Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Class Notes: Acceptable Accessories

The real deal
A large portion of the world's adult population uses pencil cases. I don't know why I find this trivial detail of class life so fascinating except that most Americans give them up somewhere around the middle school years when anything remotely academic starts to be really un-cool. The pencil cases in my class tend to be sober affairs - in other words, no Hello Kitty fetishes - and lo and behold, they're actually full of pencils! One of my classmates asked me the other day where Americans keep their pens and pencils if they don't use cases and I said we just let them float around in our bags and pockets... in hindsight, that seems like a lame answer and doesn't do any real justice to how superior we Americans believe ourselves to be despite our lack of organized writing implements...

Maybe we should bring them back? After all, we probably stopped using them Stateside in the '50's give or take a decade and haven't we really just been in decline since then? Look at what's happened to us. Watergate happened. Shag carpets happened. The 'burbs happened. Dirty flannel-as-fashion happened. Milli Vanilli happened. I'm-hiking-the-Appalachin-Trail-as-cover-story-for-a-trip-to-my-South-American-mistress happened.

Could pencil cases save us from ourselves? Could they return us to a golden age where politicians are so old and ugly they are incapable of sordid personal lives? Could they bring back an era where Wal-mart is a place you go when you're building a twelve-sided house and need a lot of sheetrock? Could they erase from our collective cultural memory some spectacutarly misguided ideas, like wearing all of your clothing backwards or teaching your hair to do business in the front and party out back. 

Maybe not. But I think I'll buy one and find out for myself.