Few can dispute Jerry Seinfeld’s talent and comedic brilliance. Just one of the reasons that Seinfeld’s comedy is so great is that it zeroes in on the humor in everyday people living everyday experiences. That any of his comedic ideas were first documented on a napkin is perfect: napkins are used all the time by everyday people living everyday experiences. The napkin is so pedestrian that it allows us to completely forget about it until the moment we need it. But when we do need it, it’s there for us.
Despite the napkin’s ordinary function of cleaning up messes, it can be made extraordinary as a writing tablet. All the best ideas are born on a napkin in a restaurant or bar. (In addition to Jerry Seinfeld, see J.K. Rowling.) In some instances, the napkin is the only way to preserve the moment of inspiration as it visits you. That fleeting moment of creativity that passes on if not captured with the pen. When you need it, the napkin is there for you. Like an old friend.
During a recent girls’ trip to Vegas, in between seeing Elton John and The Pixies, one of my best friends and I were eating amazing ramen and discussing my crazy idea for a new restaurant. At the time, I was having a hard time working out the restaurant floorplan. My friend suddenly grabbed her napkin and said, “here. Let’s figure this out. Tell me the general layout.” And she began to draw. The rest is history. She helped me through this creative stumbling block and got me moving forward with the plan. For this, I will be forever grateful.
Here is a photo of our napkin layout. As my friend pointed out, she only wiped her lips on it once or twice. Old friends, like a good napkin, are there when you need them.