1. At some point in your life, you may have an assistant. This is not that day and I am not that person.
2. When I inevitably drop the stack of papers I will be reading on my train ride home and a kind 20-something takes pity on me, scooping up the papers in a helter-skelter way that makes me want to slap his smooth young cheek, your short story (student who didn’t staple AND who didn’t put page numbers in the top right hand corner as advised on the syllabus) will be in disorder. Once I get home, it will then take me another 20 minutes to put your work back in order. Not only will I curse you and your offspring, but I will also make a mental note to ding that C-plus you’re earning to a C-minus.
3. If you can afford this private college, you should be able to buy a stapler. Here are some nice options:
• The Bostitch® electric is, of course, the most badass electric stapler of all time. We have one in the 10’ by 9’ adjunct office I share with 23 other adjuncts. If it worked, I would steal it. But, alas, it (along with the printers, water cooler, refrigerator, and wall clock) is broken.
• If you plan on consistently handing in 33-page short stories, there is also this professional-grade Economy Plier Stapler® by ULINE. This thing will puncture skin and bore through walls. Be careful… I don’t want you to hurt yourself.
• Because you are so fashion conscious, might I suggest the Swingline® 747® Business Stapler. It comes in three colors and will last until the time you move into that corner office you think you deserve and no longer have to worry about things as mundane as staplers.
• Probably the most sensible option is this little gem from Business Source. It will cost you less than a tall Mocha Frappasomething (with whip) and it won’t make you disrupt my class to pee every eight minutes.
4. You’re right. The syllabus does say, “Please staple (preferred) or paper clip your work before handing in.” This is something I have been too busy to revise. Regardless of what the syllabus says, refrain from using a tiny (yet adorable) pink paperclip. Realize that a fragile piece of wire won’t stand a chance against the girth of that short story you wrote (the one about Good Charlotte’s bus breaking down in your hometown and a narrator suspiciously like you just happening upon them and clown car-ing them into your mom’s Toyota minivan only to find that, in the meantime, Niall Horan parachute-landed onto your front lawn after a failed attempt to crash Riot Fest).
5. As a rule, I do not want to read your short story about the upcoming zombie apocalypse or your fan-fiction spin on those freaky blue human-slash-animal beings, and that not stapling said short story does not help your case.
6. Realize that not stapling your work, combined with my lowly status as an adjunct professor and your pattern of turning in work with multiple typos and sloppy sentence structure, may tip me over the edge. When (not if) this happens, I will curl in a ball beneath one of the two desks I share with the 23 other adjunct professors in the aforementioned 10’ by 9’ office. While I’m under there, I will question every decision I’ve made in my professional and personal life.
7. In the event that this happens (and, like I said, there’s a pretty good chance that it will), do not try to console me. Walk away. Find a stapler. Staple your paper. Return to class. When I eventually return to class, know that I will be emotionally fragile. When you hand me your 33-page story and the staple-prongs (that couldn’t curl because your story is too long) viciously split the skin of my palm, run like hell.
8. Know that the quiet kid in the corner is writing circles around you even though, during critiques, you bash her work. Know, too, that she always staples her papers.
9. Remember that time at the beginning of the semester when you didn’t staple your work and I handed it back to you and asked you to staple it? When you thought I wasn’t looking, you rolled your eyes at me. Just for the record: I was looking.
10. Know that bringing a bucket of KFC and offering me an extra crispy drumstick does not preclude you from stapling your work. When I tell you that I am a vegan, do not laugh and say, ‘But it’s so tasty!’ Know that, if you do this, you will have pushed me to my limit and you’d be best advised to withdraw from my class post haste. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 (and when you sell that fan-fiction piece I trashed and make more money in one year than I’ve made during my entire adjunct career, throw me a bone… have your assistant buy the department that badass Bostich® electric stapler. It will set you back about $79.95 but you’re a success now. Act like it).