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This week I’ve decided to make a shout out to all my unofficial sponsors. These are the products that make my life livable. These are the products that have stood by me through thick and thin. These are the products that keep me company on those cold, wintry nights. These are the products that like me for who I am, no questions asked. These are the products that I stand behind even though no one will ever even know what it is exactly that I am standing behind. These are the products that made me start just about every sentence in this paragraph with the phrase, “these are the products.” These are the products that I represent.

1. Crest Toothpaste – I have been a Crest kid since the day I grew my first tooth. I remember it well. I called it “Fang,” which was kind of ironic considering it was an incisor. I was obviously a smart kid, far more advanced than the schooling to which I was subjected, for I understood this irony and laughed heartily as confused adults constantly wondered why I was talking incessantly with an incisor named “Fang.”

Crest brought out the best in Fang and showed me a good time while doing so. Crest was the first to develop the sparkle seen in toothpastes across the shelves today and in doing so, they added a certain sparkle to my life that I will never forget. I’ve tried Colgate; I’ve tried Mentadent; and I’ve even tried Aquafresh, but I always come back to Crest. I am a Crest Kid for life and I will out sparkle anyone who challenges me. I don’t even know what that means.

2. Ford – I was raised from Day 1 to be a Ford man. As I reached puberty, my dad taught me all about the birds, the bees, and Ford trucks. I was taught that Ford was superior to every other brand of truck out there and will go to the grave with this belief. Ford will out battle any ogre and slay any dragon it faces. It has the face of a dozen demons and the heart of a hundred hungry hippos. A hippo is nothing to fear you say? I say go piss off my friend Harry the Hippo and live to tell about it. Charging Rhinos got nothing on Harry, even with their credit cards.

Sure, most of the cars my parents own are Toyotas these days, but their Ford Econoline Van is still alive and kicking after at least 13 years. Sure, my first car was a Toyota, but the car I learned to drive in was a Ford Escort with manual transmission. I loved that car. It is now my baby sister’s first car. Treat it well, Crystal. Treat it well.

I have driven many a Dodge truck. They just feel rickety to me. I have driven many a Chevy. I used to drive KBYU’s big GMC 4×4 up the mountains west of Salt Lake to reach the Transmitters so my boss could do some maintenance. It just didn’t feel right. Toyota makes trucks? Pshhh, so does Tonka. The Ford F-150 will always be my truck, and I will always be a Ford man. Just ask the Falcon (Yes, I realize the Falcon is a Lincoln, but Lincoln is part of Ford and if you put the Falcon up against any Cadillac of the same year and I will guarantee a sound beating wholeheartedly sponsored by the Falcon).

3. Vans – I wore the original Vans low top sneaker back before it was ever cool to do so (Yes, you can touch me. But only in 2 second increments. I am far too cool to allow any human to feel of my splendor for any longer than 2 seconds. It’s in my contract). I still remember that shoe. Black canvas on top of white rubber and a light brown sole all laced up in white, it was a shoe that spat in the collective face of the Nike Air Jordan and the Reebok Pump. I wore it proudly through the halls of my Junior High and laughed as my peers stood in awe of this bold statement of simplicity.

Over the years, I’ve tried many other shoes. I went on an Airwalk kick for a long time, I now have a pair of Pumas and a pair of Umbros (thanks, Scott), but I always come back to the Vans. To this day, I have worn no other shoe that was anywhere near as comfortable as that first pair of Vans low tops. Except maybe my Old Man Slippers, but come on, who doesn’t like a good pair of Old Man Slippers? They’re not even shoes. They’re slippers, and slipping them on every morning is like slipping on my own little puffs of cloud. So here’s to you, Old Man Slippers, you were worth every bit of the $7.50 I paid for you 2 years ago at Wal Mart. And here’s to you Vans… Hooray.