#497 The moment after the show ends and before the applause begins

Fat ladies hit the high note, trumpets blast in the pit band, and stage hands yank the curtains closed in that big booming finish at the end of the show. Yes, the guitarist slashes the final chord as that closing climax spirals up and up and up before just so suddenly … stopping. Then there’s a split-second of perfect silence as energy rip-rushes down the crowd and everyone stands up to let out a giant applause.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“I came across a bakery the other day and that wonderful smell reminded me how awesome life really is. After getting a fresh, still warm croissant I headed to the book store across the street. Two sales girls greeted me as I was chewing so I quickly swallowed to say hi back. After asking what I was eating, I told them about my bakery trip and that great smell. They looked at each other and smiled. “That’s awesome” one said to the other. That’s when I realized she was holding The Book of Awesome. “It IS awesome, and I need that book you’re holding,” I told them. She gave me the book and we started chatting about all the stuff that was in there, which included her favorite “High-fiving babies.” Another woman asked what we were talking about and after I showed her the book she told the sales girl she would take 2 copies. Spreading the awesome by word of mouth….. Awesome!” – Brae

Photo from: here

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#498 Long, comfortable silences between really close friends

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“Mm, want the air conditioning on or anything?”

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AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hi Neil,
I recently got a copy of The Book of Awesome on Mother’s Day from my 2 1/2 year old (obviously my husband was behind that one ;). I love it and it’s just taking me to a different happy place each time I read one of the stories. I do appreciate the little things although this wasn’t always the case.

I’ve had a difficult period in my life and I’m still not fully on two strong legs yet, literally. 2 1/2 years ago I got an outburst of mysterious symptoms, my speech went slurry, barely audible, I couldn’t chew, swallow food, within months I dropped down to less than 75 lbs. I got weakness in my arms and legs and could barely walk. For most of this time, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and was on max doses of antidepressants – which were certainly necessary as I was going through depression with suicidal thoughts.

Eventually, I got more tests done, and 15 months later (of surviving on smoothies that took an hour to drink) (oh and did I mention I couldn’t smile – physically could NOT smile, I could not control any facial muscles) I got diagnosed with a rare disease called Myasthenia Gravis, (in short, it leads to muscle weakness due to antibodies blocking the signals from the brain to muscles). Since starting treatment I got my smile back, I can lift my daughter and go for a walk… but since there is no cure for this illness, the symptoms came back stronger so although my facial muscles are under some control, I’m generally weak and my eye muscles are affected with double vision.

This is still taking a toll but I’ve accepted things for what they are…. I think I’m HALF WAY (just like you). I may be weak, but I’m now a STRONG person inside. I now appreciate things for what they are, I look for awesome things in the everyday.  That’s why your book means so much to me. It helps me to look at life in a lighter way, it puts me in a happier place. For this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – Ella (from http://www.lifeologia.com/)

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#499 When you should have got a parking ticket but didn’t

Well, well, well.

Look at you living life in the fire lane.

Yes, you came, you parked, you went over time, and you know it.

Now you’re scrambling out of the laundromat with a teetery stack of folded towels, racing out of the barber shop with a a freshly shorn neck, or running out of the arcades with severe Pac Man wrist and pizza grease on your face.

As you race up the street you can’t help braincloud the worst case scenario waiting for you: ticket blowing under wipers, heavy fine hitting your pocket, and a frumpy meter maid pursing her lips and wagging her finger at you while shaking her head.

When you get to the car you see the telltale signs: zeros flashing on the meter, tow trucks prowling the alleys, and those maids swimming upstreet like uniformed sharks with pens, pads, and perms. But as you examine your windshield you notice one big thing missing: the parking ticket itself.

Brother, there is no time for questions. Just double scan that windshield, crank your car into drive, and hit the gas to zoom fast and zoom furious straight outta town.

You made it.

AWESOME!

Check out the Top 1000.

– Email message –

“Hey Neil! My amazing sister just sent me The Book of Awesome for my birthday and it could not have come at a better time. I recently moved halfway across the world for a new job and while I’m loving starting a new life, I definitely miss my family back home and reading the book always stirs up wonderful memories of them. Her sending me this came as a total surprise and just showed how well she knows me, how much she loves me and how awesome she really is. Here’s a pic of my sister and I skyping!” – Nicole

Photo from: here

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#500 Making it halfway

Maybe you’re running on the treadmill when you catch the clock tick past the middle of your sweaty jog. Maybe you’re reading late at night and notice you’re on the middle page where the left and right sides form one big rectangle of paper. Or maybe you’re on a long Sunday drive to visit a hometown friend when you pass that rusty gas station halfway down the highway.

Yes, it sure is sweet making it halfway anywhere. It means you got started, you gave it a shot, and now you’re doing it, baby.

When you make it halfway take a moment to smile and enjoy where you’re at. Because sure, there’s a lot in that rearview mirror, but there’s so much around the bend, too.

AWESOME!

We’re halfway there, everybody. Thank you sincerely for reading. – Neil

“Hi Neil, I was so excited to finally get the book of awesome and I was even MORE excited to get to one of my favorite entries – Your Colon.  Not only is it hilarious, but it also brings back some wonderful memories of reading the blog. I’m so excited to finally have a copy.  It is truly AWESOME!” – Andrea

Photos from: here and here

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#501 Picking the fastest moving line at the grocery store checkout

You can do it.

Motor around filling your basket with food before spying the checkouts and picking your poison. Here’s five tips for living life in the fast lane:

5. Skip your greens. Keep away from shopping carts full of strange produce. Anyone with little bags of cilantro or parsley is a guaranteed slowdown because they’ll force cashiers to look up produce codes.

4. Saving spaces, angry faces. Watch out for the single guy holding a box of aluminum foil. Sure, he may look like a quick checkout but he might be a spot-saver for a big-wheeling partner who’s about to cruise around the corner with a fat cart stuffed with frozen food. If he’s glancing around nervously, avoid the line.

3. Bag the bagger. I hate to break it to you but you’re terrible at bagging. Sorry, but look at you — wedging frozen peas beside fresh bread, setting potatoes on eggs, making one bag really heavy and one bag really light. No, you’ve got to leave bagging to the pros. Since some lines have baggers and some don’t make sure you pick one with a helper to get the job done right.

2. Take a flyer on the flyer. Customers holding dog-eared flyers are probably going to ask questions, try to get a rain check, or slowly tear out all the coupons. Just remember this handy phrase: Flyer in tow? That line is slow. Amen, sing it your mama.

1. Mo’ cashiers, mo’ problems. While scoping baggers make sure you scope cashiers, too. Keep your eyes peeled for quick hands, firm credit card swiping, and purposeful change drawer slamming. Avoid any lane with two cashiers because one of them is in Training Wheel Mode. Support their development silently and catch them next month when they’ve learned how to double bag.

Yes, picking the fastest moving line at the grocery store is such a great high. When you get it right you’re like the undercover cop of the store — spying customers, eyeballing cashiers, and then swooping in smartly to get the job done in style.

You’re all class all the time, baby.

AWESOME!

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– Email message –

“Hey Neil, My boyfriend and I found your blog back in September when we started dating. Checking it together quickly became a new tradition and brought us closer as we realized that we both valued the same simple, brilliant things in life. The day the book of awesome came out I got home to find a box sitting at my doorstep — my boyfriend had pre-ordered it for me months ago! To get him back with another awesome gift, for his birthday I made him my own personalized Book of Awesome called “1000 Awesome Things About Us” describing all the awesome things about our relationship. Thank you for inspriring us!” – Julia & Nicky

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#502 Fully justifying whatever terrible thing you’re eating

Let the grease glisten, mayo drip, and soda fizz.

Here are three ways to make the magic happen:

1. Veggie Validation. My friend Mike is king of this hilarious move. “Gotta get my greens,” he’ll say, while chomping dill pickles on the couch playing video games. “Carrots are good for you,” he’ll smile, while licking thick cream cheese icing off a moist brick of carrot cake. Remember: Anything with vegetables in it fully qualifies as potentially healthy. Now go relax and enjoy some sweet pumpkin pie with a side of onion rings.

2. Dumbbell Defense. On the rare mornings I venture to the gym for a half-dozen situps and some stretching in sweatpants, I always end up eating a tipsy mountain of nachos for dinner later in the day. “No worries,” I’ll think with cheese-greasy fingers and salsa dripping down my chin, “I totally worked this off already.”

3. Vacation Breakin’. When you go on holidays it’s fun to free your stomach from the shackles of the kitchen. Slip into shades and shorts and start breaking the rules in the slow lane. Remember: getting away from it all means putting your feet up and having a third sundae.

Yes, fully justifying whatever terrible thing you’re eating is a beautiful eyes-wide moment of taste-based wonder. It’s great ditching the guilt once in a while to enjoy a crispy-skinned wiener on the sidewalk or a drippy quarter pounder after the bars on Friday night.

People, we ain’t spinning on this rock too long so let’s all remember to relax and just enjoy the extra scoop.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hey Neil, yesterday one of my best friends surprised me with the book of awesome, and I have been reading it ever since. Today, in class, we were assigned to give ribbons to people who have made a difference in our lives stating ‘Who I am makes a difference’. I would like to give you one (virtually) because your site has helped me notice the things in life, no matter how small, that make every day a little bit better. Please accept my ribbon!” – Natalie

Photos from: here, here, here and here

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#503 Walking into class and seeing a substitute teacher

Postpone the pop quiz, torpedo that test, and forget about a tough math lesson today.

No, now’s the time when energy bolts blast through brains as everybody revs up for forty-five minutes of whispering, passing notes, and tossing paper airplanes.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“The perfect night with my book of awesome. Reading an entry everyday in the morning has become a ritual before getting started with work. Now I have the book and the perfect ritual to help me wind down.” – Angie

Photo from: here

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#504 Acrobatic snoozing

Everybody loves a good snooze.

That’s where you groggily dive back into the sleepy underworld for a few more minutes of lazy-boned bliss before waking up to get your day on. It’s even better when you tap the snooze button with a bit of acrobatic showmanship that keeps you dreaming before your wide-awake self invades the place.

Here’s how to keep on snoozing in the free world:

1. The Blindfold. You’ve long memorized the shape and location of your snooze button, so when it starts buzzing you don’t even open your eyes. Nope, you just fumble until you find it and kick back for nine more minutes of heaven.

2. The Behind The Back. Here’s where you’re facing away from the alarm clock when it starts ringing, but instead of flipping right over you casually toss your arm in the air and reach backwards until you find the snooze. Also known as the Reverse Angle Shoulder Twist.

3. The Outsource. Perhaps your clock starts buzzing as your boyfriend is hopping around putting his pants on or while your sister’s knocking on the door trying to wake you up. Either way, you outsource your snoozing to them with a cute and groggy “Mmmnnn … can you hit … button.”  Of course, their payment for doing the job is that soft and slow eyes-closed smile curling onto your face as you fade out.

4. The Toe Tap. You’ve been tossing and turning all night and now you’ve got the Toe Vent going in a perfect spot to use your foot to tap the button. If you manage to avoid knocking over your glass of water or accidentally kick your alarm clock to the floor, this can be a stunningly beautiful move.

Yes, pulling off an acrobatic snooze makes you feel like a trapeze artist way up inside a big tent at the roaring climax of the circus. Sweat drips down your forehead and onto your tight white unitard as you stare with steady eyes at your wide-eyed partner swinging towards you. Suddenly you bend your knees and jump high and wide into their open arms before quickly locking and soaring breathless over all the bright lights below…

Elephants trumpet, lions roar, and jaws drop as  you somersault with a smile way, way up in the darkness. The ringmaster points his cane up at you and screams while thundering applause rains down.

Snooze for the moment. Snooze for the memories.

Snooze for your life.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hi Neil, here are my 3 Awesome Things in no particular order: 1) Happening upon an inspiring street performer, 2) On a long drive discovering a great radio station that energizes you and takes your mind off the road, 3) Reading The Book of Awesome and then noticing all the awesome things in your own life.” – Frank from PostSecret

Photos from: here and here

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#505 The last couple hours before the weekend

This is known as The Funrise.

Chatty buzz fills office cubicles, laughs echo down high school halls, and the clock ticks a little bit faster as we all smile and get ready for a couple big days of

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hey Neil, your blog and The Book of Awesome make me appreciate the little things which is hard most of the times. I live in Australia and couldn’t wait until the book comes out here so I made my order online and it said it would take 2 weeks to be delivered. Well, I wasn’t expecting it until next week but I woke up this morning to the sound of knocking on my front door. I came downstairs and no one was there… but I found a surprise package instead! I ripped the wrapping straight away and read the beginning of the book. It was an awesome start to my day!” – Derrintia

Photos from: here

– Email message –

“Hey Neil, your blog and <em><a href=”http://1000awesomethings.com/book&#8221; target=”_self”>The Book of Awesome</a> </em>make me appreciate the little things which is hard most of the times. I live in Australia and couldn’t wait until the book comes out here so I made my order online and it said it would take 2 weeks to be delivered. Well, I wasn’t expecting it until next week but I woke up this morning to the sound of knocking on my front door. I came downstairs and no one was there… but I found a surprise package instead! I ripped the wrapping straight away and read the beginning of the book. It was an awesome start to my day!” – Derrintia
<p style=”text-align: right;”><a href=”http://1000awesomethings.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/derrintia-australia.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter wp-image-9837″ style=”border: 0 none; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;” title=”Derrintia – Australia” src=”http://1000awesomethings.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/derrintia-australia.jpg&#8221; alt=”” width=”195″ height=”260″ /></a><span style=”color: #c0c0c0;”>

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#506 When the person you’re meeting is even later than you are

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.

You’re late.

Racing, running, rushing, you’re checking your watch and picturing your friend tapping their foot and rolling their eyes while waiting for you.

That’s why it’s great when you arrive hot, sweaty, and breathless just before they rush around the corner hot, sweaty, and breathless, too.

Now no one has to feel bad.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hi Neil, It’s nice to be able to put a face to the author of 1000 awesome things! here is my “awesome” that i wrote down last night at the book of awesome launch: Finally tagging the person that you’ve been playing phone tag with. Cheers, Fiona.”

Photo from: here

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