#918 When you’re really tired and about to fall asleep on the couch and someone throws a blanket on you

Hey, you know what’s even better than taking a nap on the couch? Well, I’ll tell you: that feeling you get just before you fall asleep on the couch.

Yes, that’s when you enter that blissful, semi-conscious Pre-Nap World where your thoughts float and zoom around your brain and your muscles relax and detensify. The sun feels warm on your face, the radio on in the background fades to a comforting white noise, and you know… you just know… that you’re about to fall asleep.

It feels great.

There are really only two things that can disturb you when you’re in the Pre-Nap World:

  1. Feeling like you have to go to the bathroom. Sorry, but unless you trust your bladder to balloon without bursting, you might just have to get up for this one. Nobody can really help you go to the bathroom while you’re laying on the couch, unless they really, really love you.
  2. Feeling cold. You get those ol’ laying-on-the-couch shivers. You know your sheets and blankets are back on your bed, and you could just get up to get them, but you don’t really want to move because then you’ll leave the blissful Pre-Nap World. And it’s a nice world. That’s a world you don’t leave lightly.

So that’s why it’s great whenever someone notices your dilemma and just quietly grabs a blanket from the closet and tosses it on your semi-conscious self. If they’re really nice, they even flap the blanket above you and let it open up and softly land on you.

When that happens you immediately feel the warmth radiating around you, a tiny smile curls itself on the corners of your lips, and you fall deeper and deeper into a nice, relaxing rest.

AWESOME!

 

Photo from: here

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#919 Hitting a string of green lights in a row

I used to drive home from my friend Mike’s basement apartment on this lonely, two-lane road. It was always late at night and I’d roll down the windows so that the cold, country-time air could help keep me awake. The air smelled like a cologne Beetlejuice might wear — a tangy combination of fresh manure, foggy dew, and squashed skunk.

Yes, I’d say it was a nice, quiet way to end an evening, a relaxing and peaceful drive home on those late nights.

But then they came.

The big-box stores gobbled up that cheap farmer land and dropped in a concrete paradise full of parking lots, neon signs, and a neverending series of traffic lights that completely clogged up the roads. The cold, farm air was replaced by a new smell — a thick, heady mix of car exhaust and Taco Bell fumes.

And, you know, I understand.

Every massive parking lot really does need its own traffic light. I mean, without them, you’d be stuck trying to make a left turn out of Home Depot for half an hour. You buy those two by fours, you want to go build that deck, am I right? No really, I get it. I’ve been there too, and I get the lights.

But let’s be honest: the resulting gauntlet is no good, either.

On that old drive home from Mike’s basement apartment they built up more than ten traffic lights in a row, each only about a couple hundred feet apart. There was traffic light after traffic light after traffic light, a sort of slow, hellish march through the jungle of progress.

And the lights never lined up either. You’d hit two greens, then two reds. You’d race through a couple of last-second yellows and then get your comeuppance with five reds in a row. Yes, it was a frustratingly, fuel-wastingly, stop-and-go-to-slow ordeal.

Now, one night I was driving home from Mike’s place a little later than usual. We started a movie when we should’ve called it a night, and I was trucking home at three in the morning on a Tuesday. I approached The Gauntlet groggily and hit the first few green lights in a row, no problem. Nothing special, I figured, probably just a tease. After all, The Gauntlet had never lost.

But then, before I knew it, I had made a couple more.

Then a couple more.

Then a couple more.

Suddenly I was two lights away from the finish line and I couldn’t believe my luck. Looking ahead I could see that both lights were green, tempting me, showing me what might be possible.

So I gunned it.

I blew through the second-last green and saw that last one turn to yellow. There was no way I was going to get that close without making it through, so I just jammed the gas and just barely squeezed by as the light turned red.

Yes, it was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I was buzzing huge that night and smiling ear to ear. And really, just tell me the truth — if you’ve ever blown through a string of green lights in a row, how does it make you feel?

I’ve got just one guess.

AWESOME!

 

Photo from: here

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#920 Getting that painful eyelash out of your eye

Home freeEyeballs do not want to be touched.

I mean, have you ever put fingers, algae-filled lake water, or shampoo in there? Yeah, that gets your eyes screaming in pain pretty quick, doesn’t it? Unless you’re using Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears shampoo of course, in which case feel free to lather your eyeballs right on up, no worries.

But seriously, your eyes have their own plumbing system so they’re pretty self-sufficient. Technically they’re called tear ducts but they may as well be called Eye Toilets because they just flush your eye out. Nope, no need for any assistance folks, because your Eye Toilets have it all under control. Dust, dirt, tiny little microscopic bugs — flush, flush, flush away.

Yes, your Eye Toilets are really quite good at their job …

… unless, of course, a rogue eyelash gets in there! Yes, when a rebel lash quietly unhinges itself from the confines of your eyelid and attempts a poorly planned escape to freedom it’s not good. If you’re like me and are cursed with poorly-attached eyelashes, then your lashes just give up and die all the time, flipping down into your eyeball and annoyingly scratching and clawing you right in the cornea. The Eye Toilets start madly flushing, but to no avail — that lash is just sticking in there tight and it ain’t budging.

Now, I don’t care how many barfights you’ve been in or how many times you’ve been shot, you know as well as I do that when there’s an eyelash in your eye it’s incredibly painful, it’s incredibly annoying, and it requires a ton of focus to get through. You might even have to try one of these eyelash-removing methods:

  • The Pinch and Squeeze Method. This is where you close your eye real tight, and then pinch ‘n’ squeeze all your eyelashes outwards, hoping to grab onto a tiny piece of the rogue lash and pull it out, too. I recommend doing this one first to see what happens. You miss here, you still got plenty of options.
  • The Get Someone Else To Blow Into Your Eye Method. If you’re the blowing friend, you can either do a Surprise Blow to prevent the blowee from defensively closing their eye just before you do the deed, or you can do the real surgical technique, where you get them to lie down, hold their eye open, and line up your blow exactly at the eyelash. That last one takes trust and a very dry, stiff blow. Think mighty birthday candle blowout not warming up your hands at the bus stop in winter.
  • The Hard Winker Method. A solo sport, this is where you just keep winking your eye really, really hard and hope the lash will eventually ‘pop out.’ Not a bad technique, though sometimes the act of hard winking just forces that eyelash in there deeper. Bit of a double-edged sword.
  • The Eyelid Flapper. My friend Scott taught me this method when we were little kids. You just pinch the skin of your eyelid with your fingers and keep popping it in and out real fast until the lash gives up and lets go. This method is a little bit gross to look at and comes complete with a marvellously wet and disgusting suction sound.
  • The Wash. If nothing else works, I guess you can always just splash some water in there. Or, if possible, use one of those dusty eyewash stations hanging out in the back of the woodshop. I’ve always wanted to see someone use one of those things. They look like they’re from a 1950s version of the future.

Anyway, whatever your strategy, one thing is certain: You aren’t doing anything until that eyelash comes out. You might get the job done in five seconds, you might work at it for ten painful minutes, but whatever the case, whatever your style, it sure does feel good when that eyelash finally does get out of your eye. Suddenly the sun rises again, the weight is lifted, and your life can get back on the road and just keep on trucking.

AWESOME!

If all else fails, use the machine

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#921 Snow days

Sledding into a world of awesome

Have you ever gone to school on a snow day? Tell me that’s not the worst.

Everyone else is outside having snowball fights and going sledding, and you’re stuck inside playing Battleship with the teacher because your parents couldn’t find a babysitter. The probability of you learning anything is zero and the school just transforms into a maze of barren, lonely hallways. It’s kind of got a horror movie feel to it too, especially if you walk by a room full of kindergarteners and they all look up at you at the same time and slowly smile.

No, when it snows, you have to figure out a way to stay home and just have the time of your life. So let’s break it down a bit. Let’s talk about the three main types of snow days:

  1. The Pre-planned Snow Day. Your town got hit by an ice storm and four-feet of heavy, packing snow. It’s going to take a couple of days to dig out, so somebody makes the call to cancel school in advance. This is definitely a good snow day, but it really zaps out all the anticipation. Worst of the three types.

2. The It’s Gonna Happen, I Can Just Feel It Snow Day. This is where the snow is hitting hard and heavy the night before. There are reports of black ice and cars in the ditch. People hunker down by the window with some hot cocoa and turn the radio on for weather updates. This is what’s known as a high-probability snow day. You’re almost positive it’s going to happen so you go to sleep excited about getting up the next morning. And really, the night before is almost as fun as the snow day itself, because you’re already planning the day in your head, putting off your homework, and calling your friends. Of course, once in a while the sun is mysteriously shining the next morning and the roads are clear, but this is very rare.

Nothing like a snow day to help those primal warrior-like defense mechanisms kick in for some fort-building

  1. The Surprise Snow Day. Now this is it: The Mighty King Of The Snow Days. This is where nobody suspects a thing the night before. Just have some dinner, do some homework, brush some teeth. Yup, just a typical night around here. But then suddenly the next morning there’s a knock on the door and it’s your mom or dad telling you that … guess what, it’s a snow day! Now that’s a buzzy kid high right there. Homework already out of the way, no risk of missing anything important at school, just an all-out, lay back and relax full-on chill session with your friends. And the day really can’t disappoint, because there were no expectations to begin with! You wanna sit in the basement and play Contra all afternoon? No problem. Build a snowman and shovel the driveways for cash? Sign me up. Construct elaborate forts in preparation for a massive snowball fight? I’m in. Just be a kid and love it lots.

And so, as its starts to get a bit chilly, let’s all cross our fingers and hope for a good snow day season. Let’s hope this isn’t one of those winters where we put up a goose egg on the snow day category. No, I say let’s break the record. Let’s go for four or five of the suckers. Hey, maybe six even. Let’s get El Nino in on it. Because ladies and gentlemen, say it with me, if there’s one thing we all know, it’s gotta be that a snow day … is a good day.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#922 Getting a truck driver to blow their horn

Truckers have the best horns.

Those things mean business. They’re loud and thundering and slap you in the face. None of this itty bitty bee-beep business that sounds less like a hatchback telling you the light turned green and more like a seagull telling other seagulls hey, there’s a guy throwing away crusts over here.

‘Cause sometimes when you’re driving down the highway the hours just keep going and going and going. The mix tape gets old, the conversation dies down, and it’s just a blur of interstate walls and rest station signs out the window. For kids, it must seem like days back there, just strapped right in, fighting with siblings, or just sitting in absolute numbing silence.

That’s why getting a trucker to blow his horn is great. It’s a fun, little interactive break from the highway monotony and a great laugh. Plus, it’s a time-passer, because you have to get the driver to sort of ease up beside the truck first, which isn’t always easy. So yeah, it’s a nice secret moment on wheels, a honkin’ highway holla, just some good old fashioned bonding in the fast lane.

So let’s give thanks to truckers today. For not taking life too seriously, for indulging our simple pleasures, and for rocking that air horn in a way we like to call

AWESOME!

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#923 Doing anything that makes you sort of feel like a caveman

There’s something about getting in touch with your inner neanderthal that strokes your brain stem just the right way. Accomplishing something caveman-style feels good — a combination of clenched teeth, throbbing veins, and good old fashioned feistiness that we don’t always get to experience in today’s sophisticated society.

Now, although there are a lot of things that can deliver a good cavehigh, here are some of the better ones:

Building a fire. Yes, there’s some serious satisfaction to be had from collecting a pile of twigs and logs and sending them up in smoke. You’re in the forest on your hands and knees, coaxing life-giving heat and energy out of dry, dead wood. For the full effect, leave the lighter fluid and old, crumpled copies of Newsweek at home.

Eating a meal that is just meat. Have you ever been that person at the buffet who loads their whole plate up with just meat? You know, slab of bloody steak, couple of pork chops, maybe some ribs on the side? Sure, you see that potato salad, you see those steamed baby carrots, but you just can’t justify eating anything other than meat. And you know, that’s okay. Your inner caveman thanks you. BONUS: Filling your plate with meats that are entirely on the bone, so you can just eat with your hands and messily spray fatty meatbits everywhere. SUPER BONUS: Eating those big honkin’ turkey drumsticks that look like pterodactyl wings.

Ignoring body hair for a really long time. Your chin fuzz grows out and connects with your unkempt mutton chops, your hair gets long and scraggly, and you suddenly start getting Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Back. Basically, when you start looking like Johnny Damon when he was on the Red Sox, you’re living the cave man look … and you’re loving it.

Throwing a temper tantrum much more aggressively than normal. If you’re the kind of classy gal who usually politely bee-beeps the horn when someone cuts you off, but then one time you hold it down for ten seconds, flip the bird, and scream out your window, then that’s the one. That’s your Beautiful Caveman Moment.

So I say love it. Love those caveman days, because they’re a throwback to the simple life — when instead of eating processed cheese and watching reality TV we were clubbing saber-toothed tigers and painting caves, baby.

AWESOME!

37_cavemanPhotos from: here, here, here, and here

Illustration from here

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#924 The fact that glass exists

Grab a handful of sand, heat it up to a few thousand degrees and suddenly, presto change-o, whaddaya got? That’s right, friend: a handful of glass and one severely burned paw.

Now, how incredible is the fact that glass is made from sand? I mean, think about it: there aren’t many things you can’t see through that turn into things you can see though. It just doesn’t happen. Water isn’t made from mud, radio waves aren’t evaporated rainbows, and Crystal Pepsi isn’t just a pot of regular Pepsi stirred really fast.

Right now there's no tomorrow

I mean, can you imagine the first time somebody made glass? For a while there’s just an old cauldron hanging over the fire with some sand sizzling in the bottom, and then suddenly it’s clink, clink, clink and there are marbles rolling around in there. Now I wasn’t there, but I imagine whoever was had a great bar story for a few weeks.

Glass is so solid, stoic, and sophisticated, too — unlike that annoyingly pliable and chemical-leaching heathen, plastic. I mean, apparently the empty plastic cottage cheese container you reheat your leftovers in can fill your meal with a pile of hormones and chemicals that could mess you up. Yeah, seriously. But that’s not so with glass, because glass is a solid fighter and ain’t going to fall apart at the sight of a few measly microwaves.

So, have you ever looked through a window or watched TV? Do you wear glasses, do you take pictures, do you pour steaming fluorescent liquids into beakers in chemistry labs? If so, have you peeked into a telescope or microscope when you were in there? If not, have you ever admired the stained glass on the side of a church, or enjoyed a cold brewski in a beer bottle or some bubbly in a champagne flute? Is your house insulated with fiberglass? Does your fish swim in an aquarium? I ask you, friend: are you sitting under a light bulb … right … now?

And if so, if any of these things, then I say smile, flash a thumbs up, and give some serious props to glass — that durable, industrious, dishwasher-safe friend who’s always there when we need it most.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#925 Watching ‘The Price Is Right’ when you’re sick

At an early age, it is possible to learn the price of life through The Price Is Right.

How many eight-year-olds know a can of chickpeas costs sixty-nine cents? How many twelve-year-olds can rattle off the features of a new solid oak armoire? And how many fourteen-year-olds can estimate the value of an ice-cream maker, new speedboat, set of maracas, and trip to Puerto Rico?

Well, I’ll you who, man: Any kid with the flu.

See, The Price Is Right is great when you’re sick because it comes along at 11:00am, which is about the time when your enthusiasm for missing school is sort of deflating into a boring day on the couch with a stomachache. By mid-morning, whoever is taking care of you has either headed upstairs or just put a blanket on you and gone grocery shopping. You feel too sick to do much of anything, so you just lay on the couch and flip channels endlessly, trying to understand why there’s nothing good on TV at ten in the morning.

Then finally — just as you finished counting the cracks in the ceiling, tried and failed to nap several times, and mindlessly gobbled down a pack of saltines — the clock strikes 11:00am and it’s time for the show.

That’s when the music starts kicking, the lights start flashing, and it’s time to come on down. Because it’s The Price Is Right, baby. So sing it with me and let’s get in the game. It’s just such a great time.

And, you know, I think it really helps that everybody on The Price Is Right is just so happy — people are running and jumping, laughing and screaming, and they’re all wearing homemade T-shirts to boot. Basically, they feel the exact opposite of how you feel and it’s sort of contagious.

Yes, The Price Is Right is just one massive climax of fun, prizes, games, and tuna fish ads. But you find yourself cheering along — guessing the price of the leather ottoman, yelling for the big wheel to stop on $1.00, and crossing your fingers for the announcer to unveil a game of Plinko or, yes … a new car!

And yeah, I know there’s a new host now, but come on — for how many years did The Price Is Right represent some solid, rock-like consistency in this mad, mad, mad, mad world? There was Rod Roddy’s sequined blazer, the wildly panning camera looking for the next contestant, Bob Barker’s skinny microphone, and shots of the family in the audience madly screaming advice to help our hapless contestant win that bedroom set.

It just never changed.

And so, whether you were six with the chickenpox, nine with the flu, twelve with a broken arm, or fifteen with menstrual cramps, you could count on sixty solid minutes with the company of that old seventies set, lots of one dollar bets, and advice to neuter your pet — all crunched into the best sick-day game show yet!

AWESOME!

RIP good friend

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#927 A freezing cold glass of water on a boiling hot day

When your eyes sting from big salty beads of dripping sweat, your T-shirt gets wet and sticky and melts to your back, and your upper lip forms a splotchy sweatstache, then I say brother, it’s time for a drink.

And what says refreshing better than a tall glass of completely dripping, condensation-covered, fall-in-a-pond-in-winter-cold water?

I mean, you chug that stuff down and it feels like swallowing an icicle. You can actually feel that cold river ripping down the chute and coating your insides. You can feel your throat pulsing, your stomach clenching and thanking you, and your entire body just drop a couple of degrees. It might feel like you’re the model for the Pepto-Bismal commercial, only instead of pink stuff, water.

Yes, a really cold glass of water on a really hot day is simple, it’s cheap, it’s refreshing, and we all know it is truly …

AWESOME!

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