Monday, December 14, 2009
You know what never runs dry? A crayon. (The Great Ranking Of Problems.)
There is little in life more frustrating than the newest addition to my ongoing effort to categorize and rank all the problems in the world, so that finally we all can know whose problems are actually worse than whose.
The latest on the list, I'm sure we'll all agree, is a big problem. It's...
The pen ran dry midway through my signature.
I sign a variety of things during the day: letters, legal pleadings, my paycheck over to Sweetie (ba dum! Bum! Don't forget to tip your waitress!) and I may run into this more often than most people, but it's a problem for everyone.
When the pen runs dry, midway through my signature, I immediately think two thoughts:
1. What are the odds of that?
2. What the heck am I supposed to do now?
The "What are the odds of that" question is one I ask all the time when something happens that momentarily impedes me but I figure it shouldn't have happened -- like last week, when I was nearly stuck in the snow and needed to rev up my car to get up the hill, and suddenly a car comes down our hill preventing me from getting going... cars almost never come down our hill, because we're very nearly a dead-end, so I got to think What are the odds of that? and also many mean-spirited thoughts that aren't fit to print here.
And what are the odds of that is appropriate to think when a pen runs dry, say, in the a in my first name, or somewhere around there. How likely is it that the ink just ran out right there and couldn't even make it through the rest of my name? I always secretly suspect, when things like that happen, that "life" as an entity is conspiring against me to make things just a tiny bit more difficult than it has to be.
Worse, though, is the what do I do now? It's a problem, first, because I rarely realize the pen has gone dry instantly, so I have the almost-visible indentation of the rest of my name in the paper. But then I have to complete the signature, which requires finding a pen of the same color and beginning my signature right at the spot where I left off.
It almost never works. My signature is the end result of a variety of influences: the time of day, the things I'm working on, the years of practice to get my signature to have flourishes but be uncopyable, all of that culminates, when I sign my name, in a quick-but-stylish signature that, once interrupted, is like coming back to watch the second part of the movie the next day: it can be done, but the feeling's not the same.
And sometimes I can't find a pen of the same color, so I have to take a different color and trace over the first, carefully, making the whole thing look like a sloppy forgery.
Because my signatures could have legal implications, I'm going to break this problem out into two listings:
The pen ran dry midway through my signature (legal documents), ranked 72nd, and
The pen ran dry midway through my signature (stuff that doesn't really matter at all, so why am I signing it?) ranked 13,334th.
Prior entries on The Great Ranking Of Problems:
72. The pen ran dry midway through my signature (legal documents)
76: Family members imposing their diets on me
99: Spousal PB&J Incompatibility.
173: Preshoveling & reshoveling snow.
212:: What to do about stuff I was going to buy but then it broke in the store and now I still want to buy the stuff but I don't want to buy something that was broken?
413: Guilt Over Meanness To Sentient Paperclips
. . .
502: Having to wait forever, seemingly, for Italian food to cool down.
. . .
721: Printer not holding a lot of paper at once.
2,624: Unidentifiable Mystery Song Stuck In Head.
5,000: Lopsided Nail Clipping.
. . .
13,334: The pen ran dry midway through my signature (signing stuff that doesn't really matter at all, so why am I signing it?)
14,452: Worrying that there's too much peanut brittle leftover to eat before it goes bad.
15,451: Almost napping.
22,372: Having hair which isn't quite a definable color.
22,373: Having too many songs on an iPod