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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Confessions of an English Major by Bea Tifton

I majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing. I’d always loved to write, so it seemed like a good fit. We’re a peculiar breed, those English majors. We read voraciously. We get twitchy if we don’t write regularly, even if it’s just a grocery list. My first sentence was, “Let’s see. Let’s make a list.” as my mother prepared to go to the grocery store. We love language, and yes, we correct your speech in our heads. I don’t do it out loud. That’s just obnoxious. We quote stuff, too. 

 I was an elementary teacher, then a school librarian, for twenty years. Once when a group of us were hanging paper chains in time for a school event, I found myself standing there with a string of chain lengths. I held them up and intoned, “I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard.”  Nothing. Crickets chirped as my companions stared at me. Guess no one else reads Dickens’ A Christmas Carol each year.  Those crazy English majors.

But, oh, my biggest nerdom, well, aside from having books and books and more books. (That’s what a linen closet is for, right?)
I am absolutely obsessed with office supplies.
There. I said it. Oh, those wonderful little things that make our lives so much simpler. Bright
highlighters, pens in a wide array of colors, freshly sharpened pencils, and, oh my word, sticky notes. I should own stock in the company. Lined stickies, neon stickies, pastel stickies. Big ones, little ones. Sigh. 

When I was a librarian, I would go to the annual Texas Library Conference. After a leisurely stroll through the vendors’ arena, my backpack would be bulging with the promotional pens, highlighters, sticky notes, and various office tchotchkes that make our lives so much simpler as we work.
Going into the office supply store, I am like a kid in a candy store. One of my best friend’s daughter is both amused and exasperated by this. Her mother is a teacher, and many teachers share this fetish.  My friend and I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking at everything in the store. She’s even forcibly taken packages of sticky notes from our hands and cut us off from our supply by dragging us out with promises of food if we'd just leave.

When I helped the same friend move out of her classroom this past month after sixteen years as a classroom teacher to take another position, I was pleased to see she had buckets of highlighters, freshly sharpened pencils, colorful pens, and yes, baskets and baskets of sticky notes. Now that’s my kind of crazy.
Confession time. Do you peruse the office supply store like some people do a jewelry store? Do you have a rainbow of pens at your disposal? Does the sticky note company send you a personalized card each holiday season? It’s okay. I won’t judge. You’re safe here. Leave a comment below.


  1. lol..I finally kicked the habit. I finally weaned myself from buying writing supplies, but like any addict I stay clear of Office Supply so I'm not tempted. I now only have some sticky notes, pens and pencils, and a cube container with colorful note paper on my desk. My wallet and husband are proud of me! (But don't check the drawers in my desk.)

    1. I'm proud of you, too, Judy. It's a daily struggle, to be sure. Lol.

  2. I admit I love browsing in an office supply store. Like Judy above, I'm trying to wean myself from the habit by staying clear of Staples and Office Depot.

    1. Yes, Caroline. Staying clear of temptation is the only way.

  3. Bea, teachers and writers have the same obsessions: books and office supplies. I hate to admit that I have office supplies filling a closet in my office. Bought them years ago during sales just in case I'd need them. *g*

  4. It's so nice to know I'm not alone in that, Joan. I buy those spiral notebooks in bulk each summer just before school goes on sale. Lol.

  5. I LOOOOOVE office supplies!! They make me happy... like, deep down inside my heart happy.

  6. My mother is addicted to office supplies, so much so that my sister for Christmas gets her sticky notes and notebooks and pens... It's an illness I say.


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