#807 Your Keeper Pen

Friends forever

You know the one.

The cap is long gone, the end is chewed up, but that trusty ballpoint, she keeps flowing like Niagara Falls.

Loyal, failsafe, and inky to the bone, that one really good pen might be stashed on top of the fridge, deep in a dresser drawer, or down at the bottom of the pencil case.

But it’s stashed, and it’s handy, and it does the deed just fine.

Now sure, once in a while you might even think you’ve lost your trusty, old pen. You don’t see her for a few weeks, maybe a few months. You figure she accidentally rolled under the stove, mistakenly got garbaged, or worse — was hoodwinked by a callous and immoral Pen Thief masquerading as a fiddle-dee-dee, aw-shucks Pen Borrower.

There is a period of grieving, but then one random day you just find her again, sure enough — sleeping soundly in your winter jacket pocket or lounging around carefree in the old Scrabble box. It always seems to happen when you least expect it.

And isn’t there just something about that one really good pen that’s always kicking around? Yes, in these days of text messages, kitchen whiteboards, and visual voicemail, it’s nice having a steady-eddy pen by your side. Because that pen is something real. Something honest.

Something worth believing in.

AWESOME!

Just like the pen

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#808 Coming home after a really long day to the smell of someone cooking dinner

Time to check out for the dayBrain boggled, pants greasy, heels too high, or tie too tight?

Can feel your heartbeat in your temples? Does your bad breath taste like paint? Is your carpal tunnel syndroming? Because if so, Office Joe, then maybe it’s been a long day. Maybe you stapled too many TPS reports, got buried under too much homework, or had an inky run-in with a jammed photocopier at the end of the day.

Who has half an hour to sort this out?But you scrape by, you scrape home, you scrape up to the front door — tired and sore, aching from war — as the sun sets behind you, the traffic jams behind you, and your stomach rumbles inside you. That bagel you scarfed seven hours ago is a distant memory but you’re much too exhausted to do anything besides dial for pizza.

Not doing the trickAnd that’s what makes it so great when you pop open your door and catch a hot whiff of something sizzling in the kitchen. Even though your clogged-up, toner-infused brain can barely soak up anything more, you somehow manage to piece things together: Dinner me eat. Food yes now.

And suddenly there is new life.

Your lips slowly curl at the corners, your nose slowly sniffs at the nostrils, and there’s a faint and distant chime as your eyes flash a quick cartoonish sparkle. Yes, you’ve got new energy now so you kick off your shoes, peel off those sweaty socks, and let the saliva start to flow for some tasty eats cooked up hot and fresh by someone you love.

AWESOME!

dig-in

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#809 The first day in new socks

Don't tell me this doesn't excite you

Alright, let’s break it down.

New Socks Day is great for four big reasons:

1. Treat for your feet. Face it, your feet got it bad. Big toes get stubbed, dry skin gets rubbed, and bunions grow on your baby toe. Squeeze those caked and cracked pita-bread heels into tight shoes all day and you’ll soon agree: Your feet deserve to be treated like royalty. On New Socks Day, feet aren’t just forgotten warriors clad in an unprotective armor of toe-knuckle hair, bulging veins, and dry skin. No, they rise into king and queens — lovingly cloaked in royal gowns, bathed softly in soft cotton, and tenderly hugged in fresh factory fabric.

Hard and crackly

2. The Slip n’ Slide. New socks grease your feet and let you move with reckless abandon across the hardwood floors of this great land.

3. High-Quality Toe Jam. What’s more gratifying that painstakingly picking out massive chunks of toe jam at the end of New Socks Day? When I do the deed, I pretend I’m a top-notch surgeon in baby-blue scrubs, leaning over a sliced-open stomach in the middle of a high-stakes surgery and then, in a dramatic moment, I just start lifting out these bloody pliers again and again, yanking out glass shard after glass shard, as everybody in the viewing gallery jumps to their feet and erupts in cheers. Could just be me, though.

Time to dig for toe jam

4. Clean Dream. Sure, today your socks may be bright white, but we both know they’ll never be this clean again. Tiny holes will grow, heels will brown or yellow, and the elastic will fray and rip away. One day you’ll hold a sock from the dryer up in front of your face and actually wonder if it’s clean or dirty. That’s when the Clean Dream is over and it’s time to go shopping and start again.

So next time you slowly peel on a fresh pair of socks, just smile because you know you’re in for a great New Socks Day.

AWESOME!

Toe Jam Heaven?

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#811 Getting off an airplane after a really long flight

Relief comes when this ends

BO clouds dissipate and float away, wailing babies quit wailing at the luggage bay, your cell phone works so you call friends up, say hey, and all your scrunched up, bunched up, hunched up muscles just relax as you stretch them out now, feeling A-okay. You’re out of the window seat, out of the aisle, you’re back on two feet, so just walk away and smile.

AWESOME!

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#813 Really elaborate museum gift shops

Portable cultureBecause let’s face it: the best stuff in the joint is generally silkscreened on an XXL T-shirt, printed on a novelty oversized pencil, or reduced to a tiny plastic key chain. Monet coasters and Van Gogh posters stuff shelves by the front door so you can pop in and out real quick and say you saw the good stuff.

AWESOME!

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#814 All those cheesy theme songs from 80’s sitcoms

TV theme songs are a dying breed.

Networks flash zooming logos or three-second jingles in place of the overextended 60-second song explaining how Gilligan and crew ended up on the island or what Will Smith is doing in Bel Air. And sure, maybe they get a few more commercials in or maybe we’d fast-forward through them anyway, but there was something special about curling up on the couch under a ratty, old blanket and listening to these classics, week after week. Let’s count down five of the greatest:

5. Growing Pains. With old scrolling photos of all the main characters and beautifully cheesy crooning about how, as long as we got each other, we’ve got the world spinning right in our hands, the Growing Pains theme song was the sitcom equivalent of taking a stroll up Grandma’s Staircase.

4. The Golden Girls. My brother-in-law Dee summarizes this theme song in three words: old ladies hugging. Including side-hugs, shoulder squeezes, and group huddles, how many do you count?

3. The Facts of Life. This Diff’rent Strokes spinoff stars housekeeper Edna Garrett making a lateral career move into a housemother of an all-girls school. The Facts of Life told us bluntly that you take the good, you take the bad, you take ’em both, and there you have, the facts of life … the facts of life.

2. Perfect Strangers. Watch as Balki Bartokomous shirks his sheep shepherding shtick in Mypos and sails over to the US with an ‘America or Burst’ crate to live with his distant cousin Larry in Chicago. Gotta love his mom’s tearful hankie-wave and the classic Dance of Joy. These two really are standing tall on the wings of their dreams. Nothing’s gonna stop them now.

1. Who’s the Boss? St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tony Micelli busts up his shoulder in one heart-wrenching slide into home plate. So he’s forced to leave Brooklyn in his big, blue van and ends up taking the road that’s hidden to score a brand new life around the bend. At the end of the trail is Angela, Mona, Jonathan, and a lucrative man-maiding gig.

Cornball theme songs from the 80’s were chock full of soaring crescendos and hokey lyrics about family values laid neat and tidy over fairytale plotlines and streaming images of group hugs and wacky hijinx. There was something so warm, comforting, and dependable about plopping down on the couch each week for that half-hour of good times with good pals.

So, to cheesy TV theme songs from the 80s we say: Thank you for being a friend.

AWESOME!

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