Office Supply Store or Den of Iniquity

I have come to depend on friends to recommend new fiction, as I seem unable to spend any energy to find my own these days.

Helen’s post about Carrie Pilby was so intriguing, I had to order it through interlibrary loan.

Helen appreciated Carrie’s love of dictionaries, but I found an echo of my own soul in this passage about office supplies:

The nice thing about living in the Village is that it means you’re close to New York University, and NYU has the best stationery shops in the world, I suppose because of the writers and film students. You can find forty-two colors of paper clips; twenty-three sizes of envelopes; seventy-six kinds of pens; markers with gold ink, silver ink, chartreuse ink, invisible ink, disappearing ink, peppermint ink, glittering ink, pink ink, scented ink and glue ink. It’s been too long since I’ve been stationery shopping. The problem is, I suddenly need everything I see. Take those long pink erasers. All of my pencils have their own erasers, so there’s no need for me to buy a pink eraser, but they just look so clean and nubile that I have to caress them. Forget what Nabokov said: the real pleasure in life is fondling office supplies. I could bite those pink erasers.


Yes, I know–there is something laughable about a person who thinks she’s getting wild because she’s going to buy office supplies. Well, you have your fun. You can watch your pornos and smoke your grass and climb onto your rooftop with a bottle of hooch and howl at the moon, but I will RUN MY FINGERS OVER MY NUBILE PINK ERASER AND GASP IN ECSTASY. And I won’t wake up with a hangover or unsightly teeth marks on my neck.

Maybe I’ve been holed up too long in this little room making tiny red and blue marks on large stacks of paper, but I must admit to my (slightly) obsessive love of office supplies.

And it’s gotten so bad that, like a drunk sucking down Nyquil, I even get a thrill over $1 notebooks and gel pens from Target when I can’t afford rice paper and mechanical pencils from Kinokuniya.



Filed under Books, General silliness

10 responses to “Office Supply Store or Den of Iniquity

  1. SusieJ

    I was just looking around our computer room yesterday, with all of its piles, and ready to throw all caution at the wind and spend a bundle on office supplies. Just a little fantasy I was having.

  2. Helen

    Ooh, I loved that part of Carrie Pilby too! I’m planning another Carrie Pilby post soon, once I’ve shaken off the latest illness. (Yes, Kiko’s asthma was triggered by a “viral infection” – I quote the A&E doctor but in my terms it’s called the lurgy! – and he felt he just had to pass it on to me too. Why are small children so efficient at communicating disease?!)

    I love stationery so much. Japan was a very dangerous place for me to live. I want to go back there with an empty suitcase! Or failing that, there is always the Kinokuniya here…

  3. L.A. Daddy

    I have a problem with office supply stores and art stores. I cannot leave them. LA Mommy has to drag me out. I tend to want to buy everything.

    I’ve gotten better (by not going as much) over the years, but I used to be real bad.

    I think I like the fact that they represent things that could be… if I had the time to do them all. And that maybe if I bought them, I would use them and create things.

    But I usually just end up spending a lot of money for stuff I stick in a drawer.

  4. Henitsirk

    I always feel the potential for organization in office supply stores. Like if I just buy one more pack of hanging file folders, my desk will magically unpile itself.

    When I started my freelance business, I had a very dangerous moment when I realized that I could write off office supplies as a business expense! I did restrain myself, however, given that the beginning of a freelance business is not the time to stretch the cash flow too much.

  5. Mitch McDad

    Ummmm…I don’t get it….I have the same tendency at our local pub…but office supplies, not so much. 🙂

  6. Henitsirk

    McDad: my sense is that you’re more a man of action, and perhaps the allure of pens and stationery are a bit faded in the light of pubs and quarterly sex? Or perhaps your corporate life sucks all the love of office supplies right out of you.

  7. Sasha

    Oh yes I could smell the pink eraser while I read that! *sniff* And now it’s back to school time! All supplies are on sale!!!!!!! Yaaaay! The people who do the supply ordering at my job are great. I got to order all my own office supplies! Purple stapler and purple pens… lovely coral-colored stickies… Yum!

  8. Henitsirk

    Sasha: thanks for visiting my blog, welcome. You’re lucky you can get yummy-colored stuff at work. When I worked in the corporate world we pretty much just got whatever was in the stockroom. Of course I was very friendly with the department secretary…

  9. Anonymous

    I guess that’s why there is a picture of a nubby pink eraser on the cover of Carrie Pilby! Definitely a book worth getting. You can order a new copy off in America, but I think they’re sold out in Australia.

  10. Anonymous

    Generally,I do my office supplies shopping on great discounted prices from OfficeDepot, OfficeMax stores at

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