School Supplies for Adult Life

Just like school supplies help children in their scholastic pursuits, adults can buy books that will help them learn how to take control of their lives and achieve their dreams.

TAGGED UNDER: School Supplies

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By: Ira Allen

If there is a topic custom-designed to flip most grown-up people’s eyelids to the off position, it must be ‘school supplies’. As a kid, though, preparing for school could be sort of fun. Even if you didn’t have much money, or your parents were fanatically thrifty like mine, there was a certain joy to be had from picking out notepads or deciding on an eraser. The blue or the yellow? The pad with dinosaurs and big spaces between the lines or the ‘college-ruled’ (whatever that meant) with the bland, severe image on the front? For many adults, this picture has shifted a little.

How many people do you know who, on the eve of their first day at a new job, are out filling a shopping basket with pens and pencils? Okay, so most companies provide writing implements, but perhaps it’s also true that, as Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead put it, “The thrill is gone.” But why?

As kids, school supplies are pretty much our only way of asserting some sort of authority over what is otherwise, by and large, a forced routine. You don’t tell your parents or the school board where you’d like to go to first grade or what you’d like to learn in fifth grade. Your input is not requested on what time school should start in the morning and when it should end at night. And nobody cares all that much how you feel about having to do homework.

It’s true, of course, that much of this resonates uncomfortably for adults in the workforce, but when you’re a kid, it’s different. You don’t have the myth of the American Dream yet. The reason why you’re working hasn’t become entirely clear.

As adults, we know why we work. We work to put food on the table. We work to give our kids the things we never had. We work to be upwardly mobile. We work to buy enormous televisions. We work to survive, and, even more so, we work to be able to play. The questionable value of some of our dreams aside (is the SUV really worth the overtime?), the point is that we’re working for a reason. We’re not just working because somebody tells us we have to―even if that is more or less what we’re actually doing.