Saturday, August 21, 2010

HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS: About Simplicity

Things To
Your Day

By Neil Pasricha

My name is Neil Pasricha and I'm a no-name 30-year-old guy who started a tiny blog called 1000 Awesome Things back in June, 2008 with the goal of writing about one awesome thing every weekday.

I did this as my world was falling apart. In addition to all the bad news about melting ice caps, swirling hurricanes, and raging wars, like many of us I also had personal issues. My best friend took his own life and my wife and I went separate ways.

We sold our house, I moved to a tiny apartment, and I tried to get things back on track by talking about one simple, universal little joy every single day — like snow days, bakery air, or watching "The Price Is Right" when you're at home sick.

When I started the website I got excited when my mom forwarded it to my dad and the traffic doubled. Then I got excited when friends sent it to friends and strangers started sending me suggestions like: when cashiers open up new lanes at the grocery store, the smell of rain on a hot sidewalk, and waking up and realizing it's Saturday.

Over time the site started attracting millions of visitors, winning awards, and landed a book deal. This Spring The Book of Awesome came out everywhere. I'm massively flattered, thankful, and appreciative that so many people like awesome things just as much as I do.

I hope you enjoy these excerpts from the book:

1. The other side of the pillow—
On nights when you just can’t sleep, one of the greatest things invented is simply Turning Over The Pillow. Yes, flipping over your pillow and checking out the other side cranks Bed Comfort up a few notches and is a simple and easy way to help you relax and get comfy.

The other side of the pillow, folks. Because it’s flat when you’re sagging, fresh when you’re stale, and cold when you’re hot, baby. AWESOME!

2. Fixing electronics by smacking them—
Like The Fonz kicking the jukebox on "Happy Days," Grandpa smacking the TV during "Wheel of Fortune," or the bandana-clad mom shaking the washer when the heavy towel load gets it rocking, there is something great about fixing electronics by smacking them. I mean, for once our instincts work.

That doesn’t always happen in nature. Slap a bear on the snout when it’s picking through your trash and you might get a friendly mauling. Pull your brother’s hair when he steals your Xbox controller and you could find your toothbrush tossed in the toilet. But when a CD is skipping in the car, a friendly smack might just do the trick, so how about that? AWESOME!

3. When you’re really tired, about to fall asleep and someone throws a blanket on you—
When you start drifting on the couch you enter that blissful semi-conscious Pre-Nap World where your thoughts float and zoom around your brain and your muscles relax and detensify. The sun feels warm on your face, the radio in the background fades to a comforting white noise, and you just know...that you’re about to fall asleep.

That’s why it’s great whenever someone notices you lying there and quietly grabs a blanket from the closet to toss on your semi-conscious self. When that happens you immediately feel the warmth radiating around you, a tiny smile curls itself on the corners of your lips, and you fall deeper and deeper into a nice, relaxing rest. AWESOME!

4. Wordless apologies—
Tension fills the room and black clouds linger by the ceiling fan. Dinner was late, bills piled up, nobody called home. Now you’re steaming in front of the TV while they’re crying softly in the bedroom upstairs.

The stalemate burns quietly until they come down, enter the room slowly, grab your shirt sleeves and look right at you with a pair of warm, moist eyes while starting to give you a soft, smiling apology. But you see them coming and your stomach churns with a wave of regret so before they even get it out, you interrupt with a head shake and a hug. AWESOME!

5. The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk—
There’s just something about the smell of rain on a hot sidewalk. It’s sort of like the rain cleans the air — completely hammering all the dirt and grime particles down to the ground and releasing some hot, baked-in chemicals from the pavement.

It smells best if it hasn’t rained in a while and the sidewalk is scalding hot — then it sort of sizzles and steams up into a big, hot, intoxicating whiff. AWESOME!

6. The moment at a concert after the lights go out and before the band comes onstage—
You go early, you grab a drink, you buy a T-shirt, you find your seat or you edge up to the stage, you listen to the opening act, you people watch, you watch watch, you talk to your friends, you guess what songs they might play, and then the moment finally arrives: the background music fades down, all the lights suddenly go out, and there’s total blackness.

You feel a massive wave of anticipation sweep across the crowd, people stand up, raise their arms, and scream — and everyone clamors for that first view of the band walking onstage.


Neil Pasricha works an office job in the suburbs, eats frozen burritos for dinner, and needs to go to the gym more. He's just a regular guy who loves the smell of gasoline, sleeping on the cool side of the pillow, and peeling an orange in one shoot.


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