Pen and Ink

In my lifetime, I have had a goodly number of jobs. Since the time I turned 14, I’ve worked as a bakery clerk, a daycare worker, a food server, a motel clerk, a clerk at the Nebraska electric company, a grocery stocker and cashier, a women’s clothing salesperson, a convenience store cashier, a cashier at a Boulder donut shop, a stocker at a office supply store, a newspaper reporter, and a communications specialist. I’m probably forgetting something.

My least favorite of those jobs by far was the convenience store, simply because I worked the 6 to midnight shift at a Circle K that was out in the middle of nowhere. I’m greatly relieved that I didn’t get raped or murdered. That was the only job for which I ever had to take a lie detector test. I passed.

My favorite job was in the communications field, because it involved a lot of different skills, including writing. I could have made my life much easier if I just had written the Great American Novel at age 18. And then only if they had made it into a television series that was still playing in reruns.

But I have to tell you that among my favorite jobs was in the office supply store in Boulder. Part of it was because I had the nicest boss you could ever imagine. He was happy that I was going to college and as such, he was more than willing to adjust my hours to my school schedule. He also was a miniature train collector, and I loved looking at the train setup he had in his basement of the store. It was amazing. Choo choo.

As much as that, however, I loved office supplies. I still do, in fact. It’s weird, I will admit. But even if I’m just at the grocery store and I happen to pass by the office/school supply section, I can’t stop myself from slowing down to look at the various pens, pencils, tablets, tapes, scissors, and other interesting office supplies.

I would guess that office supplies aren’t as popular as they were during my working years. Who uses pens these days? Generation X, Y, and Z-ers simply pull out their phones and punch in their notes with their thumbs. I love a nice pen with blue ink. The creation of the gel pen made me almost as happy as the invention of the microwave. When I worked hard for my money, I HAD to have a gel pen with pink ink to edit mine and others’ work. Red wouldn’t do, I’m afraid.

It’s true, however, that even I don’t use a pen as much as I used to. I can count the number of checks that I have written over the past five years on my two hands. Mostly to people who are self-employed, I guess. It’s gotten to the point that when I try to sign my name on my check, I have to stop about halfway through to make sure I’m spelling it correctly.

Alas, eventually office supply stores will go the way of the T-Rex. As it is, I order my new favorite pens (Tul) on Amazon. I’m part of the problem and have nothing to do with the solution.

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