De-composing.

After I wrote about video rental stores last week I ended up feeling like I addressed the subject too quickly, or maybe too late, because something came up that reminded me of another brick-and-mortar establishment that’s also headed the way of the dodo: the office supply store.

It started when my wife needed a stapler for a project she was working on and let’s go ahead and get all the Office Space references and jokes out of the way. We have a stapler somewhere but couldn’t find it so I went to the office supply store and, while I bought a cheaper black stapler they did have a red Swingline stapler and I was seriously tempted by it even though my wife doesn’t look, sound, or act anything like Milton or even Stephen Root. And neither one of us is ever likely to set our office building on fire, although this has been me on many occasions:

Source: Tenor

And maybe that’s why, in spite of the fact that this is on a blog, I’m very much still an analog guy in a digital world. Most of my writing starts as handwritten notes in paper composition books that I also decorate with stickers and pictures I cut out of catalogs, magazines, and junk mail. I always have this idea that, if I’m ever stuck for something to write about, I can use the pictures as a prompt, and yet what I write never ends up having anything to do with the pictures. I fill the right-hand page and use the left for shorter notes like, “I know what a kit is but what’s a caboodle?” and jokes I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere, like:

“I’m thinking of writing about the pursuit of a great white whale,” said Melville.
“That’s a novel idea,” his publisher replied.

And the office supply store is my main source for these composition books. Or was. It’s going out of business now, which I guess means I won’t be able to stock up in the fall when they have their back-to-school sales.

Sure, I can order them online like so much other stuff but I’ll miss the immediacy of being able to pick them up. And, because the office supply store was having a going-out-of-business sale, I picked up a bunch. The woman checking me out asked, “Is this all you’re getting?” and I remembered that I had to go back and get a stapler.

I should have gotten the red Swingline model.

Source: Tenor

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6 Comments

  1. markbialczak

    My way of life wilts a little more every time another entire industry seems to decide it doesn’t want to or simply can’t sell its stuff to me in person anymore, Chris. How long can I believe that little note I jotted down somewhere that says ‘Don’t worry, everything will cycle back into style someday’ I wonder?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Well, Mark, if it’s any consolation vinyl records have made a major comeback. And if you still have the piece of paper you jotted that note down on think about the fact that you can still read it. It doesn’t require a steady power source, a platform, or regular updates. I have Word documents that are probably lost forever because they’re in a format that’s no longer supported. They weren’t that important, but there is a reason paper retains its value.

      Reply
  2. mydangblog

    Where I used to work, we were required to carry notebooks with us and write down everything in them–the agency even provided them for us. And we were required to keep them in case HR ever wanted to see them. It was a little bizarre, looking back on it, the way we’d all show up to meetings with our little journal books. I still have a stack of them in a drawer–not sure why I’m hanging on to them–sentimental value maybe. At my new job, we have staplers at every till but none of them work!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is kind of weird that you were required to carry notebooks and write everything down, but then I think about how I used to take copious notes in meetings, and also in previous jobs I would sometimes take office supplies and use them for my own writing. In fact I think some people become writers mainly because they have a love of office supplies. I know it’s too much to hope but I still dream of someday making enough money to buy some of the things I covet in the Levenger catalog.

      Reply
  3. ANN J KOPLOW

    I write copious notes, Chris, on paper and on my phone. It all works, just like your blog posts.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3397: What I have to do todayMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      When a friend asked me for writing advice one of the things I told him was that Notes would become the most used app on his phone. I don’t know if he started using it that much but I appreciate you confirming that taking notes, in any form, is an important part of writing.

      Reply

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