The Strange Case of the Post-It's Survival

Recycling became mandatory in the city I raised my children when they were small.  By the time my kids were teens I’d have a hemmorage if I even thought of throwing away an aluminum can. 

We moved to South Africa six years ago, where recycling is relatively  a new concept and optional. Little more that a noble idea, it is also very  inconvenient.  One would have to be wearing a cape, standing on a mountain top to champion the cause.  The nearest recycle center is 3 kilometers away from our house and the road that leads me there is not paved. 

I read my online newspaper today, thinking that when I lived in America I took recycling for granted.  Now there seems to be, in my homeland, a push to go paperless – a paperless society that thinks twice before wiping out a forest of trees.  Besides toilet paper, paper is becoming the new enemy of environmentally responsible folk back home.  I think I can go paperless if I wasn’t expected to include books as paper. I will never, never, never say goodbye to books whose luscious pages I turn with my fingers or whose gorgeous covers beckon me from my bedside table.  I love my kindle, but not like that.  I have a friend-love for my kindle; I have a passionate romance with my books.

I made an appointment today (before we leave for our holiday) to meet with a tutoring company so that I could officially tutor English for a teen daughter of a friend.  I have been tutoring English here for years without getting paid, so to be paid for something I already do sounds good.   I no longer need a map to find the place- I just program it into my GPS.  Even directions now favor paperless habits.

I wrote the address of the tutoring company on a small yellow square of paper that I have grown up calling a post-it.  It is a generic sticky-note, but it is elevated to the brand Post-it for lingual purposes.  Working for years as a teacher, I implemented a system of organization and fluidity of thought given to me by the brilliant Franklin Covey, Inc.  They told us that post-its were a thing of the past – a tool for the weak minded non Jedi’s that couldn’t plan properly.  So behind everyone’s backs I would remind myself to “Franklin” something with that valiant piece of paper stationery held to its destination with a re-adherable strip of adhesive.  I’d stick a reminder to myself right on the page and damn it all to hell, it helped me remember something.

Although today they’re  available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, my favorite is still the 3 inch square canary yellow one that says: “HEY!!  Don’t forget me!” as soon as I see it.  It basically has become the most identifiable symbol in my life, similar to a stop sign. 

I think the secret of the Post-it’s popularity is that unique low-tack adhesive that allows me to take the address of the tutoring company from the corner of my computer screen and stick it on my car’s dashboard as I program it in to my GPS.  Once I’ve done it, I can toss the paper with little or no guilt – after all, it’s a stinkin three inch square! 

I know, as I drive off that there is no sticky residue left on my computer screen – there is no sticky residue left on my dashboard.  It is virtually the best adhesive ever invented for its purpose. 

And that’s where my heart is exposed: I love post-it’s because they are convenient, easy to see and can be attached and removed without leaving marks that make me look bad.   


I guess I can live with that.


Views: 57

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on December 11, 2012 at 5:53am

This clever little piece could be subtitled "An Ode to Paper".

Recyling here in the fastpaced hub of the universe, the NorthEastern USA, has been made so damn simple even a chimp could do it.

You just toss everything recyclable in a big blue barrel and they take it in a big truck to somewhere , where it is all separated. 

My daily so -called journal is my favorite paper product... all my cogent and inspired and insipid thoughts go into it...and lists. Lists of things to do!

Comment by Brazen Princess on December 11, 2012 at 6:04am is kind of an ode to paper, isn't it??  Have abandoned OS because it doesn't work!  Are you here for good??

Comment by Emily Conyngham on December 11, 2012 at 7:57am

BP!!! I am so glad to see you here. I am here. I am selfish! I want you to be here too! Love your little ode.

Comment by Brazen Princess on December 11, 2012 at 8:23am

EMILY!!!  So goooooooood to see you and be able to read you again!!  Thank you for coming by!!

Comment by JMac1949 Today on December 11, 2012 at 8:26am

I almost always forget my reusable  shopping bag when I run to the store to buy something.  If I can carry my purchases out without a bag, I always say,"Don't bag it. Save a polystyrene."  But I do have post-it all over my desk. R&L ;-)

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on December 11, 2012 at 8:35am

i certainly am here for Good! and also for good.

both. OS is a big wasteland now. terribly sad. boo hoo. :)

Comment by tr ig on December 11, 2012 at 8:59am

A friend of mine's gf is a consultant that often works in Bangkok, where apparently per her, they just throw their trash into the ocean where it floats around. She finds it disgusting, and who wouldn't, except them I guess. I suspect that is fairly common practice in a good part of the world, so . . . maybe... you can continue the use of these 3M stickies without tooooo much guilt. Twisted logic I know. Good to see you here, typing virtual paperless missives though BP (hmmm same as British Petroleum)

Comment by Alysa Salzberg on December 12, 2012 at 3:36am

Like you, I use Post-It's to help me keep things straight...especially when it comes to tutoring, actually.  I feel guilty, as you do, too, especially because, while most paper can be recycled here, I don't think Post-it notes least not the sticky part.  I probably should cut that part off and at least try to recycle the paper part.  Okay, you've just inspired me - New Year's Resolution #1 for this year!  I'm glad that the idea of reducing paper is becoming popular in South Africa, and I hope recycling in general will become easier, too.  Here in France, we don't hold a candle to northern European countries, where in some cases recycling is mandatory, but I've seen progress in the years I've been here.  Nowadays, many Parisian apartment buildings have a regular trash bin and a recycling bin - and in some cases, one for glass, too (or you can recycle your glass in special receptacles that are located throughout the city).

Comment by Brazen Princess on December 12, 2012 at 7:49am

JMac!!  How nice to see the bearded face!  No Piccard??  

James~ ;))

Tr ig~ A blessing and a delight to see you in the Opium Den and on my page!!  Unfortunately, the third world cannot be "bothered" with recycling - they are too busy trying to survive.  BUT things are happening!!  Do a google search on Garbage City in Cairo ...and amazing story!

Alysa!!  JUST saw the beautiful, refreshing weekend fiction club!!  I will have a story tomorrow!!  You make me feel guilty with your new New Year's Resolution!!  


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