#994 Waiters and waitresses who bring you free refills without asking

Ice coldOn the whole, we’re pretty nasty to waiters and waitresses. We complain they’re wasting our time if the food takes too long to come, we complain they’re trying to rush us out if the food comes too early. We warn about allergies, make special requests, ask for more bread, and talk openly about their tip while they’re busing the table next to us. We’re kings barking orders from the booth and they’re sweating peasants in aprons and pieces of flair with dirty J-cloths hanging out their back pocket.

Waiters and waitresses have to put up with us and paste wide, toothy grins across their faces, besides. They split bills, sop up spills, and slip and slide across slick kitchen floors for us.

Despite this all-odds-against-them setup, there are a few gems out there, a few rare, bright gems, who deliver perfect waiter or waitressessness. Perfection here is defined solely as bringing free refills to the table without us even asking. Because nothing beats ice-filled towers of cola arriving unannounced at our table, just as we’re finishing up our spinach and artichoke dip for a perfectly timed palate cleanse before the big entrée. The only things that come close are ice-filled towers of cola arriving unannounced right after the entrée and ice-filled towers of cola arriving unannounced with the check and handful of mints.

…Three hours later, when you lay bloated on the coach, your entire meal swimming in the carbonated sea that is your digestive system, I know your eyelids will droop heavily and your posture will slide, but I also know you’ll give a thin, subtle smile, and a slow, sure thumbs-up sign when anyone asks “How was dinner?”

AWESOME!

Free refill is on its way

Read More

#995 Finding money in your old coat pocket

An old roommate of mine was sifting through and tossing out some old birthday cards once when a crisply entombed twenty dollar bill slid out of a faded card from Grandma. Her eyebrows perked up, her mouth formed a perfect O, and she raised her hand up top for a high five, which I promptly delivered.

Finding a bill zipped up in last year’s ski jacket, laying wet and crumpled in the washing machine, or folded in the pocket of your booze-smelling blazer is such a great high. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but this sure comes close.

Such a great highFinding your own money is a lot like discovering an entirely new currency, one that cannot be used to pay down debts or obligations, but only has value when purchasing stuff you probably don’t need and wouldn’t have bought otherwise, like an old-school beanie cap, novelty ten-pound Toblerone bar, or high-octane gasoline. It is disposable income in the truest sense of the phrase.

For the pessimists out there, you may be saying “Barumph! That money has been all chewed up by time and inflation, slowly losing value and unaccumulating interest while prices ramp right on up, making my life less and less affordable. That found money could have purchased more before I lost it than it can today, so why should I celebrate my own stupidity?”

But Pessy, come on, we’re talking about found money here — money that hasn’t been budgeted for, accounted for, remembered for, promised for, or owed for, anything at all, since you lost it! Surely the few sacrificed cents of interest in the bank are a small price to pay for holding that folded up bill, right up to the sky, in your tightly clenched fist, with no claims to satisfy. Sure, it may smell a bit like mothballs, Tide, or Grandma’s skin cream, but that money still works. And it works well.

So let’s call found money what it really is then.

AWESOME!

New form of currency

The App of Awesome

“Thank you so much Neil and all you guys that created this app. 1000 awesome things has never failed to brighten my day, and it is incredible to just sit with a friend and laugh at the simple pleasures in life. That is what makes this app AWESOME!” – shojogirl

“Finding out 1000 Awesome Things now has an app. AWESOME!” –  sds12345

This is one of the best apps I have downloaded! Getting an awesome thing sent to my phone every morning makes my day a little brighter! I highly recommend getting this app – I guarantee it brings a smile to your face on a daily basis!” – Briep

Read More

#997 Locking people out of the car and then pretending to drive away

There are so many different levels to this classic gag.

There’s Version 1.0 which involves a car full of people, a gas station bathroom break, the locked door, and the slow rolling drive away while the victim knocks on the window and pretends not to care. This version is Locking People Out Of The Car And Pretending To Drive Away Lite, a tame version of the gag intended to induce a few giggles without any tense moments. Just some G-rated comic relief for the long drive home. Version 1.0 is the most commonly practiced version out there and is the officially sponsored and recommended version by 1000 Awesome Things.

Trouble

Next up is a version that’s a bit more advanced than Version 1.0 but not quite at the level of Version 2.0. We’ll call it Version 1.5, also known as The Big Tease. The Big Tease works as long as the victim leaves their car door open. That open door is critical to pull it off. To execute, the driver simply waits until the victim is approaching the car and then drives away slowly with the door hanging wide open like a big tease. The Big Tease works fine on small or large cars, but is especially effective in vans with sliding doors. You’ve got that big van door just sitting there wide open and the victim may figure it’s worth running and jumping for it. There’s really no telling what could happen in this situation. Just remember to be safe out there.

Next comes Version 2.0 which involves a car full of people, a gas station bathroom break, the locked door, and a complete drive away, lap of the gas station, and return after a minute or two. Big difference here is that Version 2.0 dials up the fear notch a little, instills a tiny bit of bootshake in our helpless victim. When the car comes back some name-calling goes down, but nothing too serious. Still — this one’s not recommended for children twelve and under. Let’s call it Rated T for Teen.

And then finally there’s the grandaddy of them all, the one and only Version 3.0. A real cooker, Version 3.0 involves a car full of people, a gas station bathroom break, the locked door, and a full-out drive away into the sunset, without any eventual return. The victim is left curbside, casually spooning up a McFlurry as they walk around for a couple minutes, expecting the car to come sweeping around the corner any second. But no… the car never comes back. Unless practiced in walking distance of the victim’s house, Version 3.0 can be devastating. And it’s rarely executed and not recommended for obvious reasons: its potential to destroy relationships…to destroy relationships…forever.

AWESOME!

Follow us on Instagram!

Photos from: here, here, and here

Read More

#998 Getting grass stains when you shouldn’t be getting grass stains

First of all, getting a grass stain means that you were running around at high speeds without proper equipment. Maybe you slid last-minute to avoid a frozen tag or made an awkward, somersault dive at a line-drive wiffleball. Either way, the grass stain symbolizes your large, devil-may-care investment in having balls-out fun, and that’s something worth respecting.

See, boring people, like myself, rarely get grass stains running around because we’re always doing it in Umbros and shinpads from 7:30 to 8:25pm on Mondays down at the indoor Sportpark.

Now, when you’re just running around full throttle in cords and a sweater until you trip on a rock and fall down a hill, my friend that is something. Walk home with pants full of grass stains, some spicy kneeburn, and mud-caked shoes, and you’ve just had yourself a great day.

AWESOME!

Hold on to that cookie!

— Follow us on Twitter

Read More

#999 That last, crumby triangle in a bag of potato chips

Kick-starting a bag of potato chips is pretty much standard — you open with the double-pincer, squeeze-and-pop technique, start fishing out the prime, full-bodied chips at the top of the heap, and then start working your way down to the half-broken chips in the middle of the bag. A few minutes in you’ve chomped your way down to the bottom and you might think you’re pretty much done.

But that’s just the beginning.

That’s when you get to the best part, that’s when you get to that last, crumby triangle of potato chips wedged right in the corner of the bag. You know what I’m talking about. Usually at this point your lips and face are covered in grease-crumbs and your fingers are neon orange, coated in a thin film of salty saliva.

That delicious patch of potato powder is all yours, but to get it you haMirrory Wellve to get a bit dirty:

  • First of all, you won’t be able to see your fingers down that crinkly, mirrory well so you have to tilt the bag sideways and size up that crumby triangle for what it’s worth. See what you’re dealing with here. Commit to a game plan.
  • Next, even though your fingers might already be wet at this point, it’s best to be safe with the ol’ Thumb & Index Finger Pre-Lick. Come on, slide them right in and out of your mouth, don’t be shy. Remember: the crumbs are in there deep, and your slightly sticky spit-glue will help mine the greasy plunder.
  • Next — attack! Wedge your wet thumb and forefinger in there hard, and squeeze until you feel like you’ve got most of it. Then pull out quick, and in one swift move sweep and drop that last, crumby triangle right onto your tongue, making sure to lick the stubborn remains off your fingers while saying Mmmm a lot.

And you’re done!

Exhibit A

Now, while the Thumb & Index Corner Pinch move is grittier and more explosive, there is a backup technique that will still get the job done if you don’t like to get your hands dirty. Those in the biz know what I’m talking about: The Dump-Truck Bag-Tilt Maneuver. This one requires two hands, a gaping mouth, and a forty-five degree angle to turn the trick. You can use it alone or in tandem.

But either way, almost entirely composed of salt and artificial flavor, that last crumby, triangle packs a full flavor finishing move, unlike the watered down sip at the end of a soft drink cup, the stump at the bottom of a muffin, or the toothbreaking kernals hiding in that last handful of popcorn.

AWESOME!

The Book of Awesome has spent 8 straight years on the bestseller list!

Read More

#1000 Broccoflower

About two years ago I noticed something funny as I flipped through a grocery store flyer. On the produce page was an ugly, green-looking cauliflower, with the caption “$2.99! Broccoflower!” It was hilarious. A green cauliflower labelled as a Broccoflower. The bizarre misfit child from two of nature’s most hideous vegetables. The best part is that people usually don’t believe me when I mention it and, to top it off, I’ve never seen it advertised since — like the mutant Broccoflower was shunned by society and has since flown home.

AWESOME!

Read More

Read this first! A 30-second summary of me and this blog!

Hey everyone,

My name is Neil Pasricha and here’s me in 30 seconds!

Read More

#2 Stopping to remember how lucky we are to be here right now

Over dinner one night my dad started telling me about his first day in Canada.

It was 1968 and he was twenty-three, arriving on a plane with eight dollars in his pocket to start a new life by himself in a country he had never visited.

“A community group had a welcome dinner for new immigrants,” he started excitedly “And they had a big table of food!”

I was unimpressed.

“A table of food,” I agreed flatly while staring straight ahead and flipping past baseball highlights on TV.

“A table of food,” he continued. “Basically Neil, all the presentation of the picnic food on the table, I didn’t recognize. There were two or three kinds of salad. Potato salad, macaroni salad, maybe coleslaw. Probably four different kinds of sandwiches, ham sandwich, turkey sandwich, chicken sandwich, roast beef sandwich. Then there were the main courses they called it, you know, tuna casserole? Then the desserts was pies. Which I never seen pies before.”

I put down the remote and glanced at him cock-eyed. Behind the thick, boxy glasses, I could see his eyes darting wildly.

“How did you know what everything was?”

“My brother was there, so I will ask him and he told me whatever it is. The trays of cold cuts was different, instead of regular chicken they have sliced them, sometimes they have them rolled with the toothpick in them. I had never seen cold cuts before, I seen chicken in chicken form, but not rolled up. Same for cheese… some were in slices, some of them in squares.”

“What did you eat?” I asked.

“I ate everything, that’s the only way to get to know! That’s how you get exposed when you don’t know, just try different things. I can’t believe how many things you can get here!”

My dad would take me to the grocery store and marvel at the signs beside every fruit. He was fascinated that pineapples came from Costa Rica and kiwis were shipped from New Zealand. Sometimes he came home and opened an atlas to find out where the countries were. “Somebody brought dates from Morocco and dropped them five minutes from the home.”

He’d just smile and shake his head.

But if I really stop to think about it, a lot had to happen before we could be here right now. A lot had to happen before we could buy bananas from Ecuador and eat turkey cold cuts, before we could scroll through blogs about warm underwear and cool pillows, before we learned to read anything at all, before we grew tall, before we could talk, before we could walk, before we were even born…

So let’s stop for a second and pull back. Let’s pull way, way, way, way back.

Okay.

You used to be a sperm.

Now don’t get self conscious. We all used to be sperm. Check out the period at the end of this sentence. That tiny little dot is around 600 microns wide. When you were a sperm you were about 40 microns wide. And you were so cute back then too with your little tail wagging all over the place and your love of swimming. Boy could you swim. In fact if you hadn’t outswum your siblings, you might be a slightly different version of yourself right now. Maybe you’d have a higher-pitched laugh, hairier arms, or stand two inches shorter.

You had a great life as a sperm but always felt incomplete. The truth is you weren’t whole until you met an egg. And then you two began a nine month project to make a cool new version of you. It took a while but you grew arms and legs and eyeballs and lungs. You grew nerves and nails and eardrums and tongues.

For a sperm to meet an egg it means your mom met your dad. But it’s not just them. Think about how many people had to meet, fall in love, and make love for you to be here. Here’s the answer: A lot. Like a lot a lot.

Before they had you, none of your ancestors drowned in a pond, got strangled by a python, or skied into a tree. None of your ancestors choked on a peach pit, were trampled by buffalo, or got their tie stuck in an assembly line.

None of your ancestors was a virgin.

You are the most modern, brightest spark of years and years and years of survivors who all had to meet each other in order to eventually make you.

Your nineteenth century Grandma met your nineteenth century Grandpa down at the candle-making shoppe. She liked his muttonchops and he thought she looked cute churning butter.

Your Middle Ages Grandpa met your Middle Ages Grandma while they both poured hot oil from the castle turrets on pillaging vikings. She liked his grunts and he thought the flowers in her hair made her heaving bosoms jump out.

Your Ice Age Grandpa crossing the Bering Bridge in a woolly mammoth fur met your Ice Age Grandma dragging a club in the opposite direction. He liked her saber-tooth necklace and she dug his unibrow.

Your ancient rainforest Grandpa was picking berries naked in the bush while your ancient rainforest Grandma was spearing dodos for dinner. She liked his jungle funk and he liked her cave drawings. If it wasn’t for the picnic they had afterwards, maybe you wouldn’t be here.

You’re pretty lucky all those people met, fell in love, made love, had babies, and raised them into other people who did it all over again. This happened over and over and over again for you to be here. Look around the plane, coffee shop, or park right now. Look at your husband snoring in bed, your girlfriend watching TV, or your sister playing in the backyard. You are surrounded by lucky people. They are all the result of long lines of survivors.

So you’re a survivor, too. You’re the latest and greatest. You’re the top of the line. You’re the very best nature has to offer.

But a lot had to happen before all your strong, fiery ancestors met each other and fell in love over and over again for hundreds of thousands of years …

So let’s stop for a second and pull back again. Let’s pull way, way, way, way back.

Okay.

Let’s go on a field trip. Put your shoes on because we’re heading outside.

Take a bowling ball and drop it on the edge of your driveway. That’s our Sun. Yeah, the ball is only eight inches across and the actual Sun is eight hundred thousand miles across but that’s our scale for this little brainwave. Okay, now walk down your street ten big paces and drop a grain of salt on your neighbor’s lawn. That’s Mercury. Take nine more paces down the street and drop a peppercorn for Venus. And then take another seven paces, so you’re now two or three houses down the block, and toss down another peppercorn.

You got it.

That peppercorn is Earth.

Here we are, basking in the blazing sun, twenty-six big steps away from the bowling ball. Our giant planet is just a tiny speck in the middle of nowhere but here’s the crazy part: It gets a whole lot bigger.

If you keep walking, Mars is only couple more houses away, but Jupiter ends up ninety-five big paces down the street, out of the neighborhood, and halfway to the corner store. By now a dog is probably slobbering in the bowling ball finger holes and kids are flying by you on their bikes, slurping drippy popsicles, and wondering what’s up with this nut tossing crumbs on the sidewalk, acting out some demented suburban version of Hansel and Gretel.

If you want to finish up our solar system, you’re going to have to start taking two- and three-hundred paces for the remaining planets, eventually dropping a grain of salt for Pluto half a mile away from the bowling ball. You can’t see the bowling ball with binoculars and it’s getting cold out for your long walk home.

But here’s the crazier part: That’s just our solar system. That’s just our bunch of rocks flying around our big bright bowling ball star.

Turns out our big bright star and all its salt and peppercorns are racing around a cosmic race track with two hundred billion other big bright bowling ball stars. You’d have to cover the entire Earth with bowling balls eight thousand times to represent the number of stars in our race track. Did we mention this race track has a name? Yup, it’s called the Milky Way galaxy, presumably because the scientists who first noticed it were all eating delicious Milky Way candy bars late that Friday night down at the telescopes.

So basically our bowling ball, salt, and peppercorns are flying in the fast lane around a ridiculously giant race track galaxy called the Milky Way with billions and billions of other bowling balls, salt grains, and peppercorns, too.

But are you ready for the craziest part: That’s just our galaxy. Guess how many giant racetrack galaxies are in all of outer space? Oh, not many. Just more than we can possibly count. Honestly, nobody knows how many galaxies are out there in the big blackness. All we know is that every few years somebody stares out a little further and finds millions more of them just shining way out in the void. We don’t know how deep it goes because our rocketships don’t blast off that far and our thickest, fattest telescopes can’t see that far.

Now, all this space talk might make us feel small and insignificant, but here’s the thing, here’s the big thing, here’s the biggest thing of all: Of the millions of places we’ve ever seen it appears as though Earth is the only place that can support life. The only place! Oh sure, there could be other life-giving planets we haven’t seen yet, but the point is that Earth could easily have been a clump of sulphur gas, be lying in darkness forever, or have a winter that dips a couple hundred degrees and lasts twenty years like Uranus.

On this planet Earth, the only one in the giant dark blackness where anything can live, we ended up being humans.

Congratulations, us!

We are the only species on the only life-giving rock capable of love and magic, architecture and agriculture, jewelry and democracy, airplanes and highway lanes. We’re the only ones with interior design and horoscope signs, fashion magazines and house party scenes, horror flicks with monsters, guitar jams at concerts. We got books, buffets and radio waves, wedding brides and roller coaster rides, clean sheets and good movie seats, bakery air and rain hair, bubble wrap and illegal naps.

We got all that. But people, listen up.

We only get a hundred years to enjoy it.

I’m sorry but it’s true.

Every single person you know will be dead in a hundred years — the foreman at your plant, the cashiers at your grocery store, every teacher you’ve ever had, anyone you’ve ever woken up beside, all the kids on your street, every baby you’ve ever held, every bride who’s walked down the aisle, every telemarketer who’s called you at dinner, every politician in every country, every actor in every movie, everyone who’s cut you off on the highway, everyone in the room you’re sitting in right now, everyone you love, and you.

Life is so great that we only get a tiny moment to enjoy everything we see. And that moment is right now. And that moment is counting down. And that moment is always, always fleeting.

You will never be as young as you are right now.

So whether you’re enjoying your first toothpicked turkey cold cuts and marveling at apples from South Africa, dreaming of strange and distant relatives from thousands of years ago, or staring into the blackness of deep, deep space, just remember how lucky we all are to be here right now.

If you feel that sense of wonder and beauty in all the tiny joys in life then you’re part of an international band of old souls and optimists, smiling on sidewalks, dancing at weddings, and flipping to the other side of the pillow. Let’s all high five and keep thinking wild thoughts, dreaming big dreams, and laughing loud laughs.

Thank you so much for reading this blog.

And thank you for being

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Read More