#618 The feeling of brushing your teeth with a new toothbrush

Bust the new brush free from it’s cardboard confinement, give those straight, crisp bristles a quick welcome-to-your-new-home rinse, plop a fat glob of minty green paste on top, and then get down to business, baby.

Yes, it’s time to scrape those pearly yellows clean with your brand new scrubbing machine.

AWESOME!

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#619 When the person at the store tells you the thing you’re about to buy is going on sale tomorrow

When your friendly neighborhood employee gives you the secret whisper tipoff that the heavy, cardboard something-or-other you’re carrying is about to go on sale, you know what to do.

Stop, drop, and come back tomorrow.

AWESOME!

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#620 Singing in the car on the way home from the concert

Stamped hands and plastic wristbands cover the sweaty crowd as  lights flick on at the end of the show. Crowds bump and grind to the bathrooms as eyes adjust and ears pop. Minutes later you pile into the car with your friends and buckle up for a slow, traffic-jammy trip out of the lot, down the highway, and home to bed.

Killing an hour on your way home from a concert is a piece of cake, though. Just roll down those windows, pump those fists, honk that horn, and get ready to scrape that scratchy throat.

Because folks, it’s time for the loud, screechy sing-a-long version of Tonight’s Greatest Hits.

AWESOME!

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#621 Staying up past your bedtime when you were a kid

Nobody likes bedtimes.

Nope, nothing’s worse than lying under the covers in hot, flannel PJs with wide, unblinking eyes while the late autumn sun slowly droops outside your window. As the sky fades to a burning orange the streetlights flicker on, the moon pops out, and eventually the thin crack of light under your door flicks to black.

And then you just lie there, staring at the ceiling, flipping your pillow, tossing and turning, aching and burning.

Nobody likes bedtimes.

Come on, whether it’s mom chasing a giggling, diaper-clad junior around the coffee table or dad forcibly finger-peeling Xbox remotes out of pre-teen paws, it’s all the same when you’re a kid. The fun stops when the head drops.

Yes, bedtime is the secret, locked gateway to a magical mystery tour of late night television, dark downtown scenes, and unknown journeys into all things strange, exotic, and sinful.

But it’s that buildup and curiosity that makes it great when you finally do break on through to the other side.

Do you remember birthday sleepovers where everybody drank Cokes after 9pm and watched R-rated movies? Did you have faraway little league tournaments where parents cracked beer coolers after the game while kids terrorized the hotel whirlpool and sauna? Did you celebrate New Year’s with cousins all shaking hips and eating chips as the next year hit?

Staying up past your bedtime when you’re a kid is like getting on a rickety roller-coaster and riding it down a dark tunnel heading somewhere you’ve never been and were always told not to go. But then you find sugar rushes, skinny dips, heart-to-hearts, and non-stop giggles all waiting for you deep in the blackness, just around the bend.

AWESOME!

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#622 When the dog’s really excited you’re back home

Greasy forehead, sore ankles, and a dull headache cap your traffic-jammy ride home from a long day at work. Dragging yourself to the door your stomach rumbles and grumbles as you picture the bland frozen burrito you’re gonna nuke for dinner.

Yeah, the day got you down, the day knocked you out, but suddenly you unlock the door and your mood zooms sky-high as there’s a loving and waiting BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK.

Someone’s happy to see you.

AWESOME!

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#623 The sound of snow crunching under your boots

Dim streetlights cast blurry shadows for your cold walk home.

Snow-packed mitts, floppy wool hat, and a drippy, sniffly nose cover your shuddery frame as you shuffle down empty side streets on your way to the cozy warmth of your waiting bed. Everything is an eerily pitch-perfect silence buried under a shadowy sheet of bright white. Pine trees sway softly, Christmas lights flicker, and the biting air ice-scrapes your frost-nipped nose.

Somehow the solid crunch of your winter boots against the packed road snow fills the night with a relaxing and familiar sound that marks tiny little progress towards cuddling up under warm blankets and falling deep asleep.

Like cracking frozen puddles, pushing soft drink lid buttons, or popping a spoon in a jar of peanut butter, the sound of snow crunching under your salty winter boots scratches a primal itch that just feels so satisfying.

So stuff your hands in your pockets, curl your head to your chest, and crunch loud and crunch proud deep into the dark, winter night.

AWESOME!

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#624 Flavor pockets

Brother, I’ve made a lot of macaroni.

Yes, for a four-year period back in college I became a regular kitchen whiz at cracking open that flimsy cardboard box of thin, rock-hard noodles, boiling them up to a perfect al dente, and stirring in that magical ratio of milk, butter, and pre-packed cheesy powder to get it jusssssssst right.

Now, everyone has their own slightly-altered recipe for boxed macaroni. Some like it thin and milky while others prefer it bright, radioactive orange. Some like butter, some margarine, and some toss in a handful of chopped up weenies.

However, no matter how you whip up your noodly batch, I’m guessing you love biting into a surprise flavor patch of undissolved cheesy powder hidden amongst the creamy deliciousness. Yes, every time I scarf down a bowl, no matter how much stirring I’ve done, there’s always that deliciously hidden flavor pocket waiting for me like an old friend.

Yes, flavor pockets are those delicious sweet spots in the middle of your meal that explode like surprising fireworks finales in your mouth.

If you’re with me here, then come on, let’s go nuts and count down five of the finest:

5. The fat glob of guacamole hiding in your burrito. When you’re sitting in the cramped corner of a dusty Mexican joint, slowly peeling the tin foil off your burrito, chomping at blackened chicken chunks, lime-seasoned rice, and salty pinto beans, it’s an amazing feeling when you unearth a treasure trove of chunky guacamole from the dark, inner folds at the back. Note that this also applies to surprise sour cream squirts.

4.That one bright red chip coated in seasoning. Clearly the factory foreman at the Dorito Plant fell asleep at his station and accidentally kicked an industrial-sized tin of zesty bold barbecue onto the assembly line. Sure, materials costs shot up, the line was shut down for maintenance, and several union grievances were filed, but it all ended with you savoring a deliciously bright red, salty and supersatured chip.

3. The spoonful of ice cream with the giant cookie dough chunk. Fancy ice cream is a frozen clump with swirling lumps of caramel ribbons, candy-coated pralines, and marshmallow globs. Yes, all those wacky tastes are stuck in there like Hans Solo in a slab of carbonite and it’s up to you, the Luke Skywalker of the bench in front of 7-Eleven, to grit your teeth, furrow your brow, and get digging to help them break free of their frozen shackles.

2.That one lettuce leaf completely drenched in Caesar dressing. Mmmm, girl. The best part about sliding a creamy leaf of Romaine down your throat is that the leafy green actually gets rid of some of the guilt. “I think this is what the doctor had in mind,” you say to your friends, while thick Caesar dressing drips down your chin onto the tablecloth. “High in fiber!” (Note: This also works while eating collared greens soaking in bacon broth or broccoli florets drowning in a giant lake of Cheez Whiz.)

1. The clump of brown sugar in anything home-baked. This rare find gets top spot. Sometimes there’s a secret glob of pure brown sugar in the peanut butter cookie, oatmeal muffin, or slice of banana bread at Grandma’s house. Remember: not even the oven could prevent this sugary jewel from succeeding in it’s lifelong quest to tantalize your tastebuds.

Yes, flavor pockets are a nice little highlight in the middle of your meal. When those random bites surprise and delight, just close your eyes, tip your head, and savor every single molecule of flavor coating all the cracks and corners of your mouth.

So come on and let’s give cracking high fives and throat-screeching cheers for these magic little moments of pure joy.

AWESOME!

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

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#625 Really, really short people

They’re short and there’s nothing they can do about it except learn to live with their shortness. For this reason, we respect them and think they’re cool.

If you’re really, really short, you feel it, because this is your life:

Forget seeing anything at concerts. Sure, everybody loves being behind you, but at what price? The standing area is a bad scene and mosh pits are strictly off limits. No, you’re stuck sitting at the bar or watching from the balcony.

• You can’t reach anything. Kitchen cupboards and closest shelves are bad enough, but the worst is when you find yourself somewhere alone and stoolless. People, if you’ve ever found yourself climbing the hotel bar fridge to reach the coffee filters or stepping on the metal grocery store shelf to reach the hot sauce then you know what I’m talking about.

• You can forget about that pro-volleyball career. You might still make it as a referee, but that’s about it.

• You’re constantly adjusting driver’s seats and mirrors. On top of that, really, really tall people complain when they get in the car after you and have to adjust everything because they can’t fit.

• Some roller coasters are off limits. Minimum height requirements are clearly relics from a discriminatory society that inhabited this land before us.

It really is a tough life.

So next time you see a really, really short person, break out the empathy. Remember: they’re short and there’s nothing they can do except learn to live with their absolute shortness. Sure, they buy cheaper children’s clothes, find the best spots in Hide and Seek, sleep easier on couches, easily avoid walking into tree branches, are more comfortable at movies, and curl nicely into cramped spooning arrangements, but they also have to live life with a lot of limits. In this upside-down and inside-out world, that’s worth something.

So go on and throw them a smile and a nod, a cracking high five, and some quiet and humble respect.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#626 Riding home with a box of pizza on your lap

Pepperoni fumes fill the air as you swerve and curve your way home. Yes, that hot bulky square of cardboard filled with zesty sauce and bubbling mozzarella heats your legs and gets your stomach rumbling for a delicious dinner that nobody needs to cook.

AWESOME!

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#627 When your friends working in fast food restaurants give you a little extra

Pile it onSure, sure, we’re all honest people here.

You and me, we’re driving the speed limit, crossing at crosswalks, and never double parking. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like bonus fries, extra-scoopy ice cream, or double cheese on our subs, people.

Yes, when the gal behind the smooth orange counter wearing the paper hat and pinstriped shirt is your pal from high school, it means it’s time for a little extra whipped cream and chocolate sauce on that drippy ice cream sundae.

It’s just the Fast Food Workers Pact.

AWESOME!

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What’s a law that people routinely break? Like speeding or jay-walking?

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