#740 Slurping all those little ice crystals floating in your freezing cold glass of Coke

Believe the hypeThick and muggy, hot and humid, the sweltering summer sun beats down on your lazy day.

Yes, you lay sprawled on your sweaty couch, pleading with your open windows to blow a breeze across the room. Instead, the dusty air hangs heavy and every breath you take feels like sucking wind from a bathroom hand dryer. It’s burning, it’s suffocating, it’s too hot to handle.

But guess what: there is a solution. That’s right, Drippy Drew, just toss a Coke in the freezer, let it chill right up, and enjoy a superfrosty slurp when it comes out.

cool it downThat’s right, if you time it right, then when you yank the can out of the freezer it should immediately get wet with slippery cold condensation. Then it chills your hand and cools you right down, too. And hey, if you’re feeling bold at this point, feel free to treat it like an ice pack and rub it all over your forehead and neck for good measure. And then, when you’re ready, pull back that tab and listen for that sweet sound of cool relief.


As you take that first freezing cold sip be sure to notice the tiny little ice crystals swimming in the sea of cola, melting like frozen pebbles from heaven in your disgustingly humid mouth.

Yes, for those who reach this level of Carbonated Nirvana, there is really only one thing to say: you have truly lived. With your T-shirt sweatglued to your back and and your sticky hair matted to your forehead, those freeze-crystals just swim around your mouth and slap your senses. Suddenly you’re enjoying a sugar high, feeling those fizzy vibes, and enjoying that crystal cool sensation of ice bits melting all over the place inside of your face.



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#741 When a chunk of earwax randomly falls out of your ear

tumbling out of head mountainSure, it’s a little bit extremely disgusting, but the gross out factor pales in comparison to the massive release you feel when a waxy boulder comes tumbling out of a cave on the side of Head Mountain. Remember: there’s nothing to be embarrassed about because this is just The Magic of the Human Body. Yes, like a loyal employee punching out after a hard day on the line, your earwax heads home with its lunchbox in hand after drowning dust and dirt on a double shift in your ear canal. The gig’s not easy and it doesn’t pay well, so when Waxy Brown’s finished his business, you know it’s because he’s done as much as he can.


look out below

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#742 That rubbery metal smell of old hardware stores

A little bit of Old Spice hanging around, tooWalk into an old hardware store and take a big whiff. Come on now, just tip that head, sniff those fumes, and bring back a big brainful of love and memories with these gems:

• Hot, rubbery tires. Chinese chemical plants, hot vials of liquid rubber, and the musty stench of ocean liner storage bays combine to form this mind-altering buzz. And when you cruise on by, don’t forget to grab a free massage by rubbing your hand across all those tiny plastic hairy bits sticking off the tires in all directions. A classic.

Heads up!• Those tightly packed piles of soil. Flopped sideways and drooping in all directions, don’t these bags always look like they’re about to burst at the seams? Well, I guess the problem is that some of them do, leaking their sweet smelling brown-with-white-flecks dirtload all over the floor.

The key-cutting machine. If your hardware store is lucky enough to have a kid working away on a screaming key-cutting machine, then you’re probably sniffing in some hot, oily machine parts and a few metal scraps flying in all directions. Yes, that high-pitched piercing will wake up your baby and those smoky-metal fumes will wake up your childhood memories. Not a bad trade.

tree bodies• Stacks of lumber. Decades of sun, water, and carbon dioxide help build tiny seedlings in the sod into majestic giants of the forest. Now even though they’re diced up into bits, they’re still breathing out those deep woody, sappy-fresh scents.

• Assorted old spills. Somebody kicked a can of paint thinner under Aisle 3 back in 1987 and now its faintly toxic aroma is just hanging limply in the air along with metal nail dust, shiny tools, and plastic snow shovels.

Yes, as you walk those old hardware aisles it’s hard not to soak in the memories. So when you leave the store on the creaking wooden floor, through the dusty, sunbeam rays shining lazily over the dirty black floormat, let that jingle-jangly door clang shut on your great Saturday morning sniff down memory lane.


There you go

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#744 That smooth feeling on your teeth right after you get your braces taken off

bracesPicture a loud, clanging factory with assembly lines zig-zagging all over the place, steam bursting out of pipes, and slick oil spills laying on cold, concrete floors. Then add blaring sirens, honking forklifts, and scraggly guys in cargo shorts and workboots trudging by with brooms now and then.

That chaotic jungle of a factory is sort of like the inside of my mouth. Yeah, it’s sad to admit folks, but I’ve got one messy mouthhole.

See, I’ve got a gap between my two front teeth. I had it filled it with white plastic so it’s invisible, but I still know it’s there. I remember sucking milkshakes and soup in through that Tooth Canal when I grew up and the memories haunt me still. Add to that a handful of black and white fillings dotting my molars like a checkerboard and a dangerous crossbite that wears down my pointy teeth, requiring pleasant maintenance fillings every couple of years. And let’s not forget that my bottom teeth are jumbled and cracked together like a rickety picket fence after a big blustery wind storm.

My bottom teethMost of my friends did the braces thing when they were younger and today they walk around town with confidence, sass, and perfectly straight teeth. After putting up with twisted-tight wires for a few years, they finally got them peeled off and joined the Perfect Pearls club with a punch.

And though I’ve never experienced it first hand, they tell me that slimy-smooth, new mouth feeling they got when the clamps came off can only be described with one big, all-caps word.

I’m just going to have to trust them on this one.


no more bracesPhotos from: here, here, and here

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#746 Getting that last tiny, rock-hard crumb out your eye after you wake up

just woke upI’m a mess in the morning.

Drool drips down my cheeks, my mouth hangs open like a mailbox, and my eyeballs roll around their sockets in slow motion. Hair scraped sideways, underwear bunched up and twisted, I dry-swallow and slowly stumble out of bed while trying to form my first thoughts of the day.

Inside my brain a tiny man is feverishly working a broom to sweep away all the dusty shards of dream residue so my conscious self can assume the controls. When he does, some rusty gears are crunched and I groggily shuffle to the bathroom where my own droopy, mashed up face greets me like a monster in the mirror.

It is a hideous sight.

mouth hangs open like a mailboxYes, I immediately notice there was a party in Dreamworld last night and those subconscious animals left my place a real mess. Strange puddles pool on counters, squeezed-up lemon wedges fill the sink, and cigarette butts litter the balcony. Folks, I’m junked right out, my lips chapped with the corners cracked, my skin dry and flaking, and my mouth loaded with a big set of furry yellow teeth.

Plus, to top it all off my eyes are nearly glued shut.

A picture of me from this morningThat’s right — goop clogs the corners and fills the tear ducts with their sharp n’ drippy dregs. And let’s be honest here: those eye boogies will catch us if we’re not careful, showing up unannounced at job interviews, big meetings, and first dates.

We can’t have that.

No, there’s really only one choice and that’s to get digging, people. Cast your finger in the starring role of shovel, rake, and wheelbarrow and jam it right in there. Hard bits, sharp bits, gummy little squishy bits, just yank them all, with each tiny crumb giving you a little pick-me-up when you lift it up and pull it out.

Now that you can see again it’s time to clean up the rest of the joint. Yes, with your eyes back in the game nothing can stop you now. So cue the shave, cut to the shower scene, and get ready to enjoy your big, beautiful day.


Get it out and go

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#747 Short acceptance speeches at awards shows

Tight and tinyCongrats, everybody!

Our peppy little community of eyes-to-the-skies optimists accepted the Best Culture/Personal Blog award at the Webbies one Monday in New York City. We chatted before about how getting recognized for doing something you love is awesome and we’re so grateful to all of you for your support and electronical votering.

Now, the Webby Awards have a tradition of enforcing a strict five-word max speech policy for all winners. That’s right, brother: keep ’em short and get off the stage. No need for the band to awkwardly jam in when you take a breath between paragraphs, no long rambly speeches thanking agents and academies, none of that. It’s just wham, bam, thank you Gram, come up, get down, and keep the party shaking.

So Jimmy Fallon took home the award for Webby Person of the Year with the line “Thank God Conan got promoted”, the Boston Globe snagged Best Photography with “It’s not journalism that’s dying,” and Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone accepted Webby Breakout of the Year with “Creativity is a renewable resource.” If you’re interested, you can check out past speeches over at the Webby site.

As for us, we took a reader suggestion and went with a four-word shortie.

Short acceptance speeches.


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#748 Going really high on the swings

Because now you’re finally tall and can look down at the world below you. Gone are those constant views of ankles, coffee table legs, and your family cat’s hollow, piercing eyes. Now you’re zooming up and over gardens, sandlots, and your baby brother’s distant, fading cries.

Stomach gushing, adrenaline rushing, it’s your first taste of the high life.


Close your eyes and feel the windPhoto from: here

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#749 The satisfaction of finally settling the group bill after dinner

The root cause of the problemGut busting with chicken chow mein, nursing a fried rice hangover, your frenzied hour of pillaging the steam trays quickly dissolves into a table full of sticky-smeared plates, bloated bellies, and quiet groaning.

Folks, if you’re like me this scene is called The End of The Buffet, a dimly-lit freeze-frame featuring you and your friends lazily sliding in chairs with slack jaws and heavy eyelids.

And it gets worse, too.

The chipper waitress drops off the bill and everybody just eyes each other suspiciously. Who owes who money? Who ordered drinks and who didn’t? Is anyone riding a fat paycheck high and feeling generous? Since I am an extremely cheap person, I generally choose this exact moment to skedaddle to the bathroom in the hopes that everyone else will overpay and allow me to just drop a fiver on the stack before heading out.

Of course, it never works out that way.

You know what you need to do, Math GuyInstead, I return to an untouched bill and generally get pegged as Math Guy, also known as The Job Nobody Wants After Dinner. See, my friends start chatting about what movie to see and I’m suddenly stuck with my head down, brows furrowed, figuring out tips, collecting cash, and trying to follow the paper trails of who paid what.

If you’re hanging out with me and my friends then Math Guy is a doubly terrible job because we’re always forty bucks short. People shrug, eye contact is avoided, and there are some phantom wallet reaches, until we figure out that two people didn’t add tax and tip and one guy still needs to get cash from the bank machine.

Holla if you’ve been there.

Math Guys and Math Girls of the world, we feel each other’s pain. It’s tough asking people to put more money in and sometimes we just reach into our own wallets to get the job done. Twenties are broken, coins are counted, and there is constant checking and rechecking that it all adds up right.

Yes, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, then you know that moment of quiet satisfaction when you finally close that sticky, vinyl, duck-sauce smeared billfold over a stack of crumpled bills and sliding coins.

Because at that exact moment the shackles of Math Guy are finally busted.

And you’re free.


Now go see a movie

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