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By Any Other Name

The lawn was so perfect it looked like astroturf or plexiglas, and the neighborhood was like a xerox of what we had asked for. There were kids everywhere, playing frisbee, on pogo sticks and twirling hula-hoops. A dutiful block mother was offering cool aid, jello and popsicles to any kid willing to slow down enough to eat. All this frantic activity made me think that band-aides, vaseline and ace bandages would have been more appropriate than snacks.

Now, I don’t keep my kids in bubble wrap, but some of these kids were hitting the tarmac on their roller blades like they were superheroes. When I noticed the yo-yo-like movements of some brillo-haired boy bounding above the fence, I had to zipper my mouth to stop from screaming, “Trampolines are dangerous!.” I was thinking now that I needed an aspirin as much as brillo-boy was going to need a dramamine or some pepto bismol. My realtor joked, “Don’t worry, the house has a jacuzzi, so you can relax,” as she took a swig from her thermos and maybe a tylenol or valium, too.

Entering the house was like entering a different dimension. The musak playing made me think of the escalator at the airport. And the realtor was now sticking to me like krazy glue. The house, like most on the market, was immaculate like it was wrapped in saran wrap. As usual, you had to be a detective to glimpse any bits of the owner’s life. I saw a few post-its on the fridge, a few Kleenex boxes scattered about, and there were some q-tips and a chap stick left out in the bathroom, not very revealing. In the kitchen you could eat off the linoleum floor, the formica counter was kept completely clear except for a few pieces of tupperware and a crock pot.

Finally, when we got to the rec room, the seller’s story came clear. Behind the ping-pong table, scotch-taped to the wall was a map of the U.S. with a sharpie line going in a round about way to California as well as some other lines that wee covered with white-out. The table full of winnebago brochures left little doubt to the seller’s next move.

Now a videotape started playing in my head. I was thirty years in the future and my family had a map taped to the wall and brochures of flying cars! I snapped out of my cellophane haze when I realized that my realtor was looking at me like I was strung out on heroin.

Then, it hit me like a mack truck, “This is the house for me.” After all, it was head and shoulders above the others. As the adrenalin kicked in, I started to think in more practical terms, of u-hauls, dumpsters and styrofoam packing peanuts. The realtor now could smell a sale even over the lysol of this scrubbed house. “Is there anything else you need to know before making an offer?” “Is there a laundromat nearby?” I asked. “Let’s google it,” she said.

The above story, in addition to heart-felt poignancy and great literary merit, just happens to have a number of words or phrases that are or were trademarks.

(Hint: More than three less than ninety-three.)

Provide the correct number of trademark names in the story.
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