#490 Driving around with all the car windows down on warm summer nights

Kids cruise on wobbly bikes, toddlers race on tipsy trikes, and you drift deep into the hot summer night. Swerve and curve on windy roads as darkness slowly falls and stars pop out to reveal a twinkly twilight glow. As you hit the gas and drop your windows the warm beating rush of summer air makes you smile and makes everything else in the world just fade away… fade away… fade away… fade away… fade away…

AWESOME!

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#491 The Party Save aka The Party Rescue

The Party Save happens anytime a friend yanks you from a bad party conversation by pulling off a thrilling and daring rescue mission.

Here’s how it all goes down:

Step 1:  The Plan. Say tonight you’re heading to a housewarming, office Christmas party, or New Year’s bash. As you and your date walk into Stranger Conversation Territory it’s important to make that deal up front. You save them, they save you. Don’t forget to shake.

Step 2: The Signal. You’re trapped! When you find yourself listening to neverending vacation stories, getting detailed stock-picking advice, or hearing about someone’s thesis, it’s time to get out. Signal your friend with an eager Smile N’ Raised Eyebrows glance, casual Nodding Head-Tilt beckon, or if absolutely necessary, a booming blood-curdling “Get over here!” scream, like Scorpion in Mortal Kombat.

Step 3: The Save. Here’s the tricky part. Your friend comes over and has two options. First, they can play False Emergency and drag you away while apologizing to the chatty strangers. This is risky because it could look forced and you’ll need to disappear rather than just talking to someone else. Instead, they can try The Natural, which is where they drop a nice, normal transition into the conversation. “Should we go grab some food?”, “Linda just got here, let’s say hi”, or “Where’s the bathroom?” usually work well.

Remember: when you’re stuck, when you’re stranded, when all you see is gloom, just yell for your brothers and sisters and let them pull you across the room.

AWESOME!

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#492 The first text message between brand new friends

“Alright, have a great weekend, see you Monday.”

“Yup, you too… hey wait, what are you up to tonight, anyway?”

“Oh, not much, really. Maybe heading into the city with friends.”

“Cool, we’ll be down there too. Thinking dinner, maybe drinks.”

“Oh yeah? Here, add my number to your phone.”

“Perfect, I’ll text you later then… see where you’re at.”

AWESOME!

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#493 When that giant zit growing on your forehead suddenly just disappears

Acne is not our friend.

Blackheads multiply, whiteheads spread, and pimples pop up before prom, people. Yes, our silky smooth skin gets junked up with oily messes as we’re straightening ties and squeezing into prom dresses. Baby, whether you’re rocking Forehead Volcanos, The Rudolph Nose, or a full on Pizza Face, we’ve all been there and we know it ain’t pretty and we know it ain’t fun.

But that’s what makes it great when those bumpy omens of zits to come sometimes just disappear overnight.

Oh sure, you scoped that new baby zit in the mirror last night and you tucked it nice and tight into bed. Yes, you thought you’d wake up with it burning nice and bright smack dab in the middle of your forehead.

But instead … it’s just gone, gone, gone away.

Never to be heard from again.

AWESOME!

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#494 Chopping your sandwich into triangles

Welcome back to Childhood.

Gooey grilled cheese drips and oozes onto heavy ceramic dishes lying on wobbly kitchen tables. Dusty sunlight beams down on the dog as you sit with your brother on Saturday afternoon beside the whirring fridge with rainbow letter magnets in front of the pea green stove.

Sandwich triangles give us more first bites and let us chomp right into the taste nucleus of our lunch.

Welcome to Flavor Country, everybody.

We’re home.

AWESOME!

 

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#495 When it all suddenly just clicks

I was bad at Kindergarten.

Yes, growing up a small, frightened, sheltered kid meant my daily drip to Grade 0 was the same as blasting me to the moon for six hours a day. I was helpless and alone, down on my own, in a cold and distant unknown.

Honestly, I was so shy I didn’t talk to anyone, anytime, ever. I would stare at my shoes while coloring, face the wall at nap time, and hide under evergreens at recess. Yes, I was the Kindergarten Ghost, a skinny, snot-nosed phantom who haunted the classroom by sitting in the corner all day playing with his zipper. Really, the only time I was less than ten feet from the other kids was when we sat in a circle around a trash can centerpiece every day at lunchtime.

My mom packed me a loaded paper bag for just the occasion each day.

Yes, I’d pull out a bologna sandwich and still have a juice box, granola bar, and cheese string left over. Since I was about three feet tall and clocked in around forty pounds, I usually just ate half the sandwich and quietly threw everything else into the centerpiece.

Now, my massively wasteful ways continued until one day in mid-October when my teacher Mrs. Armstrong mindlessly peeked into the trash can while walking by.

“Wait a minute,” she called out, reaching in to pick up my perfectly wrapped up food. “Who threw this out?”

I suppose my wide eyes, swinging legs, and chin-to-chest pose gave me away because she walked right over to me.

“Neil, did you throw this out?”

I nodded without looking up thinking I was about to get smacked, sent to the principal’s office, or expelled completely for my cheese-tossing ways. But she lowered herself to my level and said “Neil, do you see Matthew over there?”

I looked up at a dirty-faced kid picking his nose with a pencil on the other side of the circle.

“Well, Matthew doesn’t have enough food for his lunch. He’s still hungry. Would it be okay to give Matthew the granola bar you don’t want?”

I nodded again and this time Mrs. Armstrong beamed and spoke loudly for everyone.

“Neil, this is called sharing. Giving things to other people is sharing with them. Thank you for sharing your lunch with Matthew.”

She passed the granola and cheese to Matthew who gobbled it down quickly while I sat tall in the golden praise from my teacher. I felt great and could hear my inner headgears spinning in all directions. Sparks flew inside my five year old brain as I slowly made a bit more sense of the weird and wild world around us …

Yes, when it suddenly just clicks it suddenly feels

AWESOME!

 

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#496 Seeing terrible weather on TV somewhere else

Now, we certainly don’t wish trouble on our neighbors around the world.

It’s just that when we see rain filling up roads, snowdrifts burying mailboxes, and giant hailstones peppering people’s Preludes, there’s just one big thought that flashes through our brains and makes us feel lucky.

“I’m sure glad I’m not there.”

AWESOME!

 

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#497 That moment right after the show ends and just before the applause begins

Fat ladies hit the high note, trumpets blast in the pit band, and stage hands yank the curtains closed in that big booming finish at the end of the show. Yes, the guitarist slashes the final chord as that closing climax spirals up and up and up before just so suddenly … stopping. Then there’s a split-second of perfect silence as energy rip-rushes down the crowd and everyone stands up to let out a giant applause.

AWESOME!

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#499 When you realize you didn’t get a parking ticket but should have

Well, well, well.

Look at you living life in the fire lane.

Yes, you came, you parked, you went over time, and you know it.

Now you’re scrambling out of the laundromat with a teetery stack of folded towels, racing out of the barber shop with a a freshly shorn neck, or running out of the arcades with severe Pac Man wrist and pizza grease on your face.

As you race up the street you can’t help braincloud the worst case scenario waiting for you: ticket blowing under wipers, heavy fine hitting your pocket, and a frumpy meter maid pursing her lips and wagging her finger at you while shaking her head.

When you get to the car you see the telltale signs: zeros flashing on the meter, tow trucks prowling the alleys, and those maids swimming upstreet like uniformed sharks with pens, pads, and perms. But as you examine your windshield you notice one big thing missing: the parking ticket itself.

Brother, there is no time for questions. Just double scan that windshield, crank your car into drive, and hit the gas to zoom fast and zoom furious straight outta town.

You made it.

AWESOME!

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