Thursday, July 19, 2012

Almost like Christmas

          It’s the middle of summer, which means the stores are about to be flooded with decorations and the shelves stocked with bargains that will make me as giddy as a five-year old.  It’s about the only time of year that I don’t mind being dragged by the girls into stores where parents allow those kids that could be poster children for birth control to run rampant.  I’m not talking about Halloween or Christmas, although those are a close second and third to my all-time favorite shopping periods.  No, this is the time of year for Back to School sales!

          Can you not feel the excitement in the air?  It almost makes the hair on kittens stand on end, it’s so charged with electrical energy.  I want to go to the store now!
          I can just see it.  There will be rows upon rows of pens of every shape, size and color.  Some will have cute designs or spongy caricatures on top to entertain you with their wiggling and squirming.  There will be spiral notebooks small and large, thin and thick.  Do you want one subject?  Three?  How about a five subject notebook with handy dandy pockets?  Some even come with calendars and rulers!  Imagine the creativity that can be scribbled and organized in those beauties.
          And that’s not all!  There are Post-it Notes by the bundle and in a myriad of colors.  They stack up neat or swirl in a cute spiral that only takes up a little extra space on your desk.  They have them to use as place markers and tabs so I will never forget where that quote was in the book that I’ll probably never pick up again.  They’re so versatile that they finally added them to highlighters, which also come in a rainbow of colors and sizes, by the way.  Why, there are even Post-it Notes with sayings for every occasion.  Holidays.  Special occasions.  Funny quotes.  You don’t even have to write on that little square sticky sheet if you don’t want to or you can use them for practically anything.  We have one on the back of the kids’ bathroom door with the word “Flush!” to aid our youngest one’s memory, who by the way graduated high school already.
          I’m made to wear a bib as I wander those aisles picking up gadget after gizmo, turning them over and over as I get a feel for what they might be like to use.  I close my eyes and imagine the productivity that can be made if only I had this latest find.
          “Look!  Glue is only twenty-five cents a bottle.”
          “But you don’t use glue.”  They stare at me confused.
          I rush on to visit day planners and calendars, staples and push pins.  I snatch up notebooks and dividers, index cards and containers to decorate my desk with as I organize all of the massive mess I’ve just accumulated.  Writing paper, printer paper, and three-hole punches are next.  I grab a calendar for the wall and one for the desk.  My arms are overflowing with Back to School abundance.
           “Stop!  What are you doing?  How many different types of notebook do you need for the same function?”
          I just turn and stare.  “How many pairs of brown heels do you need for the same function?”
          They sigh and wave me on as I bound down another aisle, tossing paper clips and binders into the cart.  It matters not that I still have vast amounts left over from last year.  Those highlighters are outdated and probably as dried out as Uncle Larry after he joined AA.  Of course, I pile the new on top of the old never wanting to throw anything out.  I just might be having a highlighting all-niter in the way distant future.
          Would you like to know the fun part?  I no longer have to share my stockpiled treasure!  In past years the children would sneak into my precious stash claiming they had run out of their own school supply allotment.
          “But, Dad, I need to do my homework.”
          “You should have thought of that when you wrote that five page report when you only needed to write three.  It’s the price of over-achievement.  Here use the inside of this Captain Crunch box.”
          It wasn’t just paper, either.  They wanted my pens, highlighters and index cards.  They even tried to steal one of my flash drives!  This was my stuff.  I didn’t go into their rooms and play with their toys.  Okay, I did, but they were gone and I put them all back when I was done.  They, on the other hand, never returned my pens and the paper they brought back had their teachers’ red scribbling all over it.  The paper was useless!
          I know.  It seems just a tad obsessive.  Yet, when it comes to office supplies this writer is a junkie.  I can’t help it.  There’s never enough and I’ll never use what I have now in this decade.  However, I’ll buy more and then I’ll buy even more.  I need a fix now even as I’m writing on this blank notepad with this brand new pen.  Don’t judge me.  I’m not killing people, only trees and probably saving some poor soul from being crushed by a branch during the next hurricane.
          Throughout the year I’ll satisfy my cravings with small purchases, some paper, a box of pens, maybe even a few paper clips.  However, July is my Christmas.  I don’t write a letter to the Office Fairy or put my stocking out to be filled.  I just dart up and down aisles filling my wobbly-wheeled thunking buggy with every delight a writer wants, but may never really use.
          So, while you may be gathering the bare necessities for your youngster to cart off to their learning experience ahead, make sure you leave some for the rest of us, namely me.  You may be fulfilling your parenting responsibility.  However, I am celebrating Christmas.
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