Oct 21, 2008

Emotional Tap Lights...

Remember the Tap Light? Looks like a smoke detector, but stick it to a wall & press it, and bingo--instant illumination. It was one of those As Seen on TV things. I think now you can get them at Target...in the As Seen on TV section, of course.

Now, I have always thought the Tap Light was terrible, but a conversation long ago with my good friend Weezer (same name as the rock band--because she is just. that. cool) gave me a different perspective. She was saying how her husband, the Music Teacher, had a Tap Light in his otherwise-unlit closet, where he could stick an arm in and hit it, thereby enabling himself to see his clothes. And he would get a contented smile on his face, as if the tiny amount of light from that plastic pseudo-lamp helped him to be more at peace with life in general. Happiness times six for the low price of $19.99--not a bad deal.

Will a Tap Light do that for everyone? Of course not. For Weezer it was her magic van buttons. At that time their daughters were teenagers, and they had a minivan, and magic button key fobs were still relatively new, but she had one. She said being able to hit the button and have her doors unlocked and ready to go just made her happy. Same with getting out of the car & pressing the button, and having the whole thing locked--made her smile every time. Again, a small thing that let her smile and be a little more at peace in the world.

Right away I knew exactly what my "little thing" was--my slinky. The first couple years of college me & my buds would give each other cheap, dollar store gifts on our birthdays. We were poor college students after all, and we had good senses of humor, so it was a good fit. Well, I believe it was my sophomore year that one of the gifts I received was one of those tiny plastic slinkies. The ones you get for $.50 from a gumball machine. It was too small to work on any stairs, but was the perfect size for just squising around in my hand. I popped it into my coat pocket--the dark green, reversible one I wore for 13 years; yes, 13--and it stayed there until last winter, when I finally retired (but couldn't bring myself to get rid of) the now-ratty green coat in favor of my nifty khaki corduroy barn jacket. And then it moved to that one. It got lost in the shuffle sometime in the moves this year, but I'm almost certain I still have it somewhere. I seem to remember His Highness getting hold of it and breaking it at some point, but I really hope I'm fabricating that part entirely within my own brain. If not I'm going to have to find a gumball machine with teeny tiny slinkies. Round ones; no lame star shapes.

Anyway, putting my hand in my coat pocket & grabbing hold of the slinky just brings a smile to my face. Even moreso the first time I wear my coat each fall. I usually forget about the slinky over the summertime, and to find it waiting for me has always been a welcome surprise. Aaahhh...

OK seriously, I'm going to WalMart tomorrow to stake out their gumball machines. I have a pile of quarters right here (hoarding quarters--another leftover habit from my college laundry room days...), and I've got errands to run.

And thus that day, talking with Weezer, the term was coined: Emotional Tap Light. Write that down, kids. Based on my descriptions above you should now know exactly what it means.

So, do you have any Emotional Tap Lights?


Market Street Co said...

My sad answer would be a fork. As a chubby man I am sure the fork is my emotional tap light.

However, as a heart filled answer it would be my box it my attic. I have a box in the attic that is a short summery of my life. To anyone else it is a box of junk, but for me it is that little feeling in your heart that you get when you truly find a glimpse of unprovoked joy. Even as I write this I can feel it. Like touching a slinky for the first time in the fall and the rush of memories that flow through you... yeah, my box in the attic.

bludab said...

ok, a totally stupid answer - square plates. I have s few sets and they just make me really really happy. I'm sure it's because they were oh so cool when I was first married and I feel cool by extension even 9 years later.

Skerrib said...

See? I knew other people had these types of little happy things. Thanks guys.

Suzanne said...

Have you found a replacement slinky yet? I'll keep my eye out and if I find one, I'll send it to you.
I don't know what my emotional tap light is just yet ... I'll have to think about it.

Drama Mamma said...

As many years as I've known you and I never knew about the slinky. Too funny.

Right now, my favorite little item is my remote control that works my new alarm clock/ipod/radio. Love that remote!!!!!