|The first known stapler was |
handmade for King Louis XV
I’m worried about the future of staplers. I admit, I haven’t given mine a great deal of attention over the past few years and should have shown greater appreciation for its capability and reliability. Quietly it binds clumps of unruly papers together with little complaint and, despite a bent staple in need of extraction with the help of some long scissors occasionally or the odd stapled finger through particularly ambitious attempts at multi-tasking – but we can hardly blame the machine for that - it never goes wrong.
I fear the humble piece of paper will disappear from our lives and what then the use for a stapler? I’m typing this on my pc. I could have done it on an iPad, a tablet or even a phone. What I haven’t done is written it out on a piece of paper first and this from someone who likes nothing more than the feeling of pen making marks on a blank page. If even notebook hoarders like me are using paper less, surely its days are numbered?
And then there’s the pen. Unsurprisingly, as the owner of multiple parker pens, (each refill capable of writing 600 metres of characters, apparently, or 500 of mine, my writing being particularly large and ever more illegible) I don’t want to see them go. Where are they currently made? I have visions of a hive of industry of Charlie and his Chocolate Factory proportions bubbling and fizzing away to bring us this simple contraption. And I wonder if these factories will be turned into flats.
Will print presses go the same way? Will the printed book cave under electronic pressure and the paper versions be confined to the shelves of nostalgic old relics like me, secretly leafing through the remains of the towering To Be Read pile under the dead of night, the guilt of the trees slain for their production weighing heavy?
If the printed book goes? What then of book shelves? Granted they take up a huge amount of space, particularly for those of us who feel the need to keep a book which will never be revisited, just-in-case-someone-wants-to-borrow-it (I never read a book twice, I have too many in my TBR pile for that), but used books to me are another person’s ornaments. They’re not entirely necessary but the sight of them all lined up, the colour they add to the room, the enjoyment I associate with reading, makes me smile. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes a house a home but without the spines of books representing the worlds I’ve frequented and those where I’ve yet to go, mine would feel like something was missing.
If I took the stapler, paper, notebooks, pens and books from my study, it would look like this:
Yes, I know it wouldn’t need dusting but I don’t do too much of that anyway. Yes I know other things would replace the missing items and I dare say I’d become ridiculously attached to those, too.
But I don’t want to.
I want a world which doesn’t need to be re-charged, which can’t be accessed with such ease that it becomes acceptable to make notes whilst supposedly also in conversation. I want a world where my children talk to their friends on the bus rather than watch YouTube clips on their iPads, where they listen to the teacher in a lesson rather than message their friends in another class. I want a world where you can eat supper and have a drink with friends and nobody feels the need to check that somebody more interesting isn’t texting them or worse, that they’re missing something at work. I want a world where people go on holiday rather than, ‘will be contactable via email’ so that they and their family life returns fully refreshed.
I’m still clinging on to most of that so, for now, I’m Celebrating the Small Things. I’m celebrating the fact that the stapler is still regularly brought out of my drawer.