Ever since I was a little girl hanging out at my father’s desk, I’ve had a thing for office supplies. Yellow college-ruled legal pads, killer Swingline staplers that look like miniature Buicks, Flair felt-tip pens, copy sets you can load in a typewriter to make multiple, tissue-paper copies – pink ones. Oh, and empty “Blue Books” just made for writing tiny novels, steno pads with that fabulous “eye-ease” green paper, and boxes broken at the edges but stocked with hundreds of sheets of Eaton onionskin paper. I can’t even talk about my love affair with envelopes. It’s just too much.
You know, I lived the double-luck of having a father who was both a professor and a coach. You know what that means. Clipboards.
It was easy to keep me entertained and out of everyone’s way – Dad just sat me in the corner or at a spare table in his office (home or school), and there I’d stay scribbling and typing and stapling and creating. His Hendrix office sported an old Royal typewriter the color and weight of a boat anchor. At home, it was a spiffy early sixties Smith-Corona Galaxie. No one ever really taught me to type, and I never really learned in any productive way. It didn’t matter, though, since the whole point was to keep me busy and out of trouble. Besides, I had writing to do.
I imagine there are scores of teacher’s kids out there with the same accidental training. The other eventuality is this unhealthy craving for office supplies. It honed my tastes and made me quite particular about writing tools.
I’d rather write in my own blood than use a ballpoint pen, for example. And forget pencils. There’s just something about them that anticipates making a mistake. There’s nothing sexy about erasure and correction – I don’t like the temporary nature of that business. I’ve got a friend and colleague who refuses to use anything but yellow number two pencils of a particular make and model. Ticonderoga? Something like that. Bless his heart, is all I can say, because – writing instrument aesthetics aside – he’s having quite a time finding a damned pencil sharpener. They just don’t automatically install those in the back of every room like they used to.
Oddly enough, I’ve never craved fountain pens. Too scratchy. The only thing that pulled me away from felt-tip Paper Mate Flairs was the advent of gel pens, Uniballs in particular. I buy them by the box and always have about six jangling around in my purse. Ah, heaven.
Paper is where I get into real trouble. Those yellow, hardbacked, college-ruled legal pads are my siren song. Can’t stay away from them. Even though I’ve matured into more of a Moleskine XL Cahier kind of gal, I can’t leave Office Depot without at least one package of legal pads in tow. Besides, the Depot doesn’t sell Moleskine. For that I have to walk into a bookstore, and those trips only cause more shelving problems.
In my pre-Moleskine days, I bought stacks of chemistry notebooks. I still do, actually. For those of you unfamiliar, these are like composition books only more elaborately bound. The paper is that magical “eye-ease” green of old steno pads, but they’re college-ruled and the pages are numbered. As an angsty teen I bought these at the college bookstore and wrote page after numbered page of bad poetry covered in tears and cigarette burns. Last summer, I went to a lot of trouble to get those put on the college bookstore shelves again. Count on the fact that I always have at least one Moleskine and one chemistry notebook going at all times.
Just yesterday Strikethru introduced me to an entirely new affliction that I ordered immediately – Apica notebooks. I only bought one just in case, but I’m sure to soon start juggling three different scribbling books, dammit. Take a look at them – they’re irresistible and we can blame Strikethru.
Swingline staplers. The old ones never die or break, not even if you staple through leather or drop them fifty times. I have one on my desk right now that sat on my father’s desk in the sixites. It works like a charm and weighs a good three pounds – if I ever have the need it can double as weaponry. When it comes to staplers, newer is never better. At work, I’ve been through four plastic staplers in two years and good riddance to them all.
My addiction is too involved to fully explain in a mere blog post. To do it right, I’d need to make another trip to the Depot or some other Palace of Paper to get more supplies. Legal pads, probably. And file folders. Hmmm.