January 21, 2019
Sorry I’m a little late posting this week. Had some family things going on today. Feel free to reply to anything here by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, howdy-do and welcome to Week Number 383 of our journey down the back roads and little-traveled trails of our native tongue, pausing here and there to wonder “just where in the heck are we going?” Good question. I’ll just keep writing until I run out of words; how’s that?
I was thinking the other day that I have spent approximately 40 years searching for the Right Pen. The search continues. Seems like the minute I become happy or at least satisfied with one type of pen, the manufacturer does something to make it work less well. I know what they’re saying: “I see by the tracking data that O’Connor has been buying our Medium Point Write-Fab 1000. He must like it. Maybe we can upgrade him to our Write Amazingly Fab 3G model at twice the price.”
“I don’t know,” says the marketing guru. “The Amazingly Fab is the same pen with just a fancier barrel. He might figure out what we’re doing and go back to those Uni-ball rollers he was using. Why don’t we leave well enough alone?”
But I’ll bet they won’t. Because they know they have a Pen Nut on the hook. My wife, the former English teacher, has always been greatly amused by my penchant for falling in love with a certain type of pen. She has graded 49 million or more papers and was probably not aware at any given time as to what sort of pen she was using.
“I had dozens of them in my desk” she explained. “I just grabbed one and got to work. As long as it had ink in it, I didn’t care how it looked or felt in my hand. To me, a pen is not a religious experience.” This from a lady whose brother is an absolute pen freak. He likes fountain pens, which are still widely available, just not in the type of stores where I shop. He let me try his latest acquisition not long ago. It was pleasant, I gotta admit, but not at thirty bucks a pop. I’m the type that buys the ‘Ten (Plus 2 More Free!) for $4.99′ pen.
For years I used those Bic sticks, or whatever they’re called now, the basic no-frills number with the hexagonal barrel. Along the way there may have been a few Paper Mates, and Uni-ball rollers, along with a sprinkling of assorted No-Namers. (The latter was the 15 (plus two extra!) for $3.99 number.) I shoulda known better.
For the past eight or ten years I’ve used the Bic Atlantis and was pretty happy with it. Then I started noticing things. You’d buy a five-pack; three would work great and the other two not so great. The line on the paper from those two would be noticeably thinner than the other pens from the same pack. They wouldn’t travel across the paper as easily. And the barrel on all five felt sort of, I don’t know, cheap, compared to the earlier models.
So now I’m test-running a pack of Zebra Z-Grips, mainly ‘cause my understanding wife gave them to me as a Christmas stocking stuffer. I kind of like ‘em, especially compared to the Pilot G2, with which I had a brief unrequited love affair last fall.
Only problem with the Zebra: it almost seems to write TOO easily. I can’t think as fast as this pen wants to go.
And the search goes on.
In Matters of Trivia, the search for the mysterious Chiefs running back didn’t take long. Roger got it first: Christian Okoye, “The Nigerian Nightmare” as he was called. Terry had it right, too, as did Tom and Vicki. Christian was a big, bruising runner who unfortunately had a rather short career due to injuries.
Tom and Vicki both said the Hunt family (Chiefs owners) connection to the Super Bowl was the Lamar Hunt Trophy, which goes to the AFC Champion. No, sorry, we’re talking about a DIRECT connection to the Super Bowl. If you know the story of how Chubby Checker got his name, you’ll know where I’m going.
Vicki remembered Sub ‘n Stuff. It was located on Tenth where Wendy’s is now. Vicki said the franchisee was my old broadcast buddy J.R. Carr. I remember seeing him there, but I never knew he was the honcho. Vicki, how did you know that? I always amazed at how much I learn from you guys each week.
The question about what old-timey type of soap can be used to treat skin irritations picked up in the woods had a couple of takers; Tom and Julie both said ‘lye soap.’ Roger said ‘Lifebuoy.’ There may be some truth there, but I was thinking about a two-part brand name. (Hmm, sounds like a hint.)
Okay, two other questions remain: the Hunt family question (see above) and the name of the guy who invented (300 years ago) a very important piece of fishing gear, which remain virtually unchanged. (Hint: when you fish, what is the most important ‘link in the chain,’ so to speak?)
Three new ones: What was the original name of the now-empty restaurant building just south of Tenth and McKinley?
What’s the most interesting fact about Chiefs radio network sideline reporter Dani Welniak?
What was former Chiefs coach Marv Levy’s contribution to team (and fan) spirit? Hint: it wasn’t anything that actually happened on the field.)
Oh, and thanks to the Chiefs for some great memories this season. Next year: Super Bowl!
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See you next week.