You're probably thinking that Neil Pasricha couldn't possibly be as sunny as his Awesome project. Truth is, he's the real deal.
The man who created the blog 1000awesomethings.com and then spun it into three best-selling books is the embodiment of positivity. The original idea was to count down 1,000 daily posts, each of which identified one everyday thing that's truly amazing.
On the eve of his last post (Thursday, April 19) - the 1000th awesome thing was Anything You Want It To Be - he talked to NOW about the meaning of awesome, what he loves about Toronto and how happy he is that The Book Of Awesome makes great bathroom reading.
Are you sick of the word "awesome" yet? A lot of people are.
[Laughing] If you look it up on the Urban Dictionary, it's defined as "a term Americans use to describe everything." Sure we're gonna have overused words - the British use the word "brilliant" too much.
But "awesome" has almost lost its meaning.
I use the word "awesome" because it means something big, something grand. Graduating from college, dancing with my dad at my wedding, having my first baby - those are awesome things. But why reserve them for once every five years? Why not apply it to everyday things?
So how do you define it now?
An awesome thing is something free, simple and universal. Getting into the shortest lineup at the grocery store, that's awesome. If you go on a plane and get the whole row to yourself, that's awesome.
Do you ever feel your outlook is a little too rosy?
I've never thought of myself as an optimist. I have good days and bad days. The other day I was on the phone with Rogers for five hours trying to get a charge removed from my bill and I wasn't a very nice person at that time. The goal isn't to be happy all the time. It's to be aware that if you're having a bad time, just appreciate those awesome moments.
You work in the Mississauga Walmart's human resources department. With your books on the bestseller list for three years, can't you afford to quit?
I don't like the concept of retirement. When I was in high school our beloved guidance councillor retired and within a month was dead of a heart attack.
But the projects have made a chunk of change.
I've had 45 million hits on the blog and I've never run an ad. The Awesome blog is a creative project. I don't want to come home and say, "Here's my chance to make $100, now I've got to write a blog post." It's about the blog post, not the money.
Does it bug you when someone says the Awesome books make great bathroom reading?
No, I appreciate that. I've received pictures of people reading them on the toilet. To qualify for the bathroom, you have to be of a digestible length and always interesting. No one wants to read anything serious or boring in the bathroom. An awesome thing is finding good reading material in someone else's bathroom.
You're a proud Toronto resident. What's awesome about our city?
Nobody makes a hot dog like T.O. vendors. I love how the street meat is taken care of so it has crispy skin and is sliced so it has the lines that you can put ketchup and mustard in and the first bite has all that juice in it.
Plus, Toronto is the only city where you can see a baseball game, a hockey game, a basketball game, a soccer game and a football game on the same day. And then after, you can get a chicken curry poutine. You can't get there anywhere else.