Category Archives: Awesome Things

#175 When your footsteps line up perfectly with the black and white floor tiles

Brain, you´re funny.

Who knows what caveman electrons are firing you up on a daily basis? Something must have been programmed in a while back to make it so enjoyable to pop bubble wrap, hear frozen puddles crack, or stab those little buttons on top of the soft drink cup lid. Click clack, neutrons snap, brain cells buzz and smiles attack whenever those feel-good jabs start feel-good jabbing.

When your footsteps line up perfectly with the black and white floor tiles it´s like the stars are aligning for a quick little minute of fun. Perfectly avoiding all sidewalk cracks, squeezing through a door as it´s shutting without touching it, and walking onto escalators without breaking your stride all come close, but not much feels as good as Checkerboard Stepping all the way through that snobby lobby.

Let the front desk staff all stare in awe, drop their jaws, and burst into applause.

You just nailed it, my friend.

Right when it counted most.

AWESOME!

Comments Off on #175 When your footsteps line up perfectly with the black and white floor tiles

Filed under Awesome Things

#176 Getting tiny chores done before the microwave dings

Beat the beep.

Toss that bowl of instant oatmeal, can of Chef Boyardee, or salty plate of last night´s stir-fry into the microwave and get ready for sixty seconds of tornado-twisting action in the kitchen. When the door slams and the plate starts turning, it´s time to start scrubbing the last few dirty dishes, tying up the garbage while running to the garage, or speed-folding the bathroom towels in your time-ticking Hyper Maid State.

Now when that apple cinnamon breakfast bings, bubbling bowl of ketchup ravioli dings, or soya-sauce smeared broccoli spears ring, well you can enjoy it a little more knowing you just maximized your time. Yes, the microwave timer gave you a jolt of energy and as you settle into your couch dent while wiping sweaty bangs off your face you can rest feeling a little more productive and a lot more

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

Photo from: here

Comments Off on #176 Getting tiny chores done before the microwave dings

Filed under Awesome Things

#177 Grandma emails

AWESOME!

Illustration from: here

Comments Off on #177 Grandma emails

Filed under Awesome Things

#178 When you hear someone’s smile over the phone

Living in a big city can be lonely.

Friends scatter and splatter in all directions and people dear to your heart fling themselves across state lines, borders, and deep dark oceans.

And while calling your friends has gotten a lot cheaper, let’s be honest: It’s still hard to line everything up perfectly for a long phone call. There are time zones, there are answering machines, and there’s the general difficulty of jumping into someone’s life for an hour when they’re in the middle of living it.

Despite these issues, once in a while you land one of those special one or two hour phone calls with a close friend far, far away. If you’re lucky, after the first twenty minutes of what’s new at work, with the kids, with the folks, and with people both of us know but one of us knows better, it might fall into that healthy back and forth banter where it seems like no time has passed.

That’s the best part of the phone call.

Joking like you’re back in the dining hall at college before a long Friday night, chatting like you’re sharing a bunk-bed and whispering on Christmas Eve, and laughing like you’re still young and still married.

Sometimes if you listen close enough you can hear those smiles shining through the phone like laser beams. And they tug on your heart as your brain lapses and enjoys some great times with a loving friend.

AWESOME!

Thank you for making The Book of Awesome a bestseller for over 150 weeks!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

Photos from: here and here

Comments Off on #178 When you hear someone’s smile over the phone

Filed under Awesome Things

#179 Getting your ID checked when you’re way over the legal age

Hey, sometimes you’re in the mood for a few drinks.

Big bottle of Merlot over a romantic spaghetti dinner, clinking beers floating in an icy cooler beside the tent, Jello shooters before the bars in college, or bubbly flutes of champagne for the big New Year’s bash.

Whatever your pleasures, whatever your poison, that’s cool with us. But before you get down with the booze-filled pour, you need to get out that door, and run down to the liquor store. Word to your sister.

Now, if you’re like me, you go through four distinct phases when you get your ID checked and they go a little something like this:

Stage 1: Underage Rage. Okay, you’re not quite at the legal limit but you’re close enough to push it. Problem is that the pimply dude at the cash ain’t buying your fake ID so you get busted at the scene. So close yet so far. You storm away with your Friday night plans dashed burning with a bit of underage rage.

Stage 2: New Booze Buzz. When you hit the legal limit, it’s time to fight for your right to party. You wheel your shopping cart around the store with pride, picking up a bit of this, a bit of that, and beaming like a schoolgirl when the cashier asks for your ID. “Why, no problem at all!” you say loudly, grinning widely at the tired, bleary-eyed folks behind you in line as you present your wallet like a newborn baby. “Thank you so much for asking!”

Stage 3: Jaded Twentysomething. You’re four or five years over the limit and the novelty has worn off. Now it’s becoming a pain to dig through your wallet to find your driver’s license before scooting home with a six-pack for the game. Can’t the clerk clearly see you’re twenty-six? Do they think you could have grown that goatee five years ago?

Stage 4: The Fountain of Youth. After a while, the gray hairs add up and you start buying white wine for the backyard barbecue instead of lollipop-flavored vodka coolers for the all-night rager. You know your way around the store, you smile warmly at the clerk, and suddenly you get asked for your ID when you least expect it.

Oh baby, when it hasn’t happened in years getting your ID checked can be a full body buzz. You fish out your card excitedly, peeling its faded face and dog-eared corners from your bag, and your eyes twinkle as you take a sip from the fountain of youth.

Sometimes it even happens on your birthday.

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

Photos from: here and here

Comments Off on #179 Getting your ID checked when you’re way over the legal age

Filed under Awesome Things

#180 Tripping and realizing no one saw you

Babies take a while to walk.

If you’ve seen it happen, you know there is plenty of falling, crawling, and bawling. Hey, there’s a reason most two-year-olds are covered in fat lips, skinned knees, and coffee-table-dented foreheads.

Learning to walk ain’t easy.

Sure, you did it and I did it but we probably couldn’t do it again. Like learning anything tough and life-altering, learning to walk is a messy process that takes time and patience.

First, there is rolling. That cute little baby-powder ball of flabby arms and puffy diapers twists and shimmies on the cold linoleum with a big smile on her face. This marks a major step as baby is learning to move on her own. Don’t laugh because you were once a flabby, wiggling diaper ball too.

Once that’s nailed, it’s time to sit up and start crawling. This turns the house into a carpeted jungle full of discovery and adventure. Curiosity helps little ones discover pantry shelves, cat little trays, and toilets. Some people have an adorable Crab Baby at this stage, also known as a one-year-old who crawls backward or sideways instead of forward. Watch out for pinchy claws grabbing at your hair and glasses.

Next up: teetering! White-knuckled, apricot-sized hands grip staircase railings and kitchen table legs with furrowed brows and steely determination. The side benefit of diapers comes into play here, as handy ass-padding for the vast number of harrowing, thunderous falls. Eventually, with immense focus and concentration, most of them manage to find their center of gravity and balance the baby chub on their two teeny-tiny tootsies.

After this point, it’s just a matter of time. There’s some nervous balancing without the railing and then lopsided running with occasional face-plants in the front hallway. But soon baby nails it, and after that she’s probably flying pretty high.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that practice doesn’t always make perfect. Even though we’ve been mastering the art of standing tall for years and years and years, everyone slips and falls now and then. Just ask your local small-claims court.

So next time your shoe catches on the top step at work, you trip stepping off the airport’s moving sidewalk, or you bail on a patch of ice outside your front door, remember that not too long ago you couldn’t walk at all.

So your wipeout is really no big deal.

As long as nobody saw you.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

Comments Off on #180 Tripping and realizing no one saw you

Filed under Awesome Things

#181 Gravy

You gotta love the Egyptians.

According to our egghead pals at Wikipedia our taste-loving ancestors from Egypt started putting gravy on food over 5000 years ago. Seriously, hieroglyphics in the tomb of Djer, an early first dynasty pharaoh, show diners feasting and drinking from gravy boats. Sure, building pyramids is nice, but making gravy for the world is even even better.

Gravy tastes delicious on Thanksgiving turkey, freshly baked biscuits, mashed potatoes, french fries, roasted chicken, country fried steak, meatloaf from the diner, slow-cooked pot roasts, greasy poutine, fried eggs, bangers and mash, pork chops, vegetables, and everything in between.

Breakfast or lunch, dinner or brunch, pour it on hams, drench it on yams, straight from the glass, right after Sunday mass, gravy, gravy, gravy!

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

Comments Off on #181 Gravy

Filed under Awesome Things

#182 Spotting your house from the airplane window

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

Illustration from: here

Comments Off on #182 Spotting your house from the airplane window

Filed under Awesome Things

#183 Sleep lines

Sleep lines are any line on your body when you wake up from sleep.

They’re little indents on your arm from the pillow case zipper. They’re creases on your face from your corduroy covers. They’re just cute little lines and dents on your arms and legs that tell everyone that you just went down for the count.

And went down for the count good.

Yes, sleep lines tell the story of your beautifully restful nap. Maybe you were hanging in a backyard hammock after cutting grass on a hot and sunny day, maybe you were sleeping in with your husband on your weekend getaway, or maybe you were snoring on the ride home from work at the back of the subway.

No matter what, the sleep lines show a little moment of relaxation in the middle of your hectic life.

For bonus points add drool stains.

AWESOME!

Photos from: k_oosterhouse and here

Comments Off on #183 Sleep lines

Filed under Awesome Things

#184 Hands-free-everything bathrooms

It’s known as the Paper Towel Pile.

Germophobes, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that filthy stash of crumpled wet paper towels sitting in a pathetic heap behind public bathroom doors. Bacteria conscious citizens aren’t above using paper towels like gloves to avoid touching the pee-stained bathroom door handle. With no garbage can nearby the towels hit the floor where they serve as dark reminders of our big preference for hands-free everything.

Bathroom designers, listen up: Most people don’t like touching rusty urinal flushes, crusty soap pumps, and bacteria-covered sink faucets. Nope, that’s why the Holy Grail is the hands-free-everything bathroom, ideally featuring all these family favorites:

1. Angled bathroom entrances. Top marks are awarded for bathrooms that don’t even have a door. Paper Towel Piles and pee-hands are non-existent because a simple Hallway 180 keeps bathrooms private and entrances hands-free.

2. Self-flushing toilets. I remember when I first met a urinal that flushed on its own. “Clever little fella,” I thought to myself, as the auto-flush waterfalled down and got ready for its next customer. Ladies, it may surprise you, but urinals that require manual flushing don’t always get flushed. Anyone’s who waited with a lineup of sweaty guys during the basketball game halftime will agree that self-flushing urinals are the dawn of a new day. And actual self-flushing sit-down toilets are almost beyond mind-blowing. They’re a sign we’re becoming The Jetsons.

3. Hands-free faucets. Gold standard here is a highly-sensitive faucet that delivers warm water in high volume. Unfortunately, it’s more common finding faucets that require non-stop herky-jerky hand spasms to keep them going, after which they deliver thin, wildy-shooting sprays of ice-cold water. Hey, we’ll take what we can get.

4. Automatic soap dispensers. If all the automatic bathroom machines were sitting down for family dinner then the soap dispenser would definitely be the crazy uncle. He’s unpredictable, shoots his mouth all over the place, and frankly, just cannot be trusted. Pink sink smears and foam explosions on the mirror show his wild side. But he’s part of the family and we love him for who he is.

5. Automatic paper towel machines. Swipe once for some paper towel, swipe twice for more, or stick your hands in the Insanely Loud Hand Dryer for some quick-style cleaning.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, it’s time we delivered a clean cracking high five to all the hands-free-everything bathrooms of the world. After all, when we get back to hands-free-everything we’re getting back to our roots. Squatting off the side of a cliff, our ancestors probably had a no fuss, no mess, no problems attitude to getting the job done. Now here we are in the future and it’s fun finding occasional mall, airport, or restaurant bathrooms who pay tribute to the past with their hands-free-everything ways.

The only thing left to invent is auto-unzipping and cyber wiping.

AWESOME!

Hey everyone,

I’m launching a super secret new project this Fall called The Institute for Global Happiness. Sign up for my new email list to learn more. As a thank you, I’ll send you The eBook of Awesome, a 46-page designed and illustrated eBook (PDF format) containing the fifty most popular awesome things that didn’t make it into any of the books. Don’t judge me on what you read inside!

As always, thanks for reading and sign up here. (And, of course, I’ll never spam or share your email.)

Neil

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

Comments Off on #184 Hands-free-everything bathrooms

Filed under Awesome Things