#307 The Sniff Test

Works on underwear, milk, and babies.

If it smells bad it’s bad.

If it smells good it’s

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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#308 Joking with the staff

I eat out a lot.

I’m not proud of it but living alone downtown surrounded by greasy burger joints, neon sandwich signs, and late-night pizza places means I’m often tempted to trade a crinkly fiver for a waxy-wrapped package in a paper bag.

Sometimes I step into the zone of an empty sub shop or barren pizza place and it feels like I’m walking onto a late night talk show stage. Someone’s filling napkin dispensers while another chops tomatoes and they’ll be joking like Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. They’ll be in tears laughing at something funny from a few moments before and I won’t know if someone dropped a jar of olives on their foot, a customer ordered a slice of pizza for their cat, or the boss got beet red because nobody ordered receipt tape for the register.

No, I won’t know what’s going on but if I’m lucky they’ll invite me onstage.

Just a few nights ago I walked into a greasy hole in the wall with my friends Nick and Julie and two guys behind the counter were having some sort of hilarious engaging argument. When we walked in they turned to us quickly and one of them immediately yelled out “Hey … what’s a perm?”

We laughed and Nick jumped in quickly to clarify: “What, you mean like in someone’s hair?”

“Yeah, exactly bro. Like, one of us thinks it’s when you make your hair curly and the other think it’s when you make your hair straight. Which one is it?”

He leaned on the cash register with his fist under his chin and with the furrowed brow and squinty eyes sort of looked like a modern day version of The Thinker, only wearing a paper hat. The other guy was laughing behind him while pulling a dripping basket of wet fries from the bubbling hot oil.

“I dunno, I think it stands for permanent,” Julie started up. “Like, anything you do to permanently change your hair in a new way. So … you’re probably both right. Or both horribly wrong.”

A few seconds later we were having mock-serious debates and laughing out loud in a tiny hilarious connection in our dusty neon world. It was a great moment and it made me realize that joking with the staff is always a great time.

Yes, whether you’re laughing with the ladies at the laundromat, trading barbs with the barbers at the shop, or joking with the jail guards in the joint — well, it just means you nailed your cameo appearance onstage.

Congratulations on a great walk on performance.

Today you win the Best Supporting Actress of

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#309 When you’re sleeping and the sounds around you turn into dreams

Snores are steam trains, clock radios are car alarms, and the neighbor building a deck outside is suddenly knocking urgently at your front door.

When the sounds around your sleeping self magically morph into new stories in new worlds it’s a sign that the plump pile of pink flesh floating inside your head bone has a pretty wild imagination and is capable of turning tiny things into big ideas.

Your eyes are closed, your fingers limp, and your breathing is as deep and rhythmic as ocean waves … but lightning flashes in your brain, faces flash and stories strain, as you float deeper and live longer through otherworldly travels and thoughts.

When you wake up don’t forget to keep bubbling with big ideas, race those winning races, and keep your heart beating fast in heart beating moments.

Being a dreamer is great fun.

Being a dreamer is

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#310 Laughing in bed

Flip the switch.

After touch-feeling your way past the bed frame and slow-peeling your way under the sheets you blindly slip and shiver into the cool and cozy comfort of your beautifully dented bed.

And whether you’re giggling in the bunks with your brother, whispering in sleeping bags at a slumber party, or just lazing around on a sleepy Sunday morning with your wrinkly sweetheart of fifty years… well isn’t it a beautiful moment when you’re suddenly smiling in pitch blackness and laughing in a pajama-clad moment of intimacy.

Laughs in bed are a little bonus at the end of a long day.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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#311 Finding out what song is in that commercial

Your brain is glue.

Long after the cars are finished off-roading up a mountainside or speeding around a cliffside bend the jingle-jangly tune that accompanied those smooth rolling moments is still smooth rolling around your head.

Yes, it bumps around your brain at the office and you find yourself finger-tapping the steering wheel home. It jumps around your brain in the shower and you find yourself humming when you’re all alone. So maybe you search online for broken lyrics until you find spam-filled discussion boards full of other people looking for the same tune.

But that’s what makes it so great when you ask your friends, you wait for it again, you look online, and eventually find those few blissful minutes of soul-strumming

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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#312 The sound of a train coming into the station

First you wait.

Cold wind whips you on the lonely platform as you shudder and shuffle in the rain. Whether you’re catching the commuter train downtown, backpacking home from college, or visiting in-laws out of town you’re alone in that barren platform zone, baby.

So you wait … and wait … and wait … and wait… and wait… and wait… and wait…until!

There is a light.

Yes, staring down those distant rails you spot a tiny yellow light glowing like a flashlight of hope at the top of dark well. Reflections flicker and shine off the metal rails and suddenly your desire, dreams, and destiny all twist into a long string of giant metal cars rushing and rumbling towards you.

Crowds jostle and businessmen sigh while bells start ringing and babies cry. If you’re lucky you might get that whisper-flipping sound of a thousand panels in an old train schedule board flipping all at once while the chugging engines and screaming steam whips the wind together and that streaking steel finally slows to a screeching stop.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#313 Showing old people how to do something on a computer

It makes you feel like a genius.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

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#314 Watching bartenders work really fast

It’s more than a pour.

Watching a bartender work really fast is like staring through the factory glass and watching all the whirring parts bump and grind before your beautiful finished drink pops out. Yes, you’re the foreman in a hardhat standing with a clipboard and a smile watching all the bells ring, springs spring, and assembly lines ding before a glass full of ice, cherries, and umbrellas pops out right before your eyes.

Now, there are some key moves mastered by most really, really fast bartenders:

1. Throwing things. There’s no time to place the bottle cap in the trash can so it’s important to fling it off the mirror and let it Plinko down between all the vodka and Peach Schnapps bottles on the bar.

2. Absolutely no talking. In a way really, really fast bartenders are like really, really fast mimes. Usually they’ll raise their eyebrows or put their ear in for the order and then immediately start slicing lemons, stirring glasses, and squeezing taps without speaking. Black clothes and painted teardrops optional, unless you’re in a goth bar.

3. No official measurements. Forget the rules because really, really fast bartenders trust their eyeballs and know their mix ratios cold.

Yes, when you watch a bartender work really fast you’re seeing an expert in action. Eyes are focused, feet are fleet, and hands are steady in these beautifully intense scenes of quick pours, expert fills, and fast and furious moments of

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#315 When someone decorates your locker or cubicle for your birthday

It’s your second home.

Sure, you might shower and sleep on a suburban street but you probably spend most of your waking hours somewhere else — at a high school, in a cubicle, at the factory, on a  farm. Maybe your second home is a dimly-lit and dusty hallway or maybe it’s a dirty desk near the bathroom.

That’s why it’s such a beautiful moment when you arrive at that second home and find it completely decorated for your birthday. Yes, the gang all pitched in to tie streamers around your monitor, tape Hubba Bubba wrappers to your locker, or drape a spraypainted bedsheet reading “Happy 40th!!!” around the grain silo.

It’s a sign behind all those marathon meetings, late-night projects, and crazy deadlines there’s a bunch of great folks who care about you. When your daytime pals celebrate another year of your life it’s another moment of smiles, another moment of laughs, and another big moment of

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#316 Grabbing a tissue at the last second before sneezing

You’re Jack Bauer.

The clock’s clicking and sweat is pouring down your forehead because you know a bomb is about to go off… on your face! You can feel that sneeze tingle up where your brain connects to your eyeball and you know it’s about to boom out in a showery snotstorm the likes of which this dentist’s waiting room has never seen before.

Now it’s time to look left, look right, and get ready to pull off one of three big moves:

1. Slime Explosion. You didn’t make it. Cue the Family Feud buzzer. Nope, after frantically checking your pockets and combing through your glove compartment you eventually came up empty as the sneeze blew out your face. Now your hands are drenched, your lips are sticky, and you’re disgustingly snotty slimeball of humiliation. Time to find a bathroom or get licking. (-5 points)

2. The Understudy. This is where you couldn’t find a tissue but managed to sneeze into a substitute, just in the nick of time. Yes, you scrounged whatever random thing you could find in two seconds and now you’re holding a slippery n’ soggy Burger King placemat, grocery store receipt, or sweatshirt sleeve. (+5 points) (Note: +3 bonus points are awarded for pulling this off while holding a cafeteria tray in both hands.)

3. Mission Accomplished. You made it! You tapped your jeans pockets, fumbled through your fat purse, or ran to the bathroom as that sneeze was ticklingly the top of your nose. You dove for the tissue box and scrunched it to your nose just as the bomb was going off. (+10 points)

Grabbing a tissue at the last second before sneezing is a beautiful moment. You just swooped in when time was counting down and saved the day doing what you do best.

So today we say thank you for dry shirt sleeves. Thank you for dry lips.

And thank you… most of all… for freedom.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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