We've all tried to get a recalcitrant pen working by scribbling furiously on a piece of paper. For a quicker and less messy solution, try using the sole of your shoe instead.
This is one of those bits of folk wisdom that's probably been circulating for years, but I'd never encountered it until Gizmodo editor Nick mentioned it casually yesterday. A quick test by our publisher Seamus confirmed that it works like a charm, and our speculation is that it might work better than paper by gripping more firmly to the ballpoint. Whatever the reason, it's a neat trick.