Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Improper Poll: Another Season of Hoarding

 I was recently flipping through channels when my attention was captured by an episode of “Hoarding.” A mental health professional was holding up a pen and looking gravely at his patient. “How many pens do you have to have before it’s enough?” he was asking her.

For a minute I was pretty sure he was talking to me, too.

I’ve already mentioned that I cleaned out my purse and counted 15. That is how many I must have, I’ve found, before I can consistently find one.

In my house, too, I have pens everywhere because so many of them don’t write. And I hate to throw out brand new pens that don’t write well, so I let them sit around for months before I will throw them out—I guess in case they change their minds. The brand that claims it writes “first time, every time” doesn’t seem to write at any time for me.

Papermate, with its little double heart logo, is the brand I call The Precious, but my beloved blue is usually sold out. I recently found out why. I subbed for several Language Arts teachers in a row, and they all had their own drawer full of The Precious.

The psychologist on TV explained that his method of treating hoarders was to take the pen and see how long they could live without it. Whew! I must not be nuts, because I’d let him take it. I’d just go out and buy a whole bunch more. How many pens must I have before I have enough? So many that when I reach for a blue pen, I can find one. And it actually writes.

Do you find yourself stockpiling anything?


  1. Books. They're coming out my ears. Piled on end tables, stacked on top of full bookshelves, boxed, balanced like Guinness-worthy Jenga towers on top of boxes already full of books.

    Do not call Hoaders.

    You can have your blue Precious. I prefer black.

  2. Flip flops, Iknow what you mean about pens. I search everywhere for one and then days later find five or ten in my purse. I'm sick.

  3. I'm a pen-a-holic, too. Six in my purse at this count, five sitting on my Franklin planner which is next to a cup on my desk housing 9 more. My new fave is the Papermate Profile, touted as "The world's smoothest pen." I have it in blue, red, black and purple. :)

  4. I also like to buy pens. BLUE pens! (Why don't retailers understand we want BLUE pens?) Anyway, pens are mysterious. They tend to disappear for no apparent reason. That's why I need lots of BLUE pens!

    Critter Alley

  5. I have about a thousand pens in my house. Oh, and I can't count the number of books.

  6. Pens too - my fav is Uniball Jetstream and you can't find it in blue too often... drives me nuts. I'm too embarrassed to say how many... could be like Donna - thousands. I'm also one to pick up envelopes and paper and notebooks and books and anything writing/reading related. But I'm not a hoarder or anything.

  7. I have lots of pens, but only use a few. My favorite cheapo onse are BIC Ultras. I don't think think that pens are a problem with me though.

    One thing that I have A LOT of, that most people don't seem to, are scissors in every room, and office tape dispensers in three rooms.

    I have hair cutting scissors in the bathroom that I have had for 25 years, given to me by my cousin for Christmas. They are still sharp. They are never used to cut paper. I have several pairs of my sewing scissors hidden, so that nobody will use them to cut paper and make them dull. Are you sensing a pattern here, Tammy?

    Then, there is the issue of tape. I don't use it all the time, but I want it there when I need it. Once I figured out that you could by a desk dispenser that comes with a roll of tape for almost the same price as just one plastic dispenser roll of tape, I was convinced to not skimp.

    Now, why all this trouble? When I was growing up, we only had one pair of scissors that we could ever find, and they were the sewing scissors, and of course we were not supposed to use them, because they would get dull. We did anyway. We had to buy tape every time we bought a gift, along with the wrapping paper. As a girl, I swore, "when I get my own house ...."


    Kathy M.


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