You’re four or five years over the limit and the novelty has worn off. Now it’s becoming a pain to dig through your wallet to find your driver’s license before scooting home with a six-pack for the game. Can’t the clerk clearly see you’re twenty-six? Do they think you could have grown that goatee five years ago?

Stage 4: The Fountain of Youth. After a while, the gray hairs add up and you start buying white wine for the backyard barbecue instead of lollipop-flavored vodka coolers for the all-night rager. You know your way around the store, you smile warmly at the clerk, and suddenly you get asked for your ID when you least expect it.

Oh baby, when it hasn’t happened in years getting your ID checked can be a full body buzz. You fish out your card excitedly, peeling its faded face and dog-eared corners from your bag, and your eyes twinkle as you take a sip from the fountain of youth.

Sometimes it even happens on your birthday.

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

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#180 Tripping and realizing no one saw you

Babies take a while to walk.

If you’ve seen it happen, you know there is plenty of falling, crawling, and bawling. Hey, there’s a reason most two-year-olds are covered in fat lips, skinned knees, and coffee-table-dented foreheads.

Learning to walk ain’t easy.

Sure, you did it and I did it but we probably couldn’t do it again. Like learning anything tough and life-altering, learning to walk is a messy process that takes time and patience.

First, there is rolling. That cute little baby-powder ball of flabby arms and puffy diapers twists and shimmies on the cold linoleum with a big smile on her face. This marks a major step as baby is learning to move on her own. Don’t laugh because you were once a flabby, wiggling diaper ball too.

Once that’s nailed, it’s time to sit up and start crawling. This turns the house into a carpeted jungle full of discovery and adventure. Curiosity helps little ones discover pantry shelves, cat little trays, and toilets. Some people have an adorable Crab Baby at this stage, also known as a one-year-old who crawls backward or sideways instead of forward. Watch out for pinchy claws grabbing at your hair and glasses.

Next up: teetering! White-knuckled, apricot-sized hands grip staircase railings and kitchen table legs with furrowed brows and steely determination. The side benefit of diapers comes into play here, as handy ass-padding for the vast number of harrowing, thunderous falls. Eventually, with immense focus and concentration, most of them manage to find their center of gravity and balance the baby chub on their two teeny-tiny tootsies.

After this point, it’s just a matter of time. There’s some nervous balancing without the railing and then lopsided running with occasional face-plants in the front hallway. But soon baby nails it, and after that she’s probably flying pretty high.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that practice doesn’t always make perfect. Even though we’ve been mastering the art of standing tall for years and years and years, everyone slips and falls now and then. Just ask your local small-claims court.

So next time your shoe catches on the top step at work, you trip stepping off the airport’s moving sidewalk, or you bail on a patch of ice outside your front door, remember that not too long ago you couldn’t walk at all.

So your wipeout is really no big deal.

As long as nobody saw you.

AWESOME!

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