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#400 Putting your own shoes back on after going bowling

It’s like rolling a strike for your feet.

AWESOME!

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#401 The sound of dry leaves blowing across an empty parking lot

Orange skies burn as winds whisper for your chilly walk home.

The sun dips down in the distance and dogs bark behind backyard fences as your hair blows wildly in the cool and crisp breeze. You squint into the wind and stuff your hands in your thin pockets as you sniff up that smoky sweet smell of garage barbecues, dusty furnace fumes, and dry leaves.

The sound of leaves blowing in the street adds a peaceful soundtrack to the scene and feels like nature’s talking to you — like waves crashing onto a beach or wind whispering in your ears on a late night bike ride.

It’s the sound of a good summer gone by and the sound of a cold winter coming. It’s the sound of seasons changing, life rearranging, and everything just blowing on…

AWESOME!

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#402 Perfectly stapling through a thick stack of papers

It’s just you and me, Swingline.

Sure, we’ve tangled before: Your jagged, splintery arms stabbed sharply back through the top of my book report, you mangled your neck on a powerful hammer-punch, and you didn’t make it through a few fat stacks, forcing me to surgically fingerpick you out of there, which frankly kind of hurt my fingernails.

But not today.

Today’s the day you crash through a thick stack of sheets like an icebreaker busting through a frozen lake. Just push through with purpose till your arms squeeze together and give my science lab a hug from the other side.

Nope, no broken bones, no twisted limbs, no poor penetration.

Just a beautifully crisp and stapled stack of

AWESOME!

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#403 Seeing a really happy dog out for a walk

I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE! I’M OUTSIDE!

AWESOME!

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#404 When someone’s leaving the bathroom at the same time as you so you don’t have to touch the door

Germs are real.

Tiny baby bugs, squiggly creepy-crawlers, and mini-millipedes are camping under your nails, hot-tubbing in your sweaty palms, and putting their feet up in your fingers.

Coughs and colds jump hand to hand and mouth to mouth — latching onto you through handshakes, high tens, and those dreaded bathroom door handles.

Basically, anytime you finish scrubbing your hands in a food court bathroom it’s time to get out without germing yourself up using an old classic:

1. Paper pusher. Here’s where you use crumpled paper towel on the door handle to avoid full contact. Of course, now you’ve got to find a garbage can or toss the paper towel on the floor like a litterbug, also known as providing passive aggressive feedback to management about where to put trash cans. Bad style points.

2. Sleeve saver. This is when you furrow your brows, shake your head, and curl your fraying hoodie sleeve over your hand while reaching for the door. Now you walk away with clean paws but could have a urine stained shirt to show for it. Bad style points.

3. Bum first. If you’re lucky enough to get a push door you can always back into it with your plump, doughy Stairmaster butt instead of touching it with your hands. Careful though, you might smack someone in the face or shatter their wrist while looking the wrong way. Bad style points.

Bottom line — getting out of the bathroom without getting all virused up ain’t easy. So when you find yourself washing hands beside someone else it’s time to start slow-racing them so you can follow them out. Soap strong, dry slowly, and squeeze out right behind them, making sure to use the classic Toe Hold Move to wedge your foot in that quickly closing door. Now just smile and zoom outta there with an empty bladder, clean hands, and a bright future.

Great style points.

AWESOME!

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#405 When someone pronounces your name right on the first try

It ain’t easy.

When I graduated from college they draped us all in slippery black gowns, put square hats on our heads, and sat us down in the hot steamy arena to wait patiently for our names to get called. When they did we got up and swished across the stage to accept little ribbon-tied rolls of paper representing years of early morning classes, all-night study sessions, and months of stressful exams.

I remember they got a fancy-pants professor from the Linguistics Department to read everyone’s name off a sheet of paper. She was mostly aces, too. Ng’s and Png’s couldn’t trip her up cause she’d just ing and ping like it was no big deal. Of course, she butchered a bunch and I’m pretty sure I was Neil Pasta-rike-ah that day.

But you know what: that’s fine, that’s fine, that’s totally fine.

Because we all mess up words all the time. Seeing new names and saying them right is tricky business and not for the faint of heart. I am terrible with names so my only strategy when I see a toughie is saying “Sorry, how… how do you say your name?” Of course, after they tell me I realize I’ll never be able to do it justice so I nod and smile and avoid ever saying it again in my life.

Of course, it’s this constant challenge that makes it so sweet when someone actually nails it on the first try.

If you actually pull it off we say good work, tongue twister.

Today we salute you as a brother or sister.

AWESOME!

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#406 Being slobby in a hotel room

We’re still animals.

Sure, our species has grown up and grown older over the past couple hundred thousand years. We’ve moved out of the jungle and shed most of our body hair, keeping warm with sweatpants and hoodies instead of hairy legs and bushy beards.

But we’re still animals.

We grunt and scratch, we scream and cry, we burp and fart just as much as the next guy. All those shaved legs and haircuts, watches and wardrobes, glasses and grandma panties just can’t cover up our deep n’ dirty roots.

Sure, roommates sweep and Swiffer, boyfriends tidy and touch up, and dads scrub toilets as moms mow the lawn. But sometimes our deepest animal instincts need scratching and we need to feel like we’re back in the jungle, chilling under a big tree trunk with no worries and no problems.

One place that’s great for embracing these filthy roots is in a hotel room. Somehow they manage to tease out the best and worst parts of our animal heritage:

1. These shoes were made for walking. And that’s just what they’ll do. In this hotel room these shoes are walking on the carpet and bathroom.

2. No coasters, no problems. Do you have an Obsessive Coastering friend? One of those folks who jump out of their seat to toss a coaster under anyone’s drink? Wet glass bottoms are their mortal enemies and they may sub jewel cases or pizza flyers in a pinch. Maybe you know that person… or maybe they’re you! But either way: take a break in the Days Inn penthouse and set your warm glass of bathroom tap water straight on the glossy dresser.

3. Using ten towels a day. Back in college my roommate Ryan and I weren’t great at doing laundry. Our rooms had leaning underwear towers and dirty T-shirts balls in the corners while musty bath towels hung like dead fish in the moldy, mildew-smeared bathroom. Whenever one of us piped up with a “Hey, should we head downtown for laundry today?” the other person responded with dead silence and all you’d hear in the room was the frantic clicking of thumbs playing Mario Kart. This is why entering the sinful ten-towels-a-day world of hotels is a nice break once in a while.

4. Eating in bed and falling asleep with the TV on. If you’ve ever woken up on a slippery floral comforter next to a cold half-eaten Pad Thai with a flickering TV in the background showing a steak knife cutting through an aluminum can, then smile because you’re on vacation, baby.

5. Leaving your bed in a twisted pile of sheets and blankets. After fracturing both your ankles trying to untuck all the tightly-packed sheets, there’s just no way it’s ever going back together again.

Little bits of you are from before as atoms from our past swirl and twirl up and down to the ground. Someone gets buried, someone gets born, and over the years we’ve grown up and grown into a more sophisticated society of manners, grace, and tact.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes it’s just good to go slobby for a while.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break.

AWESOME!

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#407 The Inlaw Nap

The Inlaw Nap is any nap you manage to pull off at the inlaw’s house. As long as it’s not during Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas present unwrapping, or while the birthday cake is served, it is a completely legal nap and fully counts as spending quality time visiting the inlaws.

Whether you skip out on setting the table, ditch helping with the dishes, or just miss a couple hours playing cards with Grandma… it doesn’t matter.

All that matters is you pulled it off.

Yes, you answered a phony cell phone call in the other room for twenty minutes, you snuck into the kid’s fort and fell asleep in the cushion barracks, or you hid on a pile of jackets and scraggly blankets in the spare bedroom.

All that matters is you pulled it off.

All that matters is that you’re

AWESOME!

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#408 Dinosaurs

They ruled Earth for millions of years. With brains the size of peanuts. And tiny, hilarious arms.

AWESOME!

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#409 Kids who dress themselves

It’s the little girl wearing a tutu on the downtown street. It’s the boy in the Superman outfit at McDonald’s. It’s big rainboots on sunny days, mom’s lipstick smeared across faces, and big bright mismatched costumes.

There’s just something so pure and innocent about little kids dressing themselves up for a day on the town. All  grown-up social norms and fashion pretenses just drift away in favor of laughing in the moment and living for the day.

AWESOME!

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