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Friday, March 31, 2017

National Crayon Day news from Crayola & me!


Today is National Crayon Day and I know what you’re thinking:

What the hell’s Rodell doing up there in the Tin Lizzy when he should be grand marshall of some big crayon parade down through?

Well, first of all, there are lots of logistical difficulties answering nature’s call when you’re wearing a great, big crayon costume and the only way I’m going to wear a great, big crayon costume is if I first drink a lot of great, big amber-colored beers.

Besides, I’m busy today.

On a day when Crayola is announcing it is using fewer crayons, I’m here to announce I’ll soon be using even more.

“Use All The Crayons! (Vol. II)” is done!

It took J.D. Salinger 10 years to write “Catcher in the Rye.”

The second UATC took me about two weeks.

To be fair, it took me about two weeks to type. Took about four years to live.

It was a cinch pulling together another 501 items and 34 essays from the blog and my twitter feed.

Why now?

An agent urged me to. She liked the first one and the fact it’s sold about 4,000 on its own. Doing a second one now made sense. I think the funny parts are funnier and thoughtful parts more worthy of tickling your intellect.

Soulful reaction to the first book’s made me, I think, a better person so a better book should naturally follow.

So I’ll keep you posted on the progress, but today we have bigger issues.

What crayon did Crayola dump?

Spoiler alert! It’s dandelion.

Dandelion! What kind of research went into that decision?

I thought the job of killing dandelions was best left to Scott’s Turf Builder Weed & Feed. 

The decision led me to spend nearly an hour arraying in descending height all the crayons from my heirloom 96 pack to determine which ones I use most and which the least (above).

Told you I was busy!

The standard crayon straight out of the box is 3 5/8 inches. 

Dandelion falls right in the middle of the usage range. My dandelion is currently 2 3/4 inches. So I’ve used about 7/8 an inch.

I have two toy sharpeners and I preserve all the shavings in a little stoppered jar that when open smells exactly like crayon shavings.

I’ve been using these crayons since 2013. I put a little multi-colored smiley face doodle on each book’s title page — no two are the same — and color in the 8 clip art crayons and, of course, sign them in crayon. 

Violet is the most used crayon. It’s just 2 1/4 inches, meaning I’ve used or shaved nearly an inch and a half.

Nearly all the vivid purples — royal purple, metallic, plums and blue violet — have been decimated. They’re all stumps and I can barely grasp them. They’re very eye-catching on a page.

Note: I also use a crayon identified as Macaroni and Cheese, which I advise against you having in the room when you’re stricken with the munchies. It tastes nothing like the real thing and Listerine-colored mouth wash won’t help.

So which is my least-used crayon? The lazy, good-for-nothing one that never contributes?

I hate to seem like a traitor to my race, but it’s the white dude.

White, “blanco,” or “blanc” — Crayola helpfully includes foreign translations on each crayon for, I guess, colorblind immigrants who have a hankering to draw — has only shed a 1/4 inch.

On the page, it doesn’t show up. So it just takes up space.

Maybe it’s just taking after me.

For racial balance, I should point out the black crayon really busts its crayon ass. In fact, I use it with every book. It’s the color I’ve out of habit been using for the comma-sized nose on every smiley-faced doodle. It just seems to anchor the whole face.

I have a brand new back-up pack on a shelf here in the office just waiting to step in when I decide to retire my originals. There doing some great things with crayon recycling these days. Check out crazy crayons.

But I just can’t. These crayons have meant so much to me and, unlike their manufacturer, I’m loyal to them, even the honky loafer.

So Crayola can go ahead and retire dandelion. 

It’ll forever flower on the pages of my books, old and new.

Because it isn’t about coloring anyway.

It’s about colorful living.

Happy National Crayon Day!


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