One of my friends, Neil Pasricha, is good people. He’s one of those people who understands that sometimes I disappear for months when my brain goes dark but is there to talk for 90 minutes straight when it lights back up. He is one of the few people who can write genuinely happy things that don’t make me mad. This sounds ridiculous but personally I struggle with books about appreciating life and that’s sort of what he’s great at and usually those kinds of books make me go, “Well this is a person who has clearly never lived in the real world” except that Neil has lived in the real world and understands so many of the same struggles I’ve had and his books are less “YOU SHOULD BE THANKFUL THAT YOU’RE ALIVE, YOU UNGRATEFUL TURD” and more about, “You know what’s awesome? When you totally should have gotten a parking ticket but didn’t.” In fact, his newest book (OUR BOOK OF AWESOME) is all about that. Just lists of awesome, small things that make you smile. And that’s lovely because it’s like a gratitude journal that I don’t even have to write, and even more lovely because when I open up to any page and read a few and…honestly…I don’t feel grateful. Instead I feel nostalgia, which is better. This sounds weird but when I read “awesome” things that exist in the world when I’m feeling down it I’m often too deep into a depression to appreciate them and instead I feel this cognitive dissonance of knowing that my emotions aren’t working correctly. But when I read the “awesome” things in this book while I’m feeling down I instead use it to remember moments when I was really happy and in that way it reminds me I’ll be happy again.
I read “Making disgusting slurping noises while eating a really juicy peach” and go, “Gross.” And then a second later I remember eating peaches from my grandmother’s peach tree and how we’d make homemade peach ice cream in the backyard and for some reason my sister or I always had to sit on the antique wooden churn while all my aunts and uncles took turns hand cranking it. Why did we have to sit on the churn? I have no idea. But remembering it gave me a warm feeling in my heart. It was like the gift of a memory and the reassurance that there are wonderful, small memories I can still unlock and that there will be more that I’ll make in the future.
I read Neil appreciating “The sound of a needle hitting the record” and I think, “Who still has records?” but then suddenly I’m 10 again and discovering that my library lends out records and they have the Yentl soundtrack and I loudly sing Papa, Can You Hear Me over and over in the living room, so much that father is finally like, “OH MY GOD, YES JENNY WE HEAR YOU! THE NEIGHBORS CAN HEAR YOU. IT IS LITERALLY 6AM. PLEASE NO MORE YENTL” and so I sigh and put Yentl away and replace it with the Annie soundtrack and loudly sing that song about how I betcha my real parents are probably pretty awesome and will be coming back to get me one day and then my dad was like, “You know those headphones I said to never touch? Just take them. For the love of God, take them.”
I read Neil appreciating “When you cook something new and everyone likes it” and I turn to the next page because I can’t relate because I guess everything’s not all about me but then he’s like, “Successfully blaming your fart on the dog” and I’m back in.
Anyway, all this to say that in a strange way it’s helped me this week because several times I found myself seeing these little moments of awesome in my own life and enjoying them and wanting to share.
When an onion ring ended up in my bag and I didn’t even order onion rings.
When I found tweezers when I actually needed tweezers.
When you clean off a counter that’s been all hoardery for so long that you’ve forgotten that it was ever actually a counter and then the next morning it’s still clean and it’s like a little gift to you and you keep going back to it because, damn, that’s a good looking counter, y’all.
When Victor facetimed me from Japan last night because he wanted me to see this doll shop that I love but the noise of the phone ringing makes Dorothy Barker howl so I put the phone in front of her like she was answering the phone and I was going “Awoooo!” along with her because it’s cute and then I hear Victor explaining to the shop worker that he’s not recording the dolls and is just letting me shop from Texas and he’s like, “See, it’s my wife” but is unaware that he’s actually showing them a video of a small dog howling and he’s trying to explain it in Japanese but the shop worker is like, “What is going on here?” and then I figure it what’s happening and quickly take the phone away from the dog before Victor realizes that he’s been telling people that he’s not a weird grown man recording pictures of dolls, but is in fact, asking his wife – a dog – which one she wants.
Anyway, I reached out to Neil to thank him for sending me an advance copy of this book that I didn’t know that I needed and he was so happy that he was like, “Awesome! Want me to send some advance copies to your readers?” because he’s full of amazingness.
So if you want an advance copy leave a comment here about something awesome that you love or something awesome that has happened to you or something awesome you’re looking forward to and he’ll pick a few randomly to send a few advance books to. (Make sure to leave your email address. I won’t use it for anything except to give to Neil so he can get your address from you if you win a copy.)
PS. This isn’t an ad. I’m not getting paid for it. I just thought you might enjoy. 🙂