RN: I'm a new man. Je suis un homme nouveau. And that's pretty much all she wrote for my high-school French.

CP: Lemme guess: It was that Judy Garland show at the Guthrie that left you feeling born anew.

RN: I'm going on the 23rd and can't wait. No, I'm referring to the simple act of having my car washed. Who knew I would feel so good about a $10, five-minute investment?

CP: Ten bucks? I thought that's what you got when you traded in the Saturn for something a little more in keeping with your august station in life.

RN: It's the little things, Claude. A sparkling Ion, or those bittersweet chocolate cookies at Rustica, surely the most soul-satisfying way to part with a buck in these Twin Cities. A person can't help but feel good after knocking back one -- or three -- of them. Let's go there. Like, now.

CP: I know this is horribly shallow, but when I recently entered an agnes b. shop in New York on the last day of their 70-percent-off sale, I literally bounded to the discount racks. When I found a couple of items that fit and were practically free, it was as if I'd hit the trifecta at Pimlico.

RN: I hear you. I felt reborn after actually finding my size and a great color at the Brooks Brothers 50-percent-off cashmere sweater sale. It was enough to make me believe in the presence of a higher power.

CP: That power has been manifest on the many recent days when I've been able to bike to work. In January and February. In Minnesota.

RN: Or flying coach next to an empty seat. It's my idea of winning the lottery. A quiet joyousness ensues.

CP: While we're at the airport, what about when you hit security at the precise moment when there is no line? This has happened to me twice recently. Both times I felt the opposite of humiliated, exasperated, emasculated. Aren't you going to mention the transformative power of massage?

RN: That goes without saying. To those who aren't having their shoulders kneaded on a regular basis, I have only to ask: "What are you waiting for?" Then again, I feel distinctly pampered on the rare occasion when I have a professional run a clippers over what little hair remains on my cranium. For you, Mr. Follicle-ly Blessed, I imagine your frequent cut-and-colors are the equivalent of an ahh-inducing spa treatment.

CP: True enough. I never walk out of the beauty parlor -- errr, the Men's Dept. -- without feeling like a pig in clover.