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Andrea Langworthy's column: Something to ponder

Every week day, I receive an email from Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project.” Each one contains a quote that always makes me think. Or, smile. Some are so pertinent or inspiring that I have posted them on Facebook.

Rubin also writes a blog. One of her latest entries asks the question, “Do You Like Identifying ‘Your ‘Favorite?’”

At first, I thought she was asking parents to name their favorite child. I hoped I was wrong.

As I read further, I learned the question pertains to favorite things. Identifying her “favorite” book, movie, restaurant or memory is an exercise that distresses Rubin.

“First of all — how can I possibly pick something like a favorite book?” the writer asked. ”It’s impossible.

I never felt that way about books. Whenever I was asked, even when I wasn’t, I named “To Kill a Mockingbird” as my most preferred. After reading Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” though, the story of World War II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini took its rightful place in my heart. Since reading (devouring, is more like it) the true tale, I have to hem and haw and say two masterpieces are neck-and-neck in the race for my affection.

Naming a best television shows is a toughie. When I was young, “Perry Mason” was a family must-see, but now? Oh, my. I feel like author Rubin. It’s impossible to choose. At this time of year, it’s “Parenthood.” At another, I’m glued to my chair, loving every scene of “Mad Men.” And when “Major Crimes” returns this summer, I won’t miss an episode.

I got to thinking about the subject of favored things and wondered how someone could ever come up with their “most favorite thing in the whole-wide world,” as we said when we were kids. Not a person or a place but a something. I asked a few people to help me out.

My former next-door neighbor said hers is the smell of a campfire. “But not cigarette smoke,” she quickly added. The fragrance of an outdoor fire “always reminds me of when I took my girls camping,” she said. Then she meandered off to a sidebar about the first cool days of fall when the leaves start changing. ”You only get one thing,” I said, cutting her off as though I was a rude district attorney trying to get a confession.

I posed the question to another friend. “My bed,” she quickly decided. I know what she means. I spend a lot of time upon my Sealy Posturepedic, reading newspapers, a book, writing this column. Sleeping, too.

When I asked our oldest son what his favorite thing is, he laughed and said, “Beer.” When I saw him a bit later, he changed his number one fixation to sports. “Beer was funnier,” I said.

A second later, he chuckled and asked, “How about I say, ‘My dad and my stepmother?” That works for me. I threw the rule that it couldn’t be a place or a person out the window.