Monday, September 28, 2015

staples for life, a mystery

Months ago, I noticed my stapler was out of staples. More accurately, the stapler was likely almost out of staples. I purchased staples at -- where else? -- Staples. I bought a package of staples. The purchase encompassed two plastic-wrapped cardboard packages of 5000 "standard staples" each, or "agrafes standard," in French. From a glance at each cardboard package, the staples have yet to be used. At all. They are arranged in 12 rows, with each row piggybacked oppositely with its twin set. Staples of beauty, order, precision. (Allow me to do the math: 5000 staples divided by 24 rows, equaling 208.3333 in each row. That sounds wrong for this assemblage of one-quarter-inch (6.35mm) staples, made in China. Nevertheless, I am now disquieted by this observation of staple abundance, overabundance, if you will. 

I will not be able to use up all these staples in my lifetime.

Not even close.

Perhaps if I went on a binge, an orgiastic, frenetic outburst of stapling activity, I could approach the use, the employment, of 10,000 staples (remember: each little carton says "qty 5000" [without the comma]). Still doubtful. 

I could try some sort of performance art or stapling obsession of loose documents, papers, receipts, bills, notes, scraps.

Still doubtful.

Why does this bother me?

Supplies of salt, pepper, and paper clips do not disquiet me in the same way.

Something to do with grasping versus letting go? Mortality?  Numerology? The metaphors that "staples" invoke?


Craig said...

one of my buddies dates this chick who had her stomach stapled to lose weight. So we started calling her "Staples" but not to her face. Was that wrong? Did I ruin the depth of your post with my idiocy?

StonyPillow said...

How odd -- a single, economical purchase that actually satisfies a legitimate need for an entire lifetime. This is not the American Way. No, not at all.

I did the same thing almost 30 years ago, and have gone through less than half of them. The reat of the box still rolls around in my kitchen junk drawer. If you look closely, you can see the beginnings of a bit of rust on a few of the rows. Other than that, they still work fine. The standard staples match a WWII-vintage Ace Model 102 liberated from the factory garbage cart at about the same time. Some idiot in the office found a way to jam it, and threw it out for a new one. A few seconds with a needle nose pliers, and it was as good as new, except for a bit of surface oxidation peeking through the plating. It's served me well since then, and I've already promised to pass it down to my eldest.

My kids don't smile at my old used Ace 102 any more. They're grown up, and have gone through a couple of new store-bought staplers already. Staplers aren't made to last 102 years any more. Some of them barely last 102 uses. And then you have to buy another new one. Now that's the American Way.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Thanks for your comment, Stony Pillow.