#290 Saying yes

Chad came to visit last week.

We’ve been friends since ninth grade and you may remember him playing important roles in my life like Neapolitan Shake Inspiration, Ticking Clock Monster, or Chocolate Milk Boy Genius.

Chad’s been there for me through the thick and thin. He’s helped me through painful moments because his warm, easygoing manner and big buckets of kindness get people buzzing around him like moths on a porch light.

We lived near each other for fifteen years until his wife Kristen transferred jobs, sending her and Chad into a whole new life amongst the beer-and-cheese-lined streets of Wisconsin.

I don’t see Chad as often anymore so I always get excited when he visits.

Yes, I roll out my Class A Hospitality Treatment which includes an extra set of keys to my apartment, a dusty deflated air mattress yanked to the middle of the floor, and an open invitation to anything in the fridge — which on good days includes bendable carrots, expired butter, and a lone cream-colored pickle floating in a massive jar of brine.

When Chad came by last week it was like no time had passed at all. He wheeled his suitcase in and we plopped on the couch to catch up.

Of course, since I’m about as organized as a nursery school mud room I hadn’t managed to check my plans by Chad before he came over so over the next couple days I bounced a lot of different things off him.

“Hey Chad, I told a couple guys we might grab pizza with them later. It’s totally optional though — what do you think?” (“Sure, sounds great.”)

“Oh listen, I bumped into a friend on the elevator who may swing by later for a drink. Is that cool?” (“Sure, I’d love to meet them.”)

“Look, I’m stuck in the office a bit late tonight. It it alright if we grab dinner at like eight or nine instead?” (“Yeah, that works well. I’ll finish up my blog. No rush.”)

“Are you okay on the air mattress tonight or did you want some blankets on the couch?” (“The air mattress is like sleeping on a cloud. I feel like I’m five living with the Care Bears.”)

We had a great hangout and while he was packing to go home I mentioned that it was really noticeable how he always said yes … and was always up for everything.

“Hmmm…” he said, zippering up his suitcase. “Yeah, I guess I just always try to say yes. Go with the flow.”

We hugged and he jumped in the elevator before heading to the airport.

But his visit got me thinking. Maybe in these days of gung ho goal setting, squeezed schedules, and lofty plans for lofty nights, there was just something refreshing about Chad’s easy grins and Say Yes Philosophy. His soul seemed cool as a silent lake on a Sunday morning and he was generally unflappable by things around him. He found something he liked at the pizza place, made great conversation with my friend, and slept fine every night.

I had a teacher once who used to say “It’s a lot harder to agree with something than disagree.” He’d organize big debates in class and convince us to bravely venture out with arguments we weren’t even sure of ourselves. But with his constant grounding of “It’s a lot harder to agree than disagree” we’d find ourselves trying to say yes and find reasons why afterwards.

They were usually there.

Being around someone who says yes is a great feeling. It makes you say yes back and turns agreement into the norm. Chad’s helped me learn that life feels a lot smoother with big yes’s rounding every corner — there are less banged elbows, slammed doors, and black scribbly clouds floating above heads.

Saying yes is bold.

Saying yes is brave.

And saying yes is absolutely

AWESOME!

Say yes to The Book of (Even More) Awesome

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#291 Forgetting you ordered something online and then having it randomly show up

Goodbye, perfume.

When I was a little kid I dreaded walking through Perfume Alley at the front of the department store. Holding my mom or dad’s hand I’d squeeze my face real tight while walking past lipstick-smeared smilies standing in front of shiny glass-n-brass countertops holding tiny square Weapons of Mass Irritation.

Yes, I dreaded those long walks through Stink Jungle but they seemed necessary at the time. After all, sheets and toys and clothes for boys were all stationed behind those invisible clouds of strong smells and toddler migraines.

In those days there wasn’t an option.

But in these days it’s different.

Click, click, you’re done. Click, click, that was fun. Click, click, back to reruns.

And when you turn off the computer, when you shut off that screen, when you put away your wallet, when you leave the machine — well, if you’re like me one thing happens immediately.

You completely forget about it.

So whether it’s new books or concert tickets or video games or cricket wickets, the point is that you forget it’s coming and you forget you bought it. This is the beauty of shopping in Your Own Smell, folks. Soon a day passes, then another, then another one passes, and then a package arrives…

And what a surprise!

In a cardboard disguise!

It’s a feast for the eyes!

That makes you scream to the skies!

AWESOME!

Check out The Book of Awesome in Germany!

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#292 Skinny dipping somewhere you shouldn’t be

You were meant to be naked.

After swimming in a stomach you came out crying in a new world full of harsh lights, surgical masks, and cold tables. A couple minutes later you were quickly covered in plastic, wool, and cotton, but you never forgot.

You never forgot.

Yes, you’ve been in clothes for years, you’ve been in clothes since that day, you’ve been wearing socks forever, you’ve been wearing shoes the same way.

But… sometimes pants are a pain and shirts are a mess and life’s just a lot better when you’re completely undressed.

You were meant to be naked.

You came here without clothes.

You were meant to be naked.

And sometimes you gotta go back to what you know.

Stripping in the hot tub, jumping off the dock, slipping your swimming trunks off, and showing the world your … confidence.

Yes, I say just be out there and be happy, be out there and rewind, just get naked and relax, get naked… and forget time.

AWESOME!

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#293 Rubbing your eyes at the end of a long day

Our world can be a filthy place.

Car fumes, cigarette smoke, and pet hair fill our air while our eyes suit up to sit on the front lines every day. This Dust War rages and rages and our eyes don’t get much protection in the trenches. On top of that, we don’t always treat them well either — staring into screens, straining in the dark, and staying up too late working on homewark.

Sometimes it’s nice to show your eyes you care. Sometimes it’s nice to show your eyes you’re there. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to frantically rub them like a wild animal until you get that sweet and soothing sense of eyeball relief.

Closing your eyes and giving them a good rub is a good way to say thanks. Closing your eyes and giving them a good rub is a good way to say

AWESOME!

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#294 Successful sheet swooping

Successful sheet swooping is the term used to describe when you’re making the bed by yourself and you grab all four corners of a sheet and then suddenly swoop it out into the air in one quick move so that the entire sheet unfolds in a majestic rectangle of cotton that floats in the air for a millisecond before landing perfectly over all four corners of the bed.

AWESOME!

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#295 Location based snacks

Stuff that belly.

It’s time to enjoy some location based tastiness with some location based snacks:

• Massive bag of wet popcorn at the movies. Squirt some hot buttery-like substance on that corn get ready to chomp through the previews. Now, there are two possible endings to this story — dropping the three-quarters full bag to your feet after five minutes and cursing yourself for getting too much, or getting your hands and face disgustingly greasy while powermunching your way to the burnt kernels at the bottom.

• Assorted bag of no-name brand chips on an airplane. It’s all about the airplane snack that was made by that no-name company specializing in tiny bags of freezing cold Fritos knockoffs.
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• Hot dog at the ballgame. Load that crispy-skinned wiener up with toppings and get ready to chow down with a big cup of suds before the first pitch. Soak up those afternoon rays and enjoy the ballpark air as your tastebuds start sizzling. It’s well worth the seventh inning heartburn.
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• Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. When you’re finished your third helping of mashed potatoes it’s time to make room for of a thick slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Undo your belt buckle and let the buttons pop because it’s time to let it all out … before stuffing it all in.
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• Orange Julius at the mall when you’re in the middle of shopping with your girlfriend. It is illegal to drink Orange Julius anywhere else so grab a big straw and pray for relief.
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• Funnel cake at the amusement park. “Hey, are we about to spin upside down on the roller coasters, crash into each other in bumper cars, and run around a pitch black haunted house? Cool, just lemme load my stomach up with a giant paper plate full of deep fried dough first.”
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• Roasted marshmallows at the campfire. Oven baked marshmallows in front of the fireplace channel just isn’t as good.
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• Anything the parents won’t notice is missing while you’re babysitting. After you put the kids to bed it’s all about snagging a handful of chocolate chips, diving into the open bag of chips, or taking a few spoonfuls of ice cream and then smoothing over the top so it looks like nobody was there.
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Yes, location based snacks are great because they only come around once in a while. After all, ballpark franks and deep-fried funnel cakes might get boring every day but as little blips of tastiness they do the job just fine. So next time you’re racing around the mall, running around the fair, or finishing a giant family dinner over the holidays make sure you take the time to relax … indulge those hunger attacks … and enjoy some mouthwatering location based snacks.
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AWESOME!
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#296 Making a baby laugh

Because you know they’re not faking it.

AWESOME!

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#297 Singing the national anthem in a big crowd

We start as strangers.

Pushing into sweaty stadiums for the ballgame or splitting into opposites sides of the soccer pitch always feels like we’re getting ready to battle, getting ready to fight, and getting ready to cheer. Grab your flag, pump your fist, and finish that beer as we all amp up for the big game.

And that’s why it’s a beautiful moment when the national anthem hits the speakers and slices through the crowd. Suddenly we all stop for a minute and swish and swirl together …  standing beside each other, singing the same song, proud of our home country, and all just standing strong…

AWESOME!

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#298 Successfully giving someone directions in your home town

I ain’t good at much.

Seriously, when it comes to cooking I tend to burn toast, overcook pasta, and drown my cereal in white. Sports wise, I’ve been picked last in everything I’ve played — a broken-glasses freeze frame of me getting pegged in the forehead with a dodgeball would accurately represent my athletic career. And I hate to admit it but I’m a bit messy, too. Old roommates will tell you I leave dishes in the sink for days, somehow smear toothpaste on bathroom mirrors, and consider dust mites friendly little fellas who just need a good home.

I’m not good at much.

But I tell you, I tell you if there is one thing I am good at then it’s gotta be knowing where I live.

Yes, you can’t trip me up on that one. Zip code, street address, what’s your question, fool? I’m all over that like a fly on … fly tape. I know my streets, I know my shortcuts, I know my city, I know it well. North, south, east, west, tell me where you getting and I’ll get you there the best.

And shortest.

Way possible.

Point is, I love it when someone asks me directions in my home town.

Jacques Cousteau don’t know which big time call gets you to the power mall. Marco Polo can’t show you that secret shortcut driveway that gets to the highway. And Hernando Cortes don’t know the shortest route to take if you’re heading for a picnic down by the lake.

Only we can.

Because we live here.

And we’re

AWESOME!

Guess what? A new Book of Awesome Kid’s Book comes out this Fall! Here’s the old trailer for fun…

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#299 Finally pulling out an ingrown hair

Pull, pull, twist. Pull, pull, squeeze. Pull, pull, yank. Pull, pull, tweeze.

SPROINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG!!!

AWESOME!

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