#257 Eating a free sample of something you have no intention of buying

Why hello, little cup of strawberry-banana punch. How you doing, pepper-dill crackers? Don’t mind if I do, spicy salami wrapped around a piece of melon.

Yes, eating a free sample of something you have no intention of buying is a great way to stay on top of what’s happening at the grocery store. You swish the new drink, chew the new gum, toss back a tiny cup of the new pasta dinner, and introduce your tastebuds to a little surprise.

Assuming you don’t actually like the product, maybe you do what I do and pretend you’re going to buy it anyway so you don’t hurt the sweet, heavily lipsticked Sample Lady’s feeling. So you pick up the box of dry crackers, salty salami, or all-noodle-no-cheese lasagna and say, “Hmmm. $4.29? Not bad, not bad. And I get a fifty-cents-off coupon too? Hmmm.” Then you smile back at her, toss it in your cart, and say, “Why not! Thank you very much!”

Then you roll out of sight and guiltily drop it in another aisle.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“I am an elementary teacher and it’s my job to teach the curriculum but it is my honour to also encourage values, life skills and positivity in my students. After reading The Book of Awesome I shared the ideas in your book with my Grade 4 class. Each student then recorded their own awesome things for our class bulletin board. Here are some of them:  Water balloon fights. Water gun fights. Biting a water balloon. Having a computer. Basketball and wildlife. When you’re in the airport or on the plane. I love when the birds sing. Having a nightmare and waking up to find something awesome (e.g. it’s your birthday). TV and my puppies. Going on the Bohemith. Playing melon tag with root beer. The smell of sunflowers. Playing paint ball. Laughing so hard your stomach aches as you roll on the floor and try to breathe.” – Miss Vacrinos & 29 Grade 4 students

Photo from: here

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#258 Saying thanks

I started writing 1000 Awesome Things on June 20, 2008 as my life was swirling and twirling.

It seemed like every day was cloudy as every morning I’d wheel my car up icy onramps straight into red-light traffic jams to head to my office job in the suburbs. Then I’d wheel back home the same way, every day. Frozen burritos and back pain, up those ramps and down again, my life seemed stuck in neutral with a black scribbly cloud above my head.

One night after work I went online and typed “How to start a blog” into Google. Ten minutes later I wrote #1000 Broccoflower for a quick smile before bed. As my marriage crumbled like crackers, as my best friend sadly took his own life, I was trying to push from back pain to grass stains and from microwaves to wedding buffets.

Nobody visited the site except for my mom. Although I did get pretty excited when she forwarded it to my dad and the traffic doubled. Then on July 18, 2008 Fark.com linked to old, dangerous playground equipment and thousands of people suddenly came in waves. It was strange thinking that cyber travellers spinning on the other side of the planet maybe thought broccoflower was funny, too.

And here we are in 2015 after jotting down one awesome thing every weekday for the past few years and it’s been such a rush. I feel so massively lucky that I’ve had a few extra hours each week to chat with you all about bakery air, rain hair, bubble wrap, and illegal naps.

The Book of (Even More) Awesome came out this day four years ago and The Book of Awesome has been on bestseller lists for six years. Cybernerds called us best blog in the world and the awesome movement is in full force.

I don’t know how to thank you for all of this.

The only way I can think of is to say thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for listening, thank you for commenting, and thank you for spreading our big screaming all-caps word of

AWESOME!

— Photos from The Book of Awesome launch —

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#259 The good kind of stomach butterflies

Flap, flap, flap.

It’s gut check time.

Scientists suggest the fluttery feeling of buttery flies in your tum tum just comes from blood flowing away from your digestive system and zooming everywhere else in your body. Yeah, you know how it goes: your beady-eyed pal adrenaline starts playing that fight-or-flight soundtrack and suddenly it’s fists at ready, legs at the ready, everything else on standby.

Ten hut!

Ears awake, eyes open, deep breaths in bed, let’s get all systems ready for the big day ahead.

Because when you get the good kind of stomach butterflies it means you’re burning and buzzing about a big day. After rehearsing for months your play finally comes, after that electric first kiss you’re dreaming about bliss, after practicing all year the big game is here.

Yes, when your mind opens up, when your path starts to clear, when you know where you’re going, when you start to get near… well those are the moments we live for and those are the times to go long, yes those are the moments to go for and those are the times to be strong.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“I’m currently backpacking around the world and finally met up with some friends from home during Songkran in Thailand. Songkran is Thai New Year and what does the entire country do? Break out into water fights for 3 days (some places, even longer), all day long! The best part is EVERYONE gets involved, young people, old people, even some of the monks! How often do you get to raid a mass water attack on complete strangers and have them shoot you back with a huge smile? AWESOME.” – Corissa

Photo from: here and here

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#260 People who look like their pets

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“I moved in with a new roommate in the beginning of this school year and we decided to make our own list of AWESOME! things to hang up in our drab dorm room.  Some of our favorites are: Harmony, walking in the rain with rain boots on, a huge thunder storm, getting your AC fixed, and sandwiches cut into different shapes.  Next year we are getting in an apartment with another girl and we’re going to frame the poster!” – Kaitlin

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#261 Baby to baby love

Erik and Danny have a baby.

I was at a wedding a few months back and bumped into the fresh parents after missing them for a few years. They’ve popped out a couple pumpkins since I saw them at school so our visit was full of adorable photos, diaper horror stories, and tall tales of terrible teething.

One of the best stories they told me was when they took their son Jaden to the park near their house. It was a sunny day and there were piles of snot-nosed rugrats running around screaming with eyes full of fire and fists full of sand.

Erik and Danny set up shop on a park bench and watched as Jaden wobbled over to a nearby baby who was playing alone at the foot of her parents. She was naked except for a puffy diaper and she looked up with big Bambi eyes as Jaden teetered over and looked down at her. They watched with interest as Jaden slowly offered her the rest of the soggy cracker he was eating … and then watched as the little girl’s eyes grew wide as saucers and she smiled a beaming smile.

Then she paused.

It looked like she was thinking hard for a brief moment before she suddenly… tore off her diaper, handed it to him, and ran off naked!

They burst out laughing but were also genuinely touched at this chubby-legged infant’s big hearted move to share some baby to baby love. She literally handed him the only thing she had and then blushed before seeking refuge in the slides.

And whether it’s handing off a soggy cracker, tearing off a diaper, or holding sweaty hands across the street, there’s something picture-perfect about tiny scenes of tiny loving that remind us most folks are pretty kind … and pretty sweet.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“I just wanted to send you this photo of Darcy loving your AWESOME magnet, which is prominently displayed on our refrigerator. Incidentally, putting things on your refrigerator is awesome — photos, report cards, spelling tests.” – Ryan from Boston

Photos from: here and here

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#262 The smell of the barbecue

Scratch the crusty grill with the fraying wire brush so all the tiny black flecks spray on your baggy khaki shorts. Twist open the spiderweb-covered propane tank or light the charcoal and then go inside to assemble your plastic tray of food.

Bring out the sauce-smeared drumsticks, homemade hamburgers, or slippery wieners and toss them on there. Let the meat sizzle as you fill the backyard, deck, and neighborhood with that beautifully smoky smell of

AWESOME!.

— Email message —

“At the beginning of the year everyone in our grade seven ethics and religious cultures class wrote an awesome essay. Now we complied a book full of all of our essays and it is really awesome!” – Olivia from Quebec

Photo from: here

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#263 Getting cell phone service back after not having it for a while

Welcome to the saloon.

Jump off your tired horse, kick your cowboy boots together, and step through the swinging gates into your home away from home. Dusty sunbeams streak through dirty stained-glass windows and shadows fall on your closest friends laughing in a dank and dirty world away from it all. Tip your hat at the girl across the room, slap your pals on the back, and slip onto a cozy stool to trade stories and jokes with the bartender and catch up on all the gossip you missed.

Welcome to the saloon.

Jump onto your cell phone, check your text messages, and log into your email to catch up on forwards from friends. Bleeps and bloops ring from plastic screens as you share laughs with faces in a secret digital world away from it all. Poke the boy across the room, catch up on blogs, and instant message all your friends while skimming all the comments and one-liners you missed.

Losing cell phone service is like temporarily leaving the saloon and heading into the chilly night air for a crisp midnight walk down the black roads of your hometown. It’s a refreshing feeling of clearing your head, finding your thoughts, and finally floating alone through our webby world of loose connections.

It can feel great to walk away from it all. But it sure can feel great to pop back in.

Getting cell phone service back after not having it for a while is like stepping through the swinging doors and joining us all back in the saloon.

Welcome home.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#264 Putting things in your shoe so you don’t forget them later

I’m pretty forgetful.

I forget keys in my pants, food in my microwave, and words at the end of my.

Being forgetful is a terrible thing. Seriously, if you’ve ever tapped your empty pockets in front of your locked front door you know exactly how painful it can be.

Fortunately we live in a bright and modern Future World where decades of cutting edge research has resulted in breakthrough technological advances that give us a way to remember all the things we’d otherwise leave behind.

I’m talking about throwing them in your shoe, people.

It’s an ingenious and failproof scientific system of helping your Future Self out whenever you think your Current Self might leave something behind.

Yes, putting things in your shoe so you don’t forget them later.

Works for everything except babies, raw eggs, and Micro Machines.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“I went out gardening today and I created a little garden with your book  for you – check out my photo attached! Cheers!” – Steve from The Pothole Gardener

Photos from: here and here

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#265 The smell of really, really clean air

Your lungs deserve the best.

Escape the parking garage, forget the fast food fumes, and run away from that photocopying daze in the cubicle farm.

When you get way out in the open, when you’re sailing over the deep blue sea, when you’re climbing to the top of the mountain, just take a breath for you and me.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“My friend Kacie and I went to a beginners yoga class and at one point we were in a pose like the picture attached … I looked over to Kacie and she was staring at me with a big smile on her face… I mouthed “Are you OK?” she smiled.  We went on to another pose, again I looked over and she smiled and mouthed to me “I farted” while beaming… I mouthed back “What?!” and with an even bigger smile she whispered “I. Fart-ed.”  I lost it in a fit of giggles.  Our super chill instructor just smiled as we laughed for five minutes. After class ended we were walking out of the gym and she confessed ‘I think I liked it- I just felt so free!’ AWESOME.” – Rita

Photo from: here

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#266 When a deadline is extended unexpectedly

Talk about a win-win-win-win.

If you’re already done! Brother, you just earned some breathing room. Sit back and smile as everyone sweats it up next week and pat your own back for being on top of your game. If you feel like it you can make improvements and hand in Version 2.0 of Your Masterpiece. Or you can simply make improvements to the amount of dancing cat videos you’ve watched online lately. Your choice.

• If you’re nowhere close! Then this is for you! Yes, you were drowning in deadlines when this one thankfully got moved so now you finally catch your breath and get organized. Take a deep breath and catch up to yourself.

• If you’re the teacher! Congratulations! You just enabled your own procrastination. Forget spending the weekend reading a pile of book reports or grading science labs. Nope — now’s the time to clean out the fridge, spend a day on the couch, and maybe even finally finish that Solitaire game that’s been taunting you. Watch out for falling cards.

If you’re the deadline! Why, you don’t mind at all either. This could be due to your lack of consciousness.

So listen up, teachers and bosses of the world: When you extend those deadlines we’re loving you lots. Life’s too short to stress out all the time so give us a break and we promise to pay you back with full-face smiles, cracking high fives, and great big screams of

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“Every year my school hosts ‘Make a Statement Day,’ when everybody in the school gets a plain white T-shirt to do whatever they please on it. From inspirational quotes by world famous authors to passing thoughts, each shirt is a work of art and often the messages on them convey students thoughts and feelings about life and the world around us. My statement this year was to “Be Awesome” because there is something truly great about just being AWESOME!” – Colin from Massachusetts

Photos from: here

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