#597 When a cop finally passes you after driving behind you for a while

Cruising cops cause traffic stops.

Yes indeedy, the rest of us law-aspiring citizens immediately slow to a speed limit cruise when we spot cops silently swerving behind our bumpers. We’re the jittery school of fish with jumpy eyes and they’re the silent shark swimming over to our lane.

With our hearts drum-thumping and our white-knuckled hands gripping the wheel we temporarily become Super Drivers – using our signals, leaving space, and checking our mirrors every two seconds.

We don’t know if the cop is eyeballing us, about to flick its flashers,  or typing our license plate into its computer, so we’re in a heightened state of driving. And sometimes the cop sort of sits behind you for a while, too. Seconds tick like hours when Yourtown’s Finest stick to your heels and force questions through your brain: Was I actually speeding? Should I change lanes? Does he want me to speed up?

Everything slowly and slowly builds and builds to a bigger and bigger feeling of tension and pain…

… until he finally just zooms off into the distance, never to be heard from again.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

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#598 Secretly sniffing your armpits and realizing you don’t stink

Nobody’s gonna tell you you stink.

Honestly, the much-needed finger-pointing, nose-pinching tipoff is harder to spot than an albino Bigfoot.

See, there are limits to the amount of quiet social tips we’re willing to toss out there. When your tag’s hanging out the back of your sweater, we’re on it. When there’s a slimy parsley leaf stuck between your two front teeth, we’ll let you know. And if one of your collars is flipped up, we’ll get it for you.

But if there’s a cloud of B.O. flying off you with big stink-lines going in all directions, well then you’re on your own.

That’s why it’s great to snag a quiet moment to sniff your pits and make sure that deodorant’s working.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here and here

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#599 Walking around naked when you’re home alone

You are charged with one count of checking yourself out in the mirror, two counts of irresponsible couch usage, four counts of shower-to-bedroom carpet drippage, and seventeen counts of temporary nudity of the first degree.

How do you plead?

AWESOME!

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#600 When the DJ plays your request

Suddenly you’re a VIP.

Yes, the dance party turns into a private rockout in your messy apartment as you jump on the floor, nod at the DJ, and start bringing down the house with your superfly moves.

Cristal for everybody!

AWESOME!

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#601 Setting the new high score on a video game

It’s a big deal.

When I was a little kid my friends and I took pictures of the TV screen after setting new high scores. It was so important to us we’d even mail the photos to video game magazines hoping they’d splash them across their pages as a late-breaking scoop.

Two eight-year-olds defeat Bowser in epic battle

No-holds-barred streetfight in turtle-dragon-thing’s lair features fire balls and flying hammers

Yes, if you’ve been there you know the road to setting a new high score is paved with lots of swearing, thrown controllers, and empty soda cans. Blurry eyes, all-day bedhead, and expanding pit stains are the mark of these basement-dwelling champions.

Now, while cracking top spot at home offers a big rush, there’s something to be said about the rare moment you actually pull it off in an arcade.

After all, you’ve probably dumped a few buckets of quarters into the machine just to get to M. Bison, so the payoff is your treat for spending weeks of allowance and candy money. Also, you get to put your initials into the machine which means you can you can go with your actual initials, the AAA default, or the filthiest three-letter-word you know. Just make sure nobody unplugs the machine and have a couple witnesses so you’ve got proof of being the ASS at Tony’s Pizza Slice who racked up 171,000 points on Ms. Pac Man.

Setting a new high score on a video game is moment of total euphoria. Your heart speeds up and your brain flies off as you realize you’re making it big. Yes, you turned tightly on Rainbow Road, nailed a Tetris when the screen was full, and hit all the right notes on Cowboys from Hell.

The blisters, eyestrain, and malnutrition was worth it, you think to yourself, as you survey your dark and seedy den of empty chip bags, greasy pizza boxes, and dirty socks. And as that slow smile curls across your face make sure you take a moment to nod at the TV screen and bask in your glowing moment of guts and glory.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here and here

Illustration from: here

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#602 Staring ahead at a brand new year

Because anything could happen. And maybe anything will.

AWESOME!

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#603 Getting through it

That was a tough one.

Come on in and stop for a second to shake your head, dust yourself off, and look back at how far you’ve come.

Sure, it’s been a long year. Some crushing lows slapped you and smacked you around. There were times your heart dipped and you squinted back tears while your stomach squeezed so tightly you couldn’t sleep. There were moments you walked around in a glossy-eyeball daze — when loved ones hurt, friends didn’t stay, or someone dear to your heart slowly drifted away.

Sleepless nights, stressful nights, with teething babies, slurring customers, bad bosses, bickering boyfriends, or blank computer screens. You were feeling and you were dealing and you were reeling and you were healing.

But as you walked your hard path down your long and bumpy road some little drops of confidence dripped like coffee into your head and into your heart. As you stumbled and got back up a quiet inner strength slowly seeped into your bones. And as you climbed over obstacles set in your way some relaxed satisfaction and growing self-awareness glimmered like bright lights at the bottom of your stomach.

Yes, this year changed you and grew you in so many ways you don’t even feel or notice yet. As you struggled you empathized, as you slipped you understood, as you worked you earned…

… as you looked you learned

… as you dared you grew

… … … and as you jumped you flew.

Your dreams are still focusing and your passion is growing. Your energy is still bubbling and your story keeps going.

You’ve been through so much and gained a year’s supply of experience along the way. You’re stronger than you were last year and stronger than you realize. Sure, there were times you bent, but you definitely didn’t break. There were times you caved, but you definitely didn’t flake.

Listen up: you got bigger, you got better, and you got the scars to prove it.

So stop for a second today to smile and look back at everything you’ve done this year… everything you’ve seen… everywhere you’ve been…

You’ve taken more illegal naps and had more blurry-eyed late nights.

You’ve danced to more wedding songs and smiled at more beautiful sights.

You’ve seen more scorching sunsets and heard more head-bopping songs.

You’ve tripped a few times, but baby, you kept rolling right along.

Yes, you’ve hugged more old friends and kissed some brand new pretty faces.

You’ve cheered more on the sidelines and visited some brand new pretty places.

You tasted more meals, you got more deals, and you’ve sniffed more flower blossoms.

And you made it all the way through this year because you’re so completely

AWESOME!

(For the first time in a long time, I left Comments open on this post. Feel free to drop a 2013 or 2014 message! -Neil)

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#604 Walking on grass with bare feet

Good grass is hard to find.

Yes, if you’ve paid a visit to your local playground or backyard recently, you know those fresh, clean, silky smooth greens are a rare breed. Broken glass, dog doo, and crumpled fast food bags can coat the shaggy green carpets around your home.

It’s tough out there but don’t worry: According to our egghead pals, grass is the most common plant in the whole wide world. Yup, thousands of species cover mountaintops, swamp bogs, prairie plains, and Wimbledon courts all over our swirling, twirling planet.

We just gotta find it.

So grab your binoculars, toss on a backpack, and head into the wilderness to scope those fresh patches of soft grassy greens blowing quietly in the warm wind. When you get there, drop the pack, peel off the stinky socks, and get walking, brother. After all:

1. Exotic toe massage. How often do your pita-bread cracked heels, broken soles, and little toe elbows score some rubby loving? We’re gonna bet not too often. Honestly, speak up if you’re getting this action somewhere else because we’re all ears. For most of us the blades-of-grass rubdown is the only foot action we get. We’ll take it!

2. Slick n’ slidin’. Sometimes there’s fresh morning dew out, sometimes you slide your screen door open after a summer shower, sometimes the backyard sprinkler’s raining down on everything. On all these magic moments the cool wet blades massage your foot’s wrinkly nooks and crannies and calm your soul. We’ll take it!

3. Do the doo. Hey, we’ve all stepped in dog crap before and there’s nothing pretty about it. All we’re gonna say is if your six-year-old steps in it while running around in bare feet, well that’s a lot easier to clean than if they step in it wearing brand new bright white sneakers. We’ll take it!

Yes, if you’re with us you know grass is a nice escape from the scalding sand, burning driveway, or pebbly pavement scratching at our feet.

We’ll take it!

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#605 Getting your guests to help you move something really heavy

Hey man, thanks for coming over. Wait, wait, wait, hold on, uh, don’t take off your shoes for a second. Listen, I’ve got this desk, and I sorta really need to get it out to the garage. Could you, I mean, it’ll only take a second.

(sheepish grin)

AWESOME!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Photo from: here

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#606 The Kid’s Table

The Kids Table is where all the kids eat dinner at holiday family gatherings.

It’s generally a rickety card table from the basement pushed beside a yellow plastic one from the playroom that ends up turning Grandma’s hallway into an eat-in kitchen. Sometimes it’s two different heights, sometimes the chairs are broken, and usually the whole thing is covered in a plastic Christmas tablecloth freshly ripped from the dollar store cellophane.

No matter what though, The Kids Table a great place to find burps, laughs, and juice spills at a holiday meal. Everyone’s enjoying a warm evening with cousins decked out in their finest cableknit sweaters, rosy red cheeks, and massive bedhead.

Yes, The Kids Table is great for many reasons.

First off, no parents, no problems. Nope, they’re all baking pies, playing ping-pong, or sipping eggnog by the fireplace. The parenting theory here is that the kids sort of form a group safety net who will likely come screaming if somebody gets hurt, so no need for a pesky watchful eye. So with all adults distracted, rules fly out the window and suddenly elbows lean up on tables, chewed-up brussel sprouts get hidden in napkins, and somebody starts eating mashed potatoes with their bare hands.

And no matter what how old everybody is the rule at The Kids Table is that you must act like you’re seven. Teenagers who think they’re too old for the table quickly start blowing bubbles in their milk, pouring salt in people’s drinks, and giggling like mad. Then someone pops a loud fart and everyone laughs for ten straight minutes.

Lastly, let’s not forget that The Kids Table eats first and sometimes features special items like lasagna with no onions, random chopped-up hot-dogs, or real Coke.

People, a lot of good times and great moments happen at The Kids Table. Little ones learn from older siblings and cousins. Childhood bonds and friendships are formed over toys, tears, and gravy spills. And for kids, it’s good practice for eating with high-school pals at the local greasy spoon when someone gets their driver’s license or scarfing a hungover breakfast with college roommates at the dining hall.

So thank you, The Kids Table.

For all you do.

AWESOME!

Photos from: here, here, and here

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