Perhaps it’s an addiction. A compulsion. An obsession. I just have a thing about office supplies and knowing that stores are having back-to-school sales makes me crazy. I can hardly contain myself at the thought of spiral notebooks for ten cents, but I bought a lifetime supply when they were on sale last year . . . or was it the year before? I just checked my inventory and I keep telling myself that I don’t need any more supplies right now, but they’re on sale and I’ll use them eventually, right? Of course, the paper might turn yellow by then.
I have some self-discipline or at least the good sense to avoid certain stores in August, but it’s eating away at me. I keep thinking about what I’m missing. It wouldn’t hurt to go for a look, would it? No, I’d better stay home. Instead, I find myself daydreaming about highlighters, colored pens, and pencil sharpeners, with a translucent blue box to put them in. Then I imagine a stylish backpack to carry one of those fancy notebooks with the slots for photos all over the cover and inside it is filled with dividers, ruled paper, and a pack of stickers that say “good job” to put on every page. Okay, now I’m fantasizing.
If I ever quit my current job, I’ll probably get a job at an office supply store. I could count paperclips all day long and be perfectly content. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind hearing over the intercom, “clean up on aisle nine” and having to sort thousands of colored paperclips strewn across the floor.
It’s time to get a grip on this obsession so here is my list of Back to School Rules:
Office supplies represent a desire to feel organized, so start by cleaning off your desk. You have the supplies; you just lack the motivation to make time for the project. Use August as a motivating factor to do what you’ve been meaning to do for months: get organized.
Office supplies represent the next big idea, so let the creative juices fly and start putting ideas on paper. As a writer, I have bundles of ideas bouncing around in my head or on tiny post-it notes lost in piles on my desk. Begin to organize thoughts into projects to work on.
Office supplies represent affirmation, so look in the mirror and say, “good job.” I was always an A student because I liked the satisfaction of knowing I did well. I still need that kind of affirmation but it has to come from within now.
I just know that if I get organized, that next big idea will come and I’ll hear someone say “good job,” but for now, I gotta go to Office Max.
Here’s one-minute of amusement with school supplies . . .