#55 A plate full of greasy fries and a thick milkshake at an old diner

Milkshakes must be made from just ice cream and milk and poured from a giant metal cup into a really heavy glass. The metal cup should have more milkshake left over and get all frosted up before you pour the deliciously creamy bubbles-n-lumps mixture into your glass. All fries should be thick cut, slightly brown with dirty grease flavor, and served wet and glistening. Ketchup should be from a half-empty glass bottle only with ketchup smears all down the insides. You must sit at the counter on a swivel-chair that has rips in the orange or brown vinyl padding and lean up against a really smooth counter that has little sparkles in it from the 1950s.

AWESOME!

Big news, everyone! My new book The Happiness Equation hits March 8th, 2016! I am so pumped to share exciting pre-order details with you on February 15th. Stay tuned!

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#56 Those friends you make in the lineup

Have you ever waited in a really long line?

I’m not talking five minutes getting to the bathroom at half-time, ten minutes sock-slipping in airport security, or even fifteen minutes outside the movies opening night.

I’m talking about those forever-long lines that hit you like a hammer. I’m talking about brand new rides at amusement parks, driver’s license renewals before the weekend, and those ones winding around sketchy warehouses before the concert doors open.

If you’re stuck in a really long line you probably do what I do and chat with friends while sending one hundred text messages. But at some point you get bored. Batteries die, conversations dry, and you’re twiddling your thumbs when the three-step process to making Lineup Friends suddenly happens:

Step 1: We can have lots of fun… by complaining together! Somebody moans about the wait and a stranger chimes in. “Seriously, is this line even moving?”, “Yeah, I know, it’s like, didn’t they plan for this?” Bam! — suddenly you’re in this together! How dare they make us wait? Now we’re a team against the invisible amusement park titans. Lineup Acquaintances are made.

Step 2: There’s so much we can do. Chances are good that your new Lineup Acquaintance and you have lots in common. Are you waiting outside a punk show? Time to talk about your fresh nose piercings. Are you standing with crying toddlers at Space Mountain? Discuss how to shut those yappers up. Suddenly the conversation is rolling…

Step 3: It’s just you and me. Step 3 involves talking with your new friend all the way to the front of the line. It’s important to switch topics repeatedly and keep the friendship bubbling.

Step 4: I can give you more. Swapping contact details seals the friendship. Sure, it’s a bit risky asking your Lineup Friend for their digits — but emailing them a photo you took or sending them that recommendation you were talking about is all fair game.

Yes, we all live in our own worlds so it’s great busting out of smeary dreary worlds into new friendship territory. Lineup friends make the time pass, keep the jokes coming, and brighten our days with new connections.

Lineup friend, don’t you know that the time has arrived?

AWESOME!

The Book of Awesome has been translated into over 10 languages!

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#58 When the band comes back out for an encore

What a show.

Flashing lights, sweaty shirts, and screaming crowds get loud while guitars jam, voices scream, and everyone sings along. Now the song’s all gone and we’re suddenly left with a hyped up scene in the afterglow of the show.

Screaming for the band to give an encore is like screaming for extra pudding when you’re a kid. The main course is done, you got your money’s worth, but now you want a little more. Encores are olives at the bottom of the martini, sugary milk at the bottom of the bowl, or like those little extra scene after the movie credits roll.

So cheer and chant, clap and stomp, and let’s get them back for one last song.

AWESOME!

Big news, everyone! My new book The Happiness Equation hits March 8th, 2016! I am so pumped to share exciting pre-order details with you on February 15th. Stay tuned!

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Photo from: here

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#59 Big, huge hair

“Look down,” Leslie said. “All the men are bald.”

We were sipping paper cups of water during intermission at a play last night and she was looking over the railing into the intermissing-throngs below. There was a lineup for brownies at the snacks table and a messy sea of people milling about, chatting, squeezing past each other to go to the bathroom.

When I peered over the railing I saw dozens and dozens of shiny heads blinking up at me. Four-strand combovers, bumpy bald spots, shaved heads — most guy were sporting one of ’em. We were there with my sister, brother-in-law, and parents too so I pointed out Leslie’s scientific discovery to them as well.

“All the men are bald.”

“That’s what happens when you get older, Neil. You lose hair, you will see. Women do too!,” my dad said.

But I do see, I do see all right. I’ve had the receding coastline peeling back over my forehead for years now. I’m afraid of the future because it’s already buzzcut or no-cut for me. My days of wildly shaggy locks whipping in the wind as I zoom my convertible down twisting cliffside highways are over … before they even began.

People, please: listen to me! Big hair is better. If you have the locks to go for it then go for it, go for it now! Let the dreads grow down your back like jungle vines. Let the afro puff out to the size of a beachball. Let your shaggy mane grow around your head till you look like a lion. AND THEN ROAR!

Big hair really is better. And if you don’t believe me, just check out this numbered list:

1. Bankrupt the hat industry. No need for drawers full of wool hats, parade tams, and ballcaps, people. Now’s the time to let your big hair keep your warm. Yes, big hair is the cheapest, most portable, least loseable hat around!

2. Free your mind. We’re all more creative than we let ourselves be. You know those crazy thoughts peeking up at the corners of your brain? That’s the real you and it’s okay to be insane. Big hair lets creativity run free before pesky civilized norms get you all proper. If you’re cutting your big hair for job interviews, photo shoots, or snobby parties that’s a sign you’re getting old. Just look at nuclear physicists, teenage rockers, and babies with their wild, anything goes big hair and undoubtedly bubbling brains. (Folks, it’s like I always say: We can learn much from The Baby.)

3. Look like a walking party. Fun is always around the corner. Jokes in the middle of the meeting, dance-offs in the middle of the party, and wisecracks at the back of class. Look, we’re social animals who love high-fiving and side-splitting as much as we can. That’s the beauty of having big hair — people think you’re fun and you become the center of easy smiles and good times.

People, it’s like I said before: If you can grow big hair then do it! Grow it out, curl it up, and be yourself for real. Just bring on that big hair … before it’s too late! Bring on that big hair … and let fear dissipate! Bring on that big hair … and let your head bomb detonate!

Bring on your big hair and let’s all celebrate.

AWESOME!

Big news, everyone! My new book The Happiness Equation hits March 8th, 2016! I am so pumped to share exciting pre-order details with you on February 15th. Stay tuned!

happinessequation

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#60 When someone guesses your age as way younger than you actually are

I have an addiction.

Whenever I’ve been hanging out with a toddler for over twenty minutes I always have to ask them to guess my age. I can’t explain this terrible disease other than to say I find their answers hilarious.

Sometimes I get the sheepish “I don’t knowwwwwwwww!” followed by that “Is this guy serious?” laugh and look away. But other times I get that beautiful Totally Innocent Guess, where they look you up and down for a couple seconds and then shout that you’re either 14 or 75.

I say Toddler Feedback always comes from a pure place. When they say your sweater’s ugly, breath stinks, or eyes are crossed, you know it’s for real. That’s why I don’t mind when they say I’m fifteen years younger than I actually am.

What bald head? What baggy eyes? What wrinkly face?

We’ve just been told we look

AWESOME!

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#61 Seeing wildlife somewhere you’re not expecting to

I was driving up Neon Light Alley yesterday.

Whipping up suburban roads I was high-tailing my way to a greasy lunch with some pals from the office. Photocopier fumes, blinking red lights, and pressing deadlines were scrambling through my brain when I suddenly saw a giant hawk soar slowly in front of my car.

I hadn’t seen a bird that big in a long time and Real Life completely paused as I watched it quietly flutter down to the top of a road sign. Nothing was stressing it out and it sort of felt like nature was just… happening. I was suddenly just one tiny animal, in one tiny city, in one tiny country, in one tiny moment.

So whether it’s the deer poking out of the forest, the cardinal peeking in your kitchen window, or the dolphin backflipping its way into your heart, one thing’s for sure: Surprise wildlife sightings sure add a dose of peace and perspective in the middle of our jam packed days.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#63 Shaving breaks

When I first started shaving I had a brief honeymoon phase where I actually enjoyed it.

Yes, The Wolf Man walked into the bathroom and a few minutes later out popped a fifteen year old babyface wearing too much aftershave. It was about six months before I got tired of the whole deal. And ladies, I’m guessing you’re feeling the burn too since sliding a razor up and down your legs all the time sounds like even less fun.

Nowadays I’m running late before work wishing all my coworkers went in with two days of cheek fuzz. Other times I’m coming home on a Friday night and realizing I need to shave again before heading out, so it’s back to the bowl for me.

This is why I love taking Shaving Breaks.

They let us temporarily escape our civilized social norms and return to our beautifully hairy roots. And we both know they give us a nice mental break too. Got a scraggly weird beard growing on the beach? That means you’re officially relaxing. Rocking some hairy legs under the sweatpants? Just enjoying a cozy cabin weekend in the middle of winter.

Yes, sometimes it’s great to get away from it all, stop taking things too seriously, and smile and welcome back your inner Wolf Man. When you get the chance just relax and enjoy those little moments of being your hairy self.

AWESOME!

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#64 Popping a giant zit

You know you love it.

When those red bumpy mountains erupt out of the ground called Your Face, you suddenly notice them in the mirror and cast an evil eye. “Bastard, I’m gonna get you,” you say out loud with vengeance, startling the girls putting mascara on beside you at the bathroom sinks. “You’re all mine.”

Now there are five levels of Popping Zit Satisfaction so let’s break it down in China Town:

Level 1: Cheek Pain 101. I was stuck at this level for many years. It involves grunting, gritting your teeth, and squeezing that zit in the mirror, only to have … nothing happen. You probably didn’t wait till the zit ripened so now you’re just stuck with severe cheek pain and a bright red bullseye over the zit. This will come in handy when you try finding it again in two days.

Level 2: The Pop That Doesn’t Stop. You did it! You waited till the whitehead, waited till after the shower, used two fingers, and… went too far. Now you got a drippy pop but with it comes a tidal wave of blood. Your new nickname is Toilet Paper On Your Forehead For Half An Hour Guy.

Level 3: The Classic Pop. After many years you become a zit expert. For some people it’s years of bathroom practice, others take a course down at the Y, and some study in distant forest retreats under Zit Gurus. (Sort of like Pai Mei in Kill Bill, but for zits.) Either way, you’re in the zone now, and it’s time for the classic pop. Freshly washed face, two gently squeezing fingers, and a satisfying ooze. Congratulations!

Level 4: Share the love. I was at my friend Matt’s house a couple years back when I noticed his wife Sam just staring hard at my face. “What is it?,” I asked. And she said “I’ve been staring at that giant zit on your forehead for half an hour. I have to pop it. You have no choice in the matter.” This is when I first learned about Zit Obsessives — people who must pop any zit they see regardless of whose body it happens to be on. There isn’t much literature on ZO’s, but we do know that, for them, the big pop on someone else’s face leads to Total Zit Actualization.

Level 5: 3D Surround Sound. My friend Mike gave me a lecture once on Level 5 of Zit Popping. “It’s when you can actually hear the pop and it squirts all over your bathroom mirror.” Now what on earth makes somebody enjoy this level of zit popitude? Scientists are currently studying caveman brain stems to figure it out.

Sure, if you listen to your doctor, nurse, or guidance counselor they’ll tell you all the risks of popping zits. “You don’t need to do it,” they’ll start. “You look beautiful anyway.” Plus, it could scar, it could hurt, and it’s pretty gross besides. But there’s something so primal and deeply satisfying about this level of Disgusting Grooming that we’re here today to tell all the experts to just lay off.

We say pop ’em loud and pop ’em proud.

AWESOME!

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