By HEATHER MALLICK
Saturday, August 27, 2005
This is my new stapler (she said sullenly). Yes, I love it for its winsome combination of matte silver and central pink stabby bit. But I am haunted by an essay by actor and writer Stephen Fry, in which he did a stunning parody of those My Favourite Object columns. It was extremely funny. It was called Me and My Stapler.
So I will not write about my "relationship" with my sexy new Swingline, as people tend to do about everything now, including food, furniture and lip balm.
I have no genuine emotional link with the thing. I simply get excited by organizational devices and office supplies. It's like how people with a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder related to cleaning and organizing get a thrill when they go to my local papery shop, Midoco, or to art-supply stores or to brightly lit Business Depots where you can buy hundreds, nay thousands, of file folders for $6.99.
What could be the ultimate example? I go to stores called Binz and Table of Contents. There's even a shop in London called the Holding Company.
The great thing about the stapler is its fulcrum. Imagine a teeter-totter. The fulcrum is in the centre and the seats are on either end, equally spaced. Little children happily rise and fall, slaves to gravity. If you moved the fulcrum, one child would be up, the other down, and both would be screaming.
That's the principle of your standard stapler. All the stapling power resides in your little hand. That's why it won't staple anything thick or unwieldy, and why the staple sometimes collapses, to be extracted with a special device (naturally I own one) and left on the carpet for someone to step on and cut her foot open. Luckily, my office has a scarlet rug.
But my new Swingline has a central fulcrum, which means most of the stapler's weight is concentrated in the centre where your papers are, not at the end that you pound with your fist.
Touch the tip of this silver stapler and your pile of papers is as one. It staples like Clarence Clemons plays the saxophone. That's silly. Okay, it staples like a stapler should. What puzzles me is why staplers have been a badly designed office disgrace since they were invented in 1866, but I'll shut up now, doubtless with your gratitude.