#508 Dropping your cell phone on the sidewalk and then realizing it’s totally fine

It’s a terrible scene.

As that cell phone, digital camera, or pair of sunglasses crash lands on the concrete everyone gasps as it crunches, bounces, and skids hard…

Suddenly your eyes blur, stomach twists, and world flips as you fade back and suddenly realize you’re covered in scrubs inside a busy hospital ER.

You glance down the hall and see ambulance guys racing towards you wheeling your bloody cell phone strapped to a gurney without any noticeable lights or beeps. Someone’s got an icebox holding the battery case that blew off and a nurse is screaming that signal strength has flatlined.

Your eyebrows furrow and  pupils dilate as you snap on latex gloves, pull up your face mask, and start frantically checking for vitals. You scan for signs of blunt trauma, pop the battery in and out, and then finally stare straight into your cell phone’s face while closing your eyes, wincing, and forcing yourself to push Power.

There is a pause.

Nurses lean in with wide hopeful eyes, ambulance guys jostle and crowd, and nervous friends squeeze their own phones tightly for comfort and support. Then suddenly as everyone waits… and waits… and wait…

The power flashes and blinks back on.

And there is cheering.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“After finding your blog 2 months ago and reading it daily I finally made it to the store to buy The Book of Awesome. Also on the agenda that day was meeting up with a friend i haven’t seen for 8 months. So our supper was me saying: ‘because of this blog and this book i’ve decided to live the awesomest life ever! This is my new handbook!’ It’s awesome inspiring people to live a better and richer life by appreciating the awesomeness they experience daily. I hope there’s a Book of Awesome 2 in the works! p.s. for dinner I went for the AWESOME Denny’s Slamburger, a late night special!” – Alyssa

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#509 Riding your bike really late at night when the streets are completely empty

Now’s your time.

As the sun dips down and the twilight fades to darkness there’s nothing sweeter than wheeling your bike out of the garage for a late summer night cruise. Those freewheeling adventures are great for a few reasons:

• The sound of silence. Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to ride with you again. Yes, blaring horns, squealing brakes, and revving engines are all turned down and you’re left alone in the shadows with the wind whispering in your ears.

• Danger, Will Robinson. There’s a sense of reckless cool cruising down those lonely black roads. You can swerve your bike in all directions, hop off the curbs, and be a two-wheeled free spirit.

• Street King. Houselights flick off and raccoons paw trash cans as you rule your Neighborhood Empire as the newly crowned Street King. Puff your chest and scream ‘This is my land!’ at any passing motorists. Just keep the crown under your helmet for safety.

Yes, riding your bike late at night lets you be alone with your thoughts and your dreams and your fears all rolling around your brain as you roll around the block. Chatty parents, buzzing phones, and little brothers are all left behind as you stare forward into the black and ride on and on and on…

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“I foundyour website many months ago and have been following it.  We bought The Book of Awesome, and my 10 year old has been looking through it, and loves it.  She’s reading it more than I am.  She’s started her own list of awesome things which include ‘Convincing your parents to order out for dinner’, ‘Being able to have a soda that you usually can’t have’, and ‘Indoor plumbing’ (that one came after our visit to Yellowstone). Her list is already about 50 items long! Attached is a picture of her with your book. Thanks for motivating her to read!!” – Laura from Virginia

Photos from: here and here

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#510 Hanging out with your mom

My mom and I saw a movie the other night.

I zoomed up the highway from my downtown apartment and she got a lift through the quiet sidestreets of my hometown. She had a big smile when I got there and was waiting in the lobby wearing lipstick and a cream cable knit sweater. She had the tickets pre-purchased and a purse packed with white chocolate, mixed nuts, and two bottles of water.

A plump n’ perky assistant manager with curls waterfalling out of her tight ballcap ripped our tickets and pointed us down the hall. We passed a couple glossy-eyed teens holding mops and texting as we walked into the theater and had a quick discussion — Where do you want to sit? Where do youwant to sit? Wherever you want to sit — before grabbing a couple in the middle of the red plushy tundra.

Now, my mom’s five feet tall so her legs dangled from the chair, her clean gray spongy-soled sneakers swaying like a kid on a swing set. We chatted, chilled, and chowed down on chocolate before leaning back for the start of the show.

My mom fell asleep in twenty minutes.

I elbowed her softly and her eyes popped open. She looked at me, laughed guiltily, and whispered in a mock-cranky tone “It’s past my bedtime!” She then watched a few more minutes before dozing off again. After a couple more elbow jabs, I eventually just let her go.

When the credits started rolling and the house lights turned up we put on our coats on and made our way down. “So what did you think of the ending?” I asked with a big smile. “I liked the way they wrapped things up,” she straight-faced back, holding the metal handrail and single-stepping down the stairs.

I drove her home down the quiet, wet-slicked roads, through empty intersections, past my old school, and the park where my sister and I had soccer practice. When we reached the house she smiled groggily, gave me a big hug, and said come back soon.

As I zipped down the highway into the bright city lights my brain photo-flashed back … to blurry images of late-night rides through those same empty intersections, front row seats at school plays, and cold wobbly lawn chairs sitting patiently on the sidelines at soccer practice…

Happy Mother’s Day, everybody.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“hey neil: i don’t know what i would do without my mom. i decided that i’m going to give her the book of awesome for mom’s day. :) now that’s awesome!” – Molly

Photos from: here, here and here

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#511 That moment on vacation when you forget what day of the week it is

Let’s see here.

Saturday we got here. Sunday we did nothing. Then after that we did nothing. The next day we did nothing. And we’re doing nothing now.

AWESOME!

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— Email message —

“Greetings from Sweden! After finding your site, I found myself ordering The Book of Awesome almost immediately afterwards. It is a wonderful oasis of love and nostalgia for a soon-to-be Swedish teacher in music. Thank you for making my days rich and joyful.” – Linus

Photo from: here

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#512 That guy who helps you parallel park

I suck at parallel parking.

Honestly, just look at me out there: tire-scraping, curb-bumping, seven-point turning in the middle of the busy downtown street. Yes, that’s why I always breathe a massive sigh of relief when someone stops by to lend me a hand:

1. Airport Crew Chief. Strap a neon vest and giant earmuffs on this gal because she’s straight off the landing strip. If you’re lucky she’ll stand in your side mirror and use that beautiful two-hands-getting-closer-together technique.

2. The Extremist. Dude’s got no middle ground. He’s an extreme screamer who’s favorite lines are “Back back back back back ba STOP!” and “Lots of space lots of space lots of — you’re on the curb.”

3. Mr. Measures. This teacher’s straight outta the portables and all about the accuracy. He’ll be dusting chalk off his hands while inspecting your bumper and calling out “You’ve still got four inches.”

Yes, we sure love these kind sidewalk souls. Without their help we’d be craning our necks and twisting our spines so it’s great when they pop on by to help us pop on in.

AWESOME!

Sign up for 1000 Awesome Things on email.

— Email message —

“Loving The Book of Awesome right now!  Completely enjoyed chillin’ on the couch last night while cracking up and reading some of it (okay, most of it) to my husband. Also left a little extra awesome in one of the books at the store yesterday… see if anyone finds it!

That’s our daughter in the pictures (she’s three).  She ran wildly through the rooms of our home holding the book high above her head yelling “AWESOME” over…and over…and over again. She then proceeded to point out each and every picture to me.  Eventually, when I asked for it back she reminded me of how important it is to ‘share’.  Love that kid!  I may pick her up her own copy.” – Bekkah

Photo from: here and here

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#513 Peeling that sticky glue off the back of your new credit card

Peel the pleasure.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Smooth Roller who uses your finger to slowly wheel the sticky icky into a little jelly roll or a Stretch Inspector who grabs a glue corner and yanks it further and further until it eventually snaps.

Nope, doesn’t matter at all.

Just enjoy the ride.

AWESOME!

— Email message —

“When I heard about The Book of Awesome, I ran out the door to buy it. It inspires me to really appreciate the little things in life. It definitely makes me feel better when I’m bummed out. When I start reading, almost nothing can stop me. I love it!” – Veronica

Photo from: here

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#514 Seeing a license plate from really far away in your home town

Every plate has a story.

Maybe it’s a cab of college kids on an endless summer road trip. Beef jerky wrappers, stained T-shirts, and a sweaty cooler fill the backseat of the rusty Volvo as they cruise cross country to soak in some sunny freedom before school starts. You see them laughing in front of you and softly smile at distant days gone by…

Or maybe it’s a couple retirees enjoying the first few weeks of a brand new life. As you pass their big boxy RV in the slow lane, you peek in and notice a wrinkly driver in a tight ballcap and baggy pink shirt steering fiercely with big twinkle in her eye. Your brain backflips as you daydream about your last day of work …

Or maybe it’s a family station wagon filling up at the pumps with a canoe on the roof and sleeping bags in the window. Two kids are playing video games in crumbs and juice stains as baby chews Cheerios and falls fast asleep. You glance at your boyfriend riding shotgun and he looks up innocently and smiles…

Yes, seeing a license plate from far away is a reminder we’re all tied together from the edge of our driveways to the edge of your driveways. Dusty towns, big cities, open fields, and tree-lined lanes may lie between us… but the truth is we’re all in this together: bouncing in cars, swerving down roads, spinning in place, flying through space.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#515 Nailing that perfect move in a board game

I’m terrible at board games.

Look at me: trying to roll doubles to bust outta jail, putting down bill or door on a no-word score, and frantically stabbing my pencil at my scribbly drawing over and over while the hourglass sand drips down. You see, this why I love those rare moments when even I manage to nail a perfect board game move:

10. When someone challenges a word  you made up in Scrabble and it ends up being a real word. Thanks for your giant, nonsensical vocabulary, Scrabble Dictionary. We’ll take op, pe, or xi to the bank any day.

9. Eating the last marble in Hungry, Hungry Hippos. When the game begins it’s a gobble, gobble, give mom a headache feeding frenzy. But when there’s only one white marble spinning around everything turns into goosebump-popping, eyebrow-furrowing strategy and wit. Make your move and calmly splash back into the river.

8. Suddenly noticing you got a surprise diagonal in Connect Four. When you realize you won the game make sure you throw your nose in the air, give a slow and evil smile, and calmly pet your cat. This was your plan all along.

7. Becoming a doctor in LIFE. When you land on the top salary spot you’re laughing for the rest of the game. Just make sure your station wagon doesn’t topple off the side the mountain spilling your pink and blue kids everywhere.

6. When your partner figures out that bumpy lump of purple clay you’re molding in Cranium is  actually a cheeseburger. Good work, Michelangelo.

5. Guessing someone’s Mastermind combination in three tries. Even though it’s usually a fluke make sure you take a minute to stare absently at the ping-pong table and daydream about life as a professional codebreaker.

4. Actually using the horse to kill off a major player in Chess. That legless knight never seems very powerful until the moment you realize he’s in trampling distance of a big kill. Make sure you use the piece to purposefully whack your opponent across the room and, for extra fun, let out an obnoxious whinny.

3. Using the stock answer for a Trivial Pursuit category and getting the pie piece. Thanks for saving the day Carl Lewis, Marlon Brando, or nitrogen.

2. Coming up with a lie so good in Balderdash that when they’re all read out you almost believe your own definition is the real one. You’re at the top of your game so enjoy the moment and get ready to reel in some suckers.

1. Rolling double-sixes in Monopoly and landing between the other guy’s Park Place and Boardwalk hotels. Good move skipping the five-star joints in favor of crashing on Baltic Avenue. The kids didn’t need a swimming pool or HBO anyway.

People, you know and I know it: these Perfect Board Game Moments can change the game and knock your opponent straight outta the living room. They’re beautiful little breaks in the middle of tense moments that fill family night with a great big shot of

AWESOME!

Order The Book of Awesome

— Email message —

“Hi Neil, I found your website – and your book – while taking a break from my business law text book.  (Business law = BO-RING.) I’m glad that you think the way you do… loving the details of life can make a huge difference between being sad and dissatisfied, and grateful and content.

My boyfriend is moving away to just-about-Canada a week shy of my much anticipated graduation, his birthday, our officially-together-for-one-year mark.  He is sad, and I am sad, but I’m sending The Book of Awesome with him, with notes written on the pages – thoughts, jokes, memories.  It will be like watching a movie together… ” – Missi

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

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#516 Picking up something that turns out to be a lot lighter than you expected

It’s the grocery bag of paper towels, the suitcase of socks, or the moving box of mittens.

AWESOME!

–Email message–

“Hey Neil,

I found your site in China Daily so the awesomeness has spread quickly. I immediately went onto your site as soon as I found it in the newspapers because just the site name sounded, and felt different. It was unlike anything I’ve ever heard or read before. And I was totally right. It’s the best thing I’ve ever read…

So, thanks for keeping the awesomeness alive. Just remember that, you’re not the only one going through some tough times. You will always have us 7th grade students in China reading, supporting and agreeing with every one of your blogs.” – Celine

Photo from: here

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#517 That clicking sound of winding anything up

Mmmm, girl.

You know it and I know it: that zip-zippery sound of winding anything up is a slow building crescendo of anticipation. You crank the plastic walking toy, spin the garden hose wheel, or twist the egg timer tightly until everything locks and loads. Don’t matter whether you’re reeling in a fish, charging a manual flashlight, or preparing a set of chattering teeth to walk across the kitchen table, it all feels great.

It’s the sound of important work about to start. It’s the sound of important work about to finish. It’s the sound of progress, movement, and clicky little baby steps toward a bigger goal. Soon the fish jumps out of the water, the flashlight lights up the campsite, or  the toy teeters across the cold basement floor.

That wind-up clicking scratches a tiny little itch deep in our brain and gives a smirky sense of satisfaction when you’ve twisted ’til you can’t twist no more. Yes, when you build energy up inside whatever you’re winding up, you sure do crank yourself up, too.

AWESOME!

Scope the full list as we count ’em down.

— Email message —

“Hey Neil, Clover thinks it’s pretty cool she’s in The Book of Awesome. She said ‘That’s me in that book!’ and ‘That’s sooooo cool!’ I was hoping she’d say ‘AWESOME’, but alas. I read her a few bits and pieces and it led to a conversation about the sound of cutting into construction paper. Thanks again and we’re all (especially Clover) looking forward to the book launch!” – Evan
Photo from: here, here, and here

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