SPOT ON! TOPS! WAY COOLER THAN THE AMERICAN ONE, IT’S PAPER ADVICE U.K.
It’s 9:43 p.m. EST here in America as I type this. I’ve just slammed two shots of espresso, I’m eating Altoids four at a time, my mouth is on fire like a winter wonderland that got so cool it burned. In my headphones, Superchunk are screaming: “So sick of talking about it / and falling asleep on the floor.” This potent combination in these otherwise vice-free days has me on the verge of busting out the Crane’s 3 13/16-by-5 5/16-inch notecards with my gold embossed initials on the front and slipping a note under the door of three of the apartments on this floor of the building where I’m living. My girlfriend just walked through the room, giving me that look the normal people give the likes of you and me. As if they’re better than those of us who line the mints up in perfect little lines on the table so there’s always one at the ready. Who turn huge AKG headphones up so loud we don’t hear the racket of our feet tapping on the empty little canned coffee drinks on the floor at our feet, Seattle’s coffee mogul burning a hole in our nervous systems, Great Britain’s mint magnate searing our tongues, the music the only thing we can feel in all of it. And the Crane’s Ecruwhite cards, on the couch next to you, they say:
Dear Neighbor, please review the following:
Unacceptable Halloween Decorations On The 20th Floor
Apartment 20-C: One small jack-o-lantern sticker above doorknob that has been there since last Halloween.
Apartment 20-D: Chinese menus.
Apartment 20-F: A taped up note: “Larry—come on in. In shower, out in a sec.”
Where is the spirit in this life! The fervor in these times! All right, look … never mind all of this. I’m here to help you with paper and the problems you’re having with it.
After a dozen of these mints hit your head, curiously strong becomes an understatement.
So, let’s rock—
From: Tim Wild
To: Dan Kennedy
Subject: The Post-it problem
Now I’m sure that you’re probably besieged with requests for advice about Post-it Notes. You’re bored of these requests, and sometimes feel resentful about their frequency. The irony being that your feelings may exactly correspond with those of the average Post-it Note user and seeker of advice, by which I mean me.
I don’t like them, yet I can’t escape them. Every time I feel I’ve replaced their tacky, demanding little squares with a more vital form of interpersonal communication, such as a short conversation, an e-mail, or simply ignoring whatever information I’m supposed to be recording on them and hoping it’ll go away, they crop up again. I hunt vainly for the essential telephone number I scribbled on one two months ago, but to no avail, as they all look the same. What freedom, if any, can I anticipate?
I’m duly flattered by your imagining that I’m trapped, bored, and resentful beneath a deluge of letters from readers seeking advice on Post-it® Notes. As if an entire world were reaching out and the resulting fame of being an Internet-based paper-product advice columnist had left me with a heady, dazed, can’t-be-bothered glow that follows me about as closely as the ever-present gaggle of female fans trying to get me to help them out of a paper jam. But to be perfectly blunt, I’ve never been less besieged, Tim. This past month it’s as if everyone figured out paper and paper-related products altogether and had no need to write me. I was walking around here in New York City, telling myself I should be happy they don’t need me anymore. That it means I did the work correctly. Then suddenly, notes start coming in from the U.K. Of course! Yes! The foreign markets! Outside of New York’s long, tall shadow, a whole world only starting to realize there’s someone they can turn to!
Your problem, if I’m to understand you, is that you can’t escape the flurry of dozens and dozens of Post-it® Notes that day-to-day life seems to breed. And I know the feeling … well, I did. That is, until I realized a way to do away with the omnipresent storm of little yellow notes that marked my workspace. I have a simple system, and, if you want to know the truth, I should probably be selling it for $6.95 plus shipping and handling on TV at about 3 in the morning just before washed-up strippers trying to live on the straight offer you hair and skin products while yesteryear’s boxing legends try to hawk you a grill. But you get it for free, my system. Ready? Here it is:
Use one huge Post-it® instead. Yep, allow me to recommend ditching your little canary-yellow 3-by-3 ways, and stepping up to the 20-by-23 model MMM566. The next time you walk up to your desk and say, “Where’s that phone number? I wrote it on a sticky note, I remember,” your friends and colleagues can reply, “Is it on the lone enormous 23-inch sticky note that all of your numbers and notes are kept on?” Yes. Yes, it is, Tim.
From: Knight, Robin
To: Dan Kennedy
Subject: Problems with Paper
My desk is always cluttered with sheets of paper I’ve printed out or scribbled something on for work-related reasons. When it gets too much, I take all the paper and dump it in a large green recycle bin down the corridor in the hope that it will get turned into something nice. But I can never be sure where it goes. Am I fooling myself, Dan? What happens to all the paper?
Robin, I’ve only received two notes this entire month and they’re both from e-mail addresses in the .co.uk form. Do you know a guy named Tim Wild? He lives there as well. OK, look, the short answer is that YES, it all gets turned into something nice. I have so much confidence in this fact that I’ve long sorted my recycling not by size, color, or material but by what I thought could be made from it once it landed at the recycling factory. One bin is marked “Aluminum siding, beams, teen hair accessories, smoking paraphernalia.” Another bin here is marked “Lawn furniture, fleece apparel, outdoor carpeting/turf, souvenir Indian headdresses.” I could probably take one look at the paper you’re throwing into the bin over there and tell you what it’s going to come back as. Not getting a good look at your paper, though, I would bet on most of it coming back as the sleeves that protect coffee drinkers from having to hold a piping-hot cup (also made of 80 percent post-consumer material). Nothing to sneeze at, coming back as a protective sleeve. If you’ve got paper you haven’t written much on, there’s the chance it could come back as new paper. As much of a no-brainer as that always seems to me, it’s a pretty popular second life for lesser-used note paper. I have a note here that my girlfriend just put in front of me that says, “Those will make your gums recede if you eat a whole thing at once. Google it if you don’t believe me.” So basically one line of text along the top of an 8.5-by-11 sheet of HP 92/20 lb. multipurpose. I could guarantee you that’s coming back as new paper after it hits the recycling plant; hell, I could practically fix it up good as new myself and cut out the middleman.
I have to split. I just finished a 50-gram tin of your country’s strongest mints and my stomach is killing me.