#630 That moment you wake up from a nightmare and realize it was all just a dream

With a dropped jaw, buggy eyes, and sweaty palms your hot, salty head pops up from your warm pillow in a heart-pounding state of emergency. After a second of massively intense panic where you zoom into brain-rushing, adrenaline-gushing overdrive, it just suddenly just dawns on you …

It was all just a dream.

It was all just a dream.

It was all just a dream.


How do you spell relief?

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#631 Coming back to your own bed after a long trip away

An ugly nightDo you remember your Worst Sleep Ever?

Man, I sure do. I tell you, it was back when I was in college and a few friends and I drove a skiddy van across a snowy highway in the middle of a blizzard to crash with my friend Chad. It was a cold weekend full of laughs and catching up with friends who had all been yanked apart after prom and high school gradumacation.

Now, it was late Friday night in this quiet college town when a few of us headed home to hit the sack. Of course, there were no fresh linens, soft pillows, or fluffy towels laying on pull-out beds there. Nope, all we had in that cold, dark basement were a couple ratty couches, a hollow wooden door to the blizzard outside, and a giant wall full of cheap ticking clocks all set to different timezones.

Don't try this at homeWell, what choice did we have?

We made little beds from couch cushions, used sweatshirts for pillows, and covered our shivering bodies with zippery, snow-smeared winter coats. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the clocks tick-tick-tick-ticked all night, and somebody got home really late and left the back door wide open. Nobody noticed until morning when all our teeth were chattering and there was a foot high snowdrift under the ping pong table.

It was a nightmare, but I know you’ve been there, too.

Power-napping on bumpy airplanes, crashing on a flabby futon or jabby mattress, sleeping in a rainy forest in a leaky tent, you’ve had your fair share. Bad sleeps, sad sleeps, sack-pillow heaps, weird alarm clock beeps, and through it all you enjoy long, fidgety nights of groggy pillow turns and fuzzy blanket burns.

But after those killer sleeps in nightmare paradise, it’s always a great feeling to return to the warm and cozy comfort of your sweet, heavenly bed. Yes, you’re like a bear scraping together filthy leaves and warm mud for a long winter of hibernation or a soaring eagle swooping home from the windy treetops to the twiggy goodness of your comfy nest.

Your dented pillow, warm flannel sheets, and preset alarm clock wait for you.

So welcome home, baby.

You made it.



Twiggy comfortPhotos from: here, here, and here

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#632 Slowing back down

Forget the click and dream a dream todayTime is an illusion.

Baby, we’re all just spinning, gninnips, spinning.

Electrons spinning in our tall, fleshy bodies, spinning on our big, wet rock, spinning in our bright, white solar system, spinning in our deep, dark galaxy, spinning in our brain-bustingly big universe.

Listen, this never ending swirly-twirly headtrip can be a bit much sometimes, so we try to place some delicate order on our bumpy, chaotic lives. Yes, we tack calendars on our kitchen cabinets with organized checkerboards of days and weeks and months. We make plans for Saturday night, sleep in on Sunday, and head to work Monday morning. See, now instead of swirling and twirling, we’ve got minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years and lives.

Drop a tissue on thisOh sure, maybe setting a calendar on the beautiful insanity of life is like placing a square of tissue paper on a hurricane. But without the structure and routine we’d just sort of wander around aimlessly forever, you know what I mean?

“Hey man, when you gonna finish college?”

“Dude, I dunno, maybe when my beard touches my knees?”

No, no, no, we need order, we want order, we crave order, we love order.

Order gives us birthdays, anniversaries, and hair appointments. Order gives us the recess bell, cake baking smell, and Christmas eves with the family. Order gives us company meetings, holiday greetings, and long weekends in the summer.

Order gives us a lot.

Be like the snailBut people, sometimes it’s great to slow down and get swirly-twirly, anyway.

Sometimes it’s great to set up a crinkly tent on the damp edge of a gushing river and camp out under the stars with someone you love. Sometimes it’s great to shutter in and veg out on the pizza-sauce-stained corduroy couch during a snowy winter break at school. Sometimes it’s great to slap on baggy khaki shorts and a bright, flowery shirt and fly to a distant island just to lay on a hot, sandy beach in front of the blue, glittery ocean.

Sometimes it’s great to step back and stare at the clouds and trees.

Sometimes it’s great to let your thoughts float high and float free.

Sometimes it’s great to close your eyes and let it all just slip away.

Sometimes it’s great to forget the clock and dream a dream today.


Slow and steady, baby

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#633 Finding something you lost a really long time ago way after you gave up looking for it

Keep them closeIt happened late last night.

Cruising down the highway, heading home from the airport, my friend Shiv absentmindedly rifled through my passenger side door full of old computer-printed directions, parking stubs, and cracked jewel cases.

“What’s this?”, she asked, popping open a flimsy case and pulling out a dusty, scratched up mix CD. “It just has the date marked on it with a Sharpie. Uh, let’s see, what happened on November 14, 2006?”

“No way!,” I said, glancing over my shoulder and seeing one of my favorite mixes ever which I thought I lost two years ago. My mind suddenly flashed back to late summer nights zooming up the highway to my parent’s place after long nights with lost loves.

But isn’t it always like that?

Bolted out of our heartsCome on, you know and I know it: finding something you lost long ago after you gave up looking for it is such a great high because you already lived through all the emotions:

• Step 1. The Alarm. This is when your sunglasses or bus pass first go missing. It hits you like a rubber mallet to the forehead when you first realize it’s gone. Poof, just like that, as if your digital watch or favorite pen grew legs and Usain Bolted out of town.

Step 2. The Search. Next you organize the neighbors and head into the dark, foggy night holding lanterns and pitchforks before linking elbows and combing the cornfields until dawn. The next few days are a blurry haze of sleepless nights as you lay on a blanket on the damp riverbed watching the police boats drag the bottom for clues.

Step 3. The Grieve. The trawler nets can’t locate your cell phone or favorite glittery lip gloss so you’re forced to face facts and come to grips with reality. It’s gone, long gone, gone like the wind, and now all that remain are long, rambly stories late at the bar and lonely nights sobbing into your pillow.

People, we’ve all been there.

After you’ve lost, searched, and come up empty, you move on. Time helps, distance helps, but the memories never disappear. You try downloading songs from the mix tape and piecing them back together or go out and buy a new digital camera with an empty memory card to replace the one you lost with a full one.

But it’s just never the same.

… until one day

… a long time later

… …… … … when you least expect it

… … …… … … … the thing you lost comes back!

Disposable camera, permanent memoriesYes, while unzipping the side pocket of your travel bag you suddenly spot the diamond earrings that went missing after your cousin’s wedding four years ago. While reaching into the bowels of your messy trunk looking for a flashlight, you suddenly tug on a sweatshirt sleeve that’s been buried under a set of golf clubs since the Spring. And after you slim down and toss on the sassy blazer you wore to prom, guess what’s hanging out in that inside pocket? Brother, it’s your crumpled tie or that wind-up disposable camera with half the film used up from the big night.

When this happens your eyes pop and your jaw drops because you can hardly believe you’re seeing your old friend’s face right in front of you again. Chills rocket up your spine, love sucker punches your chest, and big salty tears well in the corners of your eyes before streaming like hot rivers down your cheeks.

You laugh, sniffle, and shake your head before giving the person beside you a big hug and smiling up at the world. Clouds part, bugles blare, and everything fills up with the giant swelling sensation of


Get your bling back

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#634 That moment on a roller coaster after you get to the top of the first hill and just before you go down it

Get your hands up in the airYou drive to the park, you walk to the gate, you get your hand stamped, you run to the line, you move up, you grab a hot-dog, you move up, you check your watch, you get to the front, you jump in the ride, and then the big moment finally arrives: the screechy cars start moving, there’s some rumbly bumping, and you’re cranking up the big first hill while all you hear is tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick.

Then there’s a short, quiet pause as you teeter on the top and float for a brief second as the cars tip down, your stomach twists around, and your arms wave high in the air as you get ready to scream.


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#635 When the hiccups finally stop

She's no rookieHow do you get rid of a bad case of The Hics?

Brother, I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods it’s all about the junk science moves. Yes, when your diaphragm starts spazzing, it’s time to keep cool, keep calm, keep collected and try one of these:

1. The Backwards Sip. Tilt your neck to your chest and drink upside-down from the wrong side of a glass of water. Wet bangs, stinging eyes, and a drippy forehead means you did it right.

2. Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice. Some people say eating a spoonful of sugar or gargling with sugar water helps. Hey, any cure that sounds delicious works for me, so I say give it a shot. While you’re at it try scarfing a couple Oh Henry’s for that bum knee and chugging a few cans of Jolt cola for that eyelash stuck in your eye.

spoonful of sugar3. The Surprise Attack. This where you think someone scaring you will frighten the hiccups away. Of course, popping a paper bag behind you or clapping in your ear isn’t going to cut it. No, this only works when somebody shoves you off an apartment building ledge onto a properly rigged-up safety net below. … Then again, maybe just skip it altogether.

4. The Deep Sea Diver. Fill your lungs up, pop your belly out, and hold your breath as long as possible. If all goes according to plan, your face will turn bright red and look hilarious to all your friends.

Now, come on, let’s face facts, people. None of these usually works so you’re stuck pulling off The Annoying Wait. You think they’re gone, but they’re not, and then you think they’re gone again, but then they’re actually not again, and then you think they’re really gone for sure this time.

And then they actually are.

And in that beautiful moment you just stare up at everybody around you with a sweaty face, tired eyes, and a slow smile curling onto your face. Because when the hiccups finally stop it’s a giant sensation of sweet relief and a big ol’ moment of


Heals what ails yaPhotos from: here, here, and here

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#636 When someone hands you a tissue just as your nose is dripping

Give a little bit of your tissue to meWaiting in a long line for a roller coaster, writing your ninth grade math exam, riding to work on the commuter rail, it suddenly hits you: that slippery Shake, Rattle, n’ Roll way, way, way up your nose.

You tap your pockets, check your purse, but no luck. You’ve got no tissues. You’ve got no napkins.

You’re all alone.

It twitches and it tickles and it drips and it dribbles and before you know it you’re shoved onstage as the curtain rises and floodlights blind your eyes. Yes, it’s the off-off-broadway production of That Drippy Emergency and you’re the star of the show.

Act 1: Sleeve Sliding. Welcome back to sixth grade. You slide your slick and slippery faucet right across your dirty, fraying sweatshirt sleeve. Congratulations! You just bought yourself twenty-five seconds of sweet relief before the pipes burst again.

zack morrisAct 2: The Big Snort. Get your head in the game. Here’s where you pull a Zack Morris-like Time-Out, pause the world around you, and just yank your head up real fast while snorting as stiffly as possible. You smell dirty dust in the air and the crisp winter breeze zooms in to chill your brain. The Big Snort isn’t always pretty, but you’re just reading the lines.

• Act 3: Wet Lips. Eventually your tired face stares grimly in the distance. You give up for a moment and just let go. Two little garden hoses drip down your mustache groove and salt up your lips. Don’t deny you’ve gone this route before. Sometimes you’ve got no choice.

Act 4: The Replacement Player. Blow, blow, blow into whatever you can find that seems closest to a tissue. Scratchy brown paper towel, piece of paper from the laser printer, squeezed-and-folded toilet paper roll, or maybe just the ol’ Bare Hands With A Sink Nearby move.

If you’ve ever performed the entire production of That Drippy Emergency, then you know it’s not a great gig. Nope, the pay is bad, the hours are terrible, and you’re an embarrassing slobbery mess for a few minutes.

That’s why it’s great when someone tosses you a tissue.


blowing nosePhotos from: here, here, and here

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#637 Rocking out on air guitar and other assorted air instruments

air drumsOh, there’s more than just guitar.

How many of these other air classics have you pulled off?

1. Air drums. Riding shotgun and nailing solos on the dashboard or cooking dinner and feeling the beats on the kitchen counter, you either go with the My-Fingers-Are-Drumstricks method or the My-Fists-Are-Holding-Air-Drumsticks method. Both sound excellent.

2. Air Keyboard. No Air Resume is complete without some strong Air Keyboard experience. Nail it by squeezing your eyes shut, raising your brows, biting your lip, and swaying back and forth.

air harmonica3. Air Harmonica. Using sparingly for Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty songs.

4. Air Cow Bell. If you master Air Cow Bell, be prepared to be invited to all the coolest parties and hottest dances. Bonus points for playing with a giant, open-mouthed smile and wildly bobbing head while being really, really tall.

Yes, rocking out in a state of air-playing bliss is one of life’s great joys. When you’re in the zone there’s a tear in the fabric of space-time and you’re suddenly transported to a sold out Air Stage in front of millions and millions of sweaty screaming Air Fans.

Your big buckets of passion and never-ending supply of energy helps keep our planet spinning, so pump those fists, nail those high notes, and rock on, rock star, rock on.


air familyPhotos from: here, here, and here

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#639 Actually carrying all the groceries in from the car in one awkward trip

time to get into itIt’s been a long afternoon.

Making a list, checking it twice, heading to the store for milk, bread, and rice.

Brother, let’s face facts: when you finally wheel onto your slippery leaf-covered driveway with a trunk full of wet celery, rolling apples, and melting ice-cream, all you wanna do is finish the job quick.

It’s time to put her in park and start yanking bag after bag from the trunk and start holding them with every possible bag-holding-body-part you got.

First grab the heavy bags of milk and potatoes with one hand and the 2L bottles of Coke and frozen lasagnas with the other. Then pile on the fruits, veggies, yogurts, and be careful with those eggs, careful with the eggs there. Now while teetering awkwardly with eight plastic bags digging into your forearms, just grit your teeth and grab the final bag of bread and cold cuts with your left pinky while squeezing a giant, bulk-pack of toilet paper under your right armpit.

Now shut the trunk and lock the door using only your elbow, chin, and teeth.

Annnnnnnd … you’re good!

Oh sure, it’s not very majestic, but it’ll have to do because there is no way you’re coming back out here again. No, you did your job and now it’s time for your spouse and kids to fill the fridge and pantry — so just run in the door, toss the bags on the floor, and scream “I’m back from the store!”


mule carrying frozen lasagnas to mountaintopPhotos from: here and here

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