#487 Fitting into those jeans you haven’t been able to wear for a while

Brother, my closet is stuffed as a scarecrow.

See, I’ve got too many clothes because I keep all my old faves from years gone by. My drawers are packed with tattered jerseys, fraying undies,  and lonely socks praying for their partners to please come home. On top of all that, I’ve got dusty gems I can’t bear to toss — like a shirt I got for being Paperboy of the Month twenty years ago and one my friends made to celebrate a massive TV-watching marathon. Go Team Couch Potato.

Now, despite thejunky Grandma’s basement nature of my closet I do sometimes throw on hip waders and slip into the deep to try and fish things outta there. Usually I end up tossing an old pair of crap job shoes and a Genera Hypercolor T-shirt before it eventually happens: I pull out a faded pair of jeans from long, long ago.

My rusty brain suddenly flashes back to Saturday afternoons in the fitting room, the nervous first wash, and all those years this pair was #1 in my rotation. I hold it’s aging smooth-patches-and-lintballs body in my hands and suddenly decide to see if I can slip back into its cozy comfort.

As I close my door, shut my blinds, and yank that second skin up onto my plump, doughy ass I fondly remember rainy concerts, awkward makeout sessions, and dark summer nights in the park. I walk around the room and feel those shredded hems, smooth inside pockets, and all the old creases bending in just the right places.

I feel like I’m warmly welcoming an old friend back into my life.

I feel like I’m finally home.

AWESOME!– Email message –

“Dear Neil, my 8th grade class is currently working on the persuasion California state English learning standards.  As a special treat, I showed them 1000 Awesome Things and they now love it as much as I do.  We decided to create our very own tribute site to persuade others why something in particular is awesome. Check it out! Our site is called: www.30awesomethings.blogspot.com. I attached a photo of our class and I’m holding The Book of Awesome in the back row. Getting all of my students enthusiastic about an assignment, and making learning fun and inspirational is AWESOME!” – Ms. Pasternak

Photos from: here and here

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#488 Drying your hands on your pants

Swipe your dripping paws on those handy leg towels and let’s get back to business, baby.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“So…I heard about this blog from a friend and started following it just a few weeks ago! I told my other friend about it, who also knows that I never get things in the mail at college and I check my mail last week only to find The Book of Awesome in a cardboard box in my mail! I’ve been loving it ever since…”

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#489 Watching the sports highlights of the game you just finished watching

Couch potatoes of the world, hear my call.

We all know it’s great capping off three crumb-covered hours on the sofa by watching the highlights of the game you just watched. Yes, you lasted through all the timeouts, challenges, and pitching changes, so now’s your chance to relive that Sunday afternoon investment with a quick-clicking slideshow of the best parts.

Also, it’s fun comparing your Sportswatching Skills against the network to see who’s better. Did they show that blown call? Or that big save? What about the funny sign from the crowd? Chalk one up for potato if they missed something big.

Now, the greatest move is when you see the game live and then watch the highlights as soon as you get home. You’ve got a whole new camera angle and can even put both hands on the TV like a kitten to try and find yourself cheering in the crowd.

Yes, you came, you watched, and you saw the highlights.

Nobody can take that away from you.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hey Neil! I am now a broke college student but finally received my first pay cheque of the summer! First thing I bought with the money?.. The Book of Awesome, of course!” – Amberli

Photo from: here

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#490 Driving around with the windows down on late summer nights

Kids cruise on wobbly bikes, toddlers race on tipsy trikes, and you drift deep into the hot summer night. Swerve and curve on windy roads as darkness slowly falls and stars pop out to reveal a twinkly twilight glow. As you hit the gas and drop your windows the warm beating rush of summer air makes you smile and makes everything else in the world just fade away… fade away… fade away… fade away… fade away…

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Hi Neil, I just discovered 1000 Awesome Things and it made me incredibly happy. SO happy in fact that I wrote it down as #3274 in my Happy Book. For about a year and a half now, my friends, neighbors, strangers, and I have written down thousands of things that make us happy. Many are inside jokes but some are “whipping out something random from your memory” (#1694) or “sitting in the back seat of a car without the people in front knowing” (#2866). I have the authors sign and date their entries. We all have bad days but looking through my Happy Book reminds me of when we were feeling different and cheers me up. Thank you for the blog and The Book of Awesome!” – Hannah

Photo from: here

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#491 The Party Save

The Party Save happens anytime a friend yanks you from a bad party conversation by pulling off a thrilling and daring rescue mission.

Here’s how it all goes down:

Step 1:  The Plan. Say tonight you’re heading to a housewarming, office Christmas party, or New Year’s bash. As you and your date walk into Stranger Conversation Territory it’s important to make that deal up front. You save them, they save you. Don’t forget to shake.

Step 2: The Signal. You’re trapped! When you find yourself listening to neverending vacation stories, getting detailed stock-picking advice, or hearing about someone’s thesis, it’s time to get out. Signal your friend with an eager Smile N’ Raised Eyebrows glance, casual Nodding Head-Tilt beckon, or if absolutely necessary, a booming blood-curdling “Get over here!” scream, like Scorpion in Mortal Kombat.

Step 3: The Save. Here’s the tricky part. Your friend comes over and has two options. First, they can play False Emergency and drag you away while apologizing to the chatty strangers. This is  risky because it could look forced and you’ll need to disappear rather than just talking to someone else. Instead, they can try The Natural, which is where they drop a nice, normal transition into the conversation. “Should we go grab some food?”, “Linda just got here, let’s say hi”, or “Where’s the bathroom?” usually work well.

Remember: when you’re stuck, when you’re stranded, when all you see is gloom, just yell for your brothers and sisters and let them pull you across the room.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“My best friend discovered your blog and the book of awesome and showed it to me one day at work… and well i’m hooked. We often cross post awesomeness on each other’s Facebook walls and started an awesome things list of our own… I couldn’t help but continue to spread more awesomeness to her with the actual copy of the book but, being in Korea made it a little difficult. I couldn’t buy and deliver it to her personally. HOWEVER, i prevailed. I ordered her a book online and had it wrapped, carded and shipped to her!” – Sarah, Sanbon, South Korea

Photos from: here and here

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#492 The first text message between new friends

“Alright, have a great weekend, see you Monday.”

“Yup, you too… hey wait, what are you up to tonight, anyway?”

“Oh, not much, really. Maybe heading into the city with friends.”

“Cool, we’ll be down there too. Thinking dinner, maybe drinks.”

“Oh yeah? Here, add my number to your phone.”

“Perfect, I’ll text you later then… see where you’re at.”

AWESOME!

Join us on Facebook.

– Email message –

“dear neil, when I went to go buy the book of awesome at my local b & n, I was extremely disappointed to find it sold out. as I turned to leave, an employee nearly ran into me. thankfully, she had an armful of awesome with her! my heartbreak healed, I thanked her and made my way to the registers. was it fate? I like to think so. awesome!” – debra

Photo from: here

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#493 When that zit growing on your forehead suddenly just disappears

Acne is not our friend.

Blackheads multiply, whiteheads spread, and pimples pop up before prom, people. Yes, our silky smooth skin gets junked up with oily messes as we’re straightening ties and squeezing into prom dresses. Baby, whether you’re rocking Forehead Volcanos, The Rudolph Nose, or a full on Pizza Face, we’ve all been there and we know it ain’t pretty and we know it ain’t fun.

But that’s what makes it great when those bumpy omens of zits to come sometimes just disappear overnight.

Oh sure, you scoped that new baby zit in the mirror last night and you tucked it nice and tight into bed. Yes, you thought you’d wake up with it burning nice and bright smack dab in the middle of your forehead.

But instead … it’s just gone, gone, gone away.

Never to be heard from again.

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Dear Neil, a few weeks ago I logged on to complete my favorite Sunday ritual.  After reading Postsecret, I saw where Frank mentioned The Book of Awesome.  I logged into your website and after reading a few hours I ordered your book. This past weekend, I went to see my girlfriend and was excited to see her.  But the weekend was horrible and I cried the three hours home. When I got there, I was so excited to see your book had come, but was still feeling the depression that follows a breakup.  Now I am happy to say that everytime I want to cry, I open your book and read.  I have laughed, cried, and felt better than I have in a long time.  Thank you so much for giving me something to look forward to.” -Brittanie

 

Photos from: here and here

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#494 Cutting your sandwich into triangles

Welcome back to Childhood.

Gooey grilled cheese drips and oozes onto heavy ceramic dishes lying on wobbly kitchen tables. Dusty sunlight beams down on the dog as you sit with your brother on Saturday afternoon beside the whirring fridge with rainbow letter magnets in front of the pea green stove.

Sandwich triangles give us more first bites and let us chomp right into the taste nucleus of our lunch.

Welcome to Flavor Country, everybody.

We’re home.

AWESOME!

Sign up for 1000 Awesome Things on email

– Email message –

“Hi Neil, I was diagnosed with cancer in April 2010 and my girlfriend Theresa gave me The Book of Awesome as part of a “feel good” gift. Talk about hitting the mark for putting a smile on someone’s face! Not only do I enjoy re-living the AWESOME moments you share, I’ve also enjoyed living some new personal AWESOME moments since my diagnosis: 1) listening to my 3.5yr old daughter laugh hysterically as she pats my bald head, 2) watching my 3 month old son go from confused to happy when he figures out who I am (poor little guy can see me in a wig/scarf/hat/bald all within a short time frame), 3) continuously getting blown away by acts of kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness from friends and family. This email is to thank EVERYONE who has done something AWESOME for a friend today and to thank YOU for doing something AWESOME for everyone!” – Brigitte

Photo from: here

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#495 When it suddenly just clicks

I was bad at Kindergarten.

Yes, growing up a small, frightened, sheltered kid meant my daily drip to Grade 0 was the same as blasting me to the moon for six hours a day. I was helpless and alone, down on my own, in a cold and distant unknown.

Honestly, I was so shy I didn’t talk to anyone, anytime, ever. I would stare at my shoes while coloring, face the wall at nap time, and hide under evergreens at recess. Yes, I was the Kindergarten Ghost, a skinny, snot-nosed phantom who haunted the classroom by sitting in the corner all day playing with his zipper. Really, the only time I was less than ten feet from the other kids was when we sat in a circle around a trash can centerpiece every day at lunchtime.

My mom packed me a loaded paper bag for just the occasion each day.

Yes, I’d pull out a bologna sandwich and still have a juice box, granola bar, and cheese string left over. Since I was about three feet tall and clocked in around forty pounds, I usually just ate half the sandwich and quietly threw everything else into the centerpiece.

Now, my massively wasteful ways continued until one day in mid-October when my teacher Mrs. Armstrong mindlessly peeked into the trash can while walking by.

“Wait a minute,” she called out, reaching in to pick up my perfectly wrapped up food. “Who threw this out?”

I suppose my wide eyes, swinging legs, and chin-to-chest pose gave me away because she walked right over to me.

“Neil, did you throw this out?”

I nodded without looking up thinking I was about to get smacked, sent to the principal’s office, or expelled completely for my cheese-tossing ways. But she lowered herself to my level and said “Neil, do you see Matthew over there?”

I looked up at a dirty-faced kid picking his nose with a pencil on the other side of the circle.

“Well, Matthew doesn’t have enough food for his lunch. He’s still hungry. Would it be okay to give Matthew the granola bar you don’t want?”

I nodded again and this time Mrs. Armstrong beamed and spoke loudly for everyone.

“Neil, this is called sharing. Giving things to other people is sharing with them. Thank you for sharing your lunch with Matthew.”

She passed the granola and cheese to Matthew who gobbled it down quickly while I sat tall in the golden praise from my teacher. I felt great and could hear my inner headgears spinning in all directions. Sparks flew inside my five year old brain as I slowly made a bit more sense of the weird and wild world around us …

Yes, when it suddenly just clicks it suddenly feels

AWESOME!

Sign up for 1000 Awesome Things by email.

– Email message –

“Our brother Freddo introduced our family to your blog right at the beginning and we’re all big fans. We were thrilled when we heard about your Webby and book deal and couldn’t wait for The Book of Awesome.

Our family is spread far and wide – across 3 countries and 3 time zones – so we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. But we email frequently and often discuss the latest awesome thing in our online discussions, debating our favorites (Annick’s is #760 and Karine’s is #817).  We finally got together for a long overdue sisters’ weekend and both happened to bring our awesome books. Much laughter, giggling and silliness ensued – especially after we chose our new favorite – Strategic Trick-or-Treating. Thanks for all the awesomeness.” – Annick and Karine
Photos from: here, here, and here

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#496 Seeing way worse weather on TV somewhere else

Now, we certainly don’t wish trouble on our neighbors around the world.

It’s just that when we see rain filling up roads, snowdrifts burying mailboxes, and giant hailstones peppering people’s Preludes, there’s just one big thought that flashes through our brains and makes us feel lucky.

“I’m sure glad I’m not there.”

AWESOME!

– Email message –

“Thank you so much for The Book of Awesome.The possibility of ordering your book online to Germany is absolutely AWESOME! My hometown is called Siegen in North Rhine Wetphalia. It is located 100 km east of Cologne. It is a relatively quiet place. A place where it is easy to spot 1000s of AWESOME things. :-)” – Tim

Photo from: here

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