Inspired by a tweet by Shea the Scholar, we asked our writing team, if you could describe your current state of being using a school supply, what would you choose?
You know that class project in early elementary school where they teach you how to make paper? (Maybe that was just my school.) I’m the resulting paper, a bit of a soggy mess that technically counts as paper because you CAN write on it, but there’s no world where you’d CHOOSE to write on it.
I am an inkless pen. It is technically operational, but useless in its current state. Or maybe a pen with ink, but the ball keeps getting jammed. You can’t actually use it. All potential. No action.
I am the gold crayon that’s been missing since the start of winter break. Even though I shine bright, I am hidden under the bookshelf. Please come find me!
I am a pastel mechanical pencil with .05 mm lead. I like to add a a little flair to the day with a burst of color, and typically function well, especially when you need to make things work in tight situations or spaces (like the pesky margins of your paper); but when too much pressure is applied, I can shrink into myself or, even worse, break.
For her 7th or 8th birthday, Kelaine tore into a gift from her friend Jonathan. “Envelopes?” I thought from across the room, “Why did he give her envelopes?” And even though she was a full two years younger than me, young Kelaine already intuited that, duh, Jonathan’s mother had simply used an envelope box to wrap her gift.
Inside was a marvel I had never before seen. Hailing all the way from Indonesia (the old fashioned way… this was last century), this boxy pencil case put all other pencil cases to shame. With a flip-top lid and nonsense little drawers that shot out on with the push of a button. Cushy and pink and glittered like diamonds.
Well-intentioned. Wildly impractical.
“Press buttons for pop-out functions.”
I’m a compass. At my best? Functionally elegant, the source of satisfying arcs or circles. At my most common? A destructive cure for boredom, the ruination desks and corkboards. At my worst? A shiv, sticking out of the side of Rebecca S.’s calf, for reasons Erica still chooses not to explain, even 25 years after the fact.
I am a Trapper Keeper (look it up, babies!) for I am the smoke and mirrors of organization. Too many mistaken folks think I am Type A: organized, color-coded, with a place for everything. It’s like they can hear me saying “I’m right on top of that, Rose!” when that abrasive Velcro opens up. But really, all these glossy pockets and “traps” (?) are for naught. I start out by holding it all together, but by Thanksgiving break, that dazzling Lisa Frank exterior is a little faded, and the folders are overstuffed.
The dirty pencil case from last year.
I’m a bit worse for wear with ink marks all over – sitting wide open – and no one is even attempting to put anything in me.
I am the ragged pink eraser, riddled with gray holes of leaden boredom yet still able to do what I must.
For years have I, a paper airplane, lain
On top a cabinet, out of reach and sight.
Once would I proud the sky, to rule, attain;
Once through the clouds swift soar I thought I might.
But the child, who’d up folded me, me threw
Amiss, and I fell where, forgot, I rue.
What about you? What school supply best represents your current state of existing? At us on Twitter!