#748 Going really high on the swings

Because now you’re finally tall and can look down at the world below you. Gone are those constant views of ankles, coffee table legs, and your family cat’s hollow, piercing eyes. Now you’re zooming up and over gardens, sandlots, and your baby brother’s distant, fading cries.

Stomach gushing, adrenaline rushing, it’s your first taste of the high life.

AWESOME!

Close your eyes and feel the windPhoto from: here

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#749 The satisfaction of finally settling the group bill after dinner

The root cause of the problemGut busting with chicken chow mein, nursing a fried rice hangover, your frenzied hour of pillaging the steam trays quickly dissolves into a table full of sticky-smeared plates, bloated bellies, and quiet groaning.

Folks, if you’re like me this scene is called The End of The Buffet, a dimly-lit freeze-frame featuring you and your friends lazily sliding in chairs with slack jaws and heavy eyelids.

And it gets worse, too.

The chipper waitress drops off the bill and everybody just eyes each other suspiciously. Who owes who money? Who ordered drinks and who didn’t? Is anyone riding a fat paycheck high and feeling generous? Since I am an extremely cheap person, I generally choose this exact moment to skedaddle to the bathroom in the hopes that everyone else will overpay and allow me to just drop a fiver on the stack before heading out.

Of course, it never works out that way.

You know what you need to do, Math GuyInstead, I return to an untouched bill and generally get pegged as Math Guy, also known as The Job Nobody Wants After Dinner. See, my friends start chatting about what movie to see and I’m suddenly stuck with my head down, brows furrowed, figuring out tips, collecting cash, and trying to follow the paper trails of who paid what.

If you’re hanging out with me and my friends then Math Guy is a doubly terrible job because we’re always forty bucks short. People shrug, eye contact is avoided, and there are some phantom wallet reaches, until we figure out that two people didn’t add tax and tip and one guy still needs to get cash from the bank machine.

Holla if you’ve been there.

Math Guys and Math Girls of the world, we feel each other’s pain. It’s tough asking people to put more money in and sometimes we just reach into our own wallets to get the job done. Twenties are broken, coins are counted, and there is constant checking and rechecking that it all adds up right.

Yes, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, then you know that moment of quiet satisfaction when you finally close that sticky, vinyl, duck-sauce smeared billfold over a stack of crumpled bills and sliding coins.

Because at that exact moment the shackles of Math Guy are finally busted.

And you’re free.

AWESOME!

Now go see a movie

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#750 Dangling your feet in a lake or swimming pool

drip those feetFeet need to breathe.

People, people, we’ve discussed this before. Those corny paws sure are sitting ugly at the bottom of the You Chain. Stepped on, squished on, dripping with sweat, they’re down low all day long getting no damn respect.

So once in a while give them a well deserved break. That’s right, girlfriend: peel the hot socks off, roll the tight jeans up, and flash them sexy ankles, because it’s time to drop your bare, aching feet into some cool, waiting water.

Yes, that gentle lapping on the edge of the dock, side of the boat, or in the hotel pool is just calming, soothing, and good for the soul.

And good for the sole.

AWESOME!

Rodney Dangerfield has a lot in common with your feetPhotos from: here and here

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#751 Sitting on a grassy hill in the dark watching fireworks

Fire trickles and drips across the sky, old folks huddle and cuddle and babies cry, teenagers squeeze sweaty palms and look up, up way high. Because light fills the night, kabooms bang in the air, conversation stops, jaws drop, we all crane our necks up … and stare. Yes, when those fireworks erupt, when they splash in the dark, when those bright waterfalls drip down into our park, we all ooh and ahh at them big beautiful sparks.

AWESOME!

fireworksPhoto from: here

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#753 When your sneeze stutter-stops for a second but then comes booming out

the sweet releaseYour head is a machine.

Honestly, just face it: your face and scalp are really just oily gift wrap over the giant, whirring Skull Factory running full-throttle inside your coconut. Just think about what’s going on up there.

First you’ve got sound waves constantly navigating your twisty, waxy ear canals like Luke Skywalker weaving through Death Star trenches. Then there’s your nose on permanent high sniff alert, searching out gas leaks in the basement, fresh croissants at the bakery, or coffee aisles in the grocery store. And we can’t forget your mouth and nose dancing together in the majestic art of breathing.

Some sort of sound wave metaphor

But wait, that’s not all. On top of these rickety assembly lines of important Head Business, you’ve got blood swirling around, mucus dripping all over the place, and neurons firing and bouncing off walls like a never ending game of Breakout.

Skull Factory’s a busy place, folks. The line keeps moving every day, every night, every year, forever.

BreakoutGiven how much is going on it’s no wonder the gears get gummed up once in a while. Rogue lashes jam your sockets, popsicles give you brainfreeze, and sneezes stall in your clogged-up noggin just as they’re trying to escape.

And you know what that feels like.

Face frozen in an awkward crunch, you stare at the ceiling and hold your hand up to your friend, pleading with the factory foreman to please just let it out. One eye popped open, the other squeezed shut, you clench your cheeks, twist your mouth into a triangle, and feel the lost sneeze pinball around your skull.

And then BOOM.

How good does it feel when that sneeze finally comes ripping out? The sweet release feels like someone yanking a red-hot, twisted wrench out of your grinding, crunched-up and steaming headgears to let all the oily, metal parts suddenly start whirring again.

You feel wild, you feel refreshed, and you just got a big face splash of

AWESOME!

Midnight shiftPhotos from: here, here, here, and here

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#754 Filling your car with gas just before the price goes up

It's getting pricey out thereHere’s how it all goes down.

Well-dressed fatcats sit around a dark, mahogany table in the boardroom of a nondescript highrise deep in a dense metropolis on the coast of an exotic country. Anonymous and alone, they sip scotch, share pictures of new yachts, and make plans to jack gas prices for the long weekend.

Cuff links clinking on crystal glasses, celebratory cigar smoke filling the room, the gas execs laugh deep belly laughs, high-ten each other, and then file into limos to take them back to the airport. And of course, just before they leave, everyone does a shot of high-octane gasoline to keep the memory fresh and the evil juices flowing.

At least that’s how I imagine it.

After all, gas prices bob up and down and up and down and seemingly rise up whenever you cruise up to fill up for the weekend. We all know it’s a constant game and a constant battle.

But that’s why there’s something fun about watching those prices drip and drop ever so slowly throughout the week and then pulling in to fill your tank just before they zoom sky-high again.

Honestly, when you nail it just right you walk away laughing, patting the extra three dollars in your pocket and daydreaming of how you might spend it this time. Lottery ticket, windshield washer fluid, maybe some beef jerky for the ride home. Either way, you’ll be sitting pretty when you cruise by the station on a full tank tomorrow and notice the prices are hiked back up.

Bottom line, man: you came out to play the Gas Game this week.

And you won.

AWESOME!

Let's remind folks what we're playing for herePhoto from: here and here

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#755 When you get to the bus stop right as the bus is wheeling around the corner

The opposite of the goodThin, flimsy plastic sheets propped up on wobbly rods shudder in the wind as the sleet shoots sideways and you shiver and shake in the dark and lonely bus shelter.

Wrapped in thin gloves and a thick, wet scarf, you stand patiently as your book-filled backpack silently jabs your spine and strains your shoulders. Fingers freezing, knees shaking, you wince and hug yourself as you keep looking way up the street, wishing, hoping, praying that you’ll please please see the bus heading right for you.

Folks, we’ve all been there and it’s not a pretty scene.

But hey, that’s what makes it so great when you hit one of those magic moments where you arrive at the bus stop just as the bus peels out from around the corner.

here she comesPupils dilate, eyebrows rise, and a clown-faced smile curls onto your face as you realize you just hit the Public Transportation Jackpot.

Yes, in those perfect scenes you’re suddenly a Bus Fleet Fatcat, swimming in tickets and tokens, commanding your private army of Sugar Rollers around town to pick you up and drop you off as you see fit. Baby, if you’re feeling this buzz, then there’s no reason you can’t get right into it, too — whistling with both pinkies just before it stops or clapping your hands beside your ear twice as if you’re hailing it for real.

And how perfect is it when this dream scene ends with the bus stopping right in front of you, the door swinging open, and the bright, round-faced driver flashing you a big toothy smile and a tip of the cap as you walk in the door.

AWESOME!

time for some lucky numbersPhotos from: here, here, and here

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#757 Taking your shoes off on a long car or plane ride

The goalTreat your feet.

Come on, just look at them laying there in front of you as you relax in the backseat of the car. Sure, you’re just loving it back there, your shaggy locks whipping with the wind, your hand sailing carelessly out the window, and your head lightly bopping to the faint beat from the Buddy Holly tune on the radio.

But your feet, they are not fine, they are not carefree, and they ain’t bopping to no beat. No, they’re slippery, salty, and sweaty, wrapped tightly in a hot pocket of suffocating socks and shoes. Yes, buried deep under dense layers of cotton, wool, and leather, your aching soles are itching for some sweet release and a breath of fresh air.

So just let them out, friend.

Yes, when the car slips onto the sideroads, the bus hits the interstate, or the plane tips up for liftoff, it’s time to tug those laces and pull your paws right out of the Sweatcave.

Sock removal is optional, but what’s not optional is rubbing your feet against that little bar thing that’s hanging down from the seat in front of you on the bus or airplane to give your stiff, aching soles The Massage Of Their Life.

How good does that feel?

So next time, you’re goin’ to the grocer, goin’ faster than a roller coaster, remember that breaks like this will, rarely come your way. A-hey, a-hey-hey.

‘Cause everyday, life seems a little faster, things slip up, plans turn into disaster, so ditch your kicks and find a little escape. A-hey, a-hey-hey.

AWESOME!

Photos from: hereand here

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But your feet, they are not fine, they are not carefree, they are not bopping to the beat. No, they’re slippery, salty, and sweaty, wrapped tightly in a hot pocket of suffocating shoes and socks. Buried under deep, dense layers of cotton, wool, leather, and Velcro, your aching soles are aching for a break.

So just let them out, friend.

Yes, when the car slips onto the sideroads, the plane lifts up for liftoff, or the ship sets sail for somewhere far away, it’s time to tug those laces

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