Ray is the Publisher Emeritus for Appen Media and the Herald newspapers.

Into a world so loud, so arrogant and so hurried emerges something so simple and so reassuring. It has no political party, no agenda, no “read between the lines,” and for sure no strategic implications or competitive advantages. And it has nothing to do with being a patriot, or anything COVID, or who you believe won the election.

It is pure, white, and small. And sometimes it is cold but most of the time it is just, well, “it.” No matter, it never fails to generate smiles all around, and sometimes odd noises. And, yes, it tends to fall on the insatiable side — in the order of things.

There is — I assumed, but was later corrected — no debt, no implied obligation, no margins, no calculated cost, although for sure there are costs involved associated with it. Yet, it is growing, rapidly. It reminds me of those summer blazes on the west coast, spreading out of control, buffeted by strong winds sweeping over canyons and plain or anything viral on the Internet — something that keeps growing and getting bigger on its own. Only without a doubt and unlike those West Coast fires, there is no danger nor sense of panic. Most of the time, just grins.

There are no conspiracy theories that surround it, at least not yet. And, despite its growing popularity, few paparazzi follow it, nor does it seem to be on the news media’s radar currently. But it is there, everywhere.

It reminds me of an insider joke, one that everyone knows about and gets without effort, yet one that no one talks about. It is just a little secret among friends that generates all those grins.

And the greatest irony of it all might just be that it is “emerging” right out of the dry, barren bosom of corporate America — unfunded, unbudgeted, and more than everything else, unmanaged. It’s not very profitable either. Actually, there are no profits, only expenses. And it is going on right under corporate’s nose — on their cameras, and in plain sight. Jacquelin.

What might I be talking about, you ask?

“Pup-Cups,” I might just answer — those small plastic cups filled with whipping cream that you can get at the Starbucks drive through window for your dog. Free. It’s, of course, for your pup, the one sitting in the car beside you as you pick up your Starbucks coffee. The pup that thinks mana from heaven has just fallen as he or she licks that cold almost pure sugar cream-filled cup.

“Pup-cup.” I like just saying the name. It has a good sound and is fun to say. Saying it is almost as fun as the anticipation of the smile you get when you ask the barista if they “serve pup cups.” They just love passing out that delicious concoction to the pup in the car — just our little secret between the Starbucks peeps, my pup, and me. Sometimes life does things right — like “pup-cups. “

And, I have been experimenting to see how many other places are cool enough to do “pup cups” the right way. I ‘ve been in a Dairy Queen that passed with flying colors and smiles! I got one at a McDonald’s too — life done right! And I just assumed that my fav — Chick-fil-A would be hip to “”Pup cups,” and much to my surprise,- what I got was “my pleasure, that will be 27 cents.” Seriously Speedy? Can’t we all just get along? Cut the pup some slack guys! We know you cow-lovers love the pups too, no? Let your hair down some, have some fun! You really need that 27 cents? Undo your pup-cup policy. Make it free! Pups just wanna have fun and pup-cups wanna be free! Lighten up you all.

Who wants a “pup-cup?”