The versatile paper napkin



Bob Scott – Franklin Mayor

Society, as we know it,  would come to a complete stand still if we did not have paper napkins.  We have never given gratitude to the forerunner of the personal data assistant.  The PDA. 

Paper napkins come folded and dispensed in chrome or plastic dispensers – usually at fast food restaurants,  whose decor reminds us of high school lunch rooms.  

At civic club luncheons the eating utensils are wrapped in paper napkins – sometimes double – with a paper band holding it all together.  It saves a dispenser or laying them out on a table.

History never allows that huge shopping centers, highways, walls, churches and summer houses had their genesis as a sketch on a paper napkin. Did computers start with someone putting ones and zeros on a napkin?  It is possible. I don’t know, but I imagine most rocket ship stuff was once nothing but a pencil sketch on a napkin in some sterile NASA dining room. 

How many telephone numbers for plumbers, electricians, appliance repair people have been written on a napkin?  Usually the scenario is like this,  “Anybody know a good plumber?”  Someone usually does and they grab a napkin and write the number and name on it and slide it across the table to you. 

It never fails, that a person who offers to write something down on a napkin doesn’t carry a pencil or pen so he or she borrows one.  Common courtesy requires one to always have a pen or pencil. 

Wonder how many marriages began with a telephone number written on a napkin?

You ever watch someone recruiting to get into Amway?  A napkin is involved.  The recruiter diagrams circles on a napkin with you eventually being a billionaire at the top of the pyramid.

Or directions.  “How do you get to such and such?” someone will ask.  Grab a napkin and write out the directions.  The napkin becomes a pocketable GPS.

Got spring hay fever?  Runny nose?  The sneezes?  No problem.  Grab a handful of paper napkins. Stuff them into your pocket book.  Gucci don’t care.  Works just as well for a cold.

Napkins make great grocery lists. A place to list your meds when you go to the doctor.  A repository for those million dollar ideas that come to you at lunch. 

Keep some by your bed.  When you get a weird dream in the night, write it down on your bedside napkin, so you remember it and wonder later if it needs analyzing. 

A few of my buddies and myself,  were on a convention  and went to a Hooters.  One of our group, a serial flirter, was doing his flirting thing to a waitress.  She leaned over, grabbed a paper napkin, and wrote down a telephone number.  She slid it with a wink over to my flirtatious friend. He grinned. He called it the next morning and the number was for the senior center’s free lunch program.

The really neat thing about paper napkins is you can file them away in the center console of your car and eventually forget what it was you scribbled on them or why.

There is no limit to the things you can do with a paper napkin.  I have a friend who gets bored and makes origami swans out of them.

No calculator.  No problem.  Grab a napkin and a pencil and add or subtract on it.  

Someone recommend a song?  Write the title on a napkin.  A great brand of bourbon? Same thing, write it down on a napkin.

Not all napkins are made of paper.  There are uppity napkins made of linen.  You don’t usually find linen napkins around my friends although they may be exposed to them at Christmas or Mother’s Day.  Special occasions.  Mar A Lago. Those kind of places.  Paper napkins do not require washing and pressing. 

Another observation.  You never see anyone take just one napkin out of a dispenser.  Usually they come out in a wad.  But there is always a use for a paper napkin.  

History says Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address on an envelope.  I bet it was on a paper napkin.