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Saturday, June 9, 2012

En Garde, Post-its

A pile of books and a pile of notes and sticky notes.

When Post-its (or sticky notes, as we dubbed them) were first invented, it was a marvel of epic proportion.  I loved the ease with which they could be peeled off another paper, without leaving a trace of a mark. I wondered, at the time, if it was some kind of message from the Universe.  I postulated that maybe we are meant to adhere to ideas and people ... up to a point... but be ready to let them go without without hard feelings or ill-will.  Mostly though, I stuck sticky notes everywhere I could. In books, on refrigerators, on storage boxes.  I am a product of my environment. My parents were nothing if not avid note-takers, note-makers, note-readers, note-leavers.  I accepted that as the norm.  It was a startling revelation when I found out that other households do not have knives labeled as “SHARP.”  Other families do not have the date and year that a sleeve of picture hooks was purchased written on the package.  No one I visited had an elastic holding a screw to a rake with a note bearing the inscription, “Screw to rake.”  Post-its were liberating. I could act out and peel away these notes with little, or no evidence that it was I who did it. 
Fast forward three decades or so.  I am going through my father’s books and discovering that he wrote copious notes to himself in EVERY book he read.  I thought it would be nice to share the books with others, but first, I have to pull out, peel off and remove all of the sticky notes therein.  Mere slips of paper cooperate by fluttering to the ground when I hold the book open and flap the pages.  Not so those sticky notes; they hold fast.
I have the tiresome task of going through every book and removing his notes. In the beginning, I read them. No longer. Not only is it too much information for me and fairly depressing, I simply don’t want to be held up. So, I have my rhythm, I am ready to do battle. En Garde you Post-its!

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