Tag Archives: paper

Sealed with a lick

You know what’s disgusting? Licking envelopes to seal them shut. Who came up with such a gross way of performing a ridiculously mundane task? It’s a good thing that we rarely send out actual mail anymore, because I can’t imagine living twenty or thirty years ago, having to take care of actual correspondence with physical papers, being forced to lick a strip of glue just to seal my envelopes shut.


And stamps too. You used to have to lick stamps. I’m getting physically ill just thinking about all of this licking going on. Here, I’m going to send you a letter. Lick. Lick. Why do so many bodily fluids have to be involved? It’s like, sticker technology has been around for a while. How much cheaper or more efficient was it really, instead of printing stamps and envelopes with a layer of sticker, to manufacture them with a thin strip of yellow glue?

How did that meeting go down where they decided on the first generation of lick-it envelopes? “Hey everybody, I’ve got a great idea for a new type of envelope. We’ll somehow get some glue and dry it right on the flap. When you want to close it, you just take your tongue and moisten everything up with your own spit. Then you mail your letter and your spit to wherever it’s supposed to go.”

I can’t understand how such a boneheaded idea not only made it past the drawing board, but actually became the standard for both envelopes and stamps. It’s like, everybody remembers doing it, and you’d get that nasty glue taste in your mouth afterward. You know what that tastes like? It tastes like glue. It’s fucking chemicals that you’re putting in your mouth, and then you swallow them. Nasty.

Like I said, this generation is beyond fortunate that we don’t have to deal with such antiquated technology. But it’s still around. Once every five years or so, I run out of envelopes, and so I have to put on my jacket and walk over to Rite Aid to buy another twenty-five pack. Usually it’s no big deal, like I said, the glue standard is thankfully no longer the standard. They’ve got these adhesive strips that automatically stick, so there’s no need to have a make-out session with a piece of paper.

But the last time I went, I accidentally brought home some of the old-fashioned relics. How did this happen? Did a case of glue envelopes get lost somewhere in the back, and now they were like, whatever, just sell them, like they’re just regular envelopes? I went back to demand a refund, but when it was my turn at the register, I realized that the whole pack only cost like fifty-seven cents, and so while I was still super pissed off, I didn’t really feel like getting into it with a cashier that probably had no idea that we ever had to live with such primitive pieces of paper in the first place.

It just goes counter to everything we’re taught as human beings. “Honey, don’t put that in your mouth,” our parents are telling us from an early age. Don’t lick the walls. Stop trying to put your tongue inside the electric socket. Stop eating dirt. But then it’s like, here, let me show you how to send a letter. Just lick, lick, lick, the more spit the better, and then share all of your slimy germs throughout the entire US Postal Service.”

Now I’m just really pissed off. I can’t even say anything that I haven’t already said. But I can think of like a million better ways to close envelopes. Tape. That’s much better. Glue sticks. Why couldn’t they just use glue sticks? Staples. Stickers. Melted wax. Come on, why did it have to be spit-glue? Half glue, half spit. One hundred percent disgusting.

Man, I didn’t expect to get this fired up. I’m just so surprised that the previous generation was so dumb. Thanks for the looming debt crisis. And years of inherited political gridlock. And climate change. Also, stamps and envelopes. You don’t go around licking random pieces of paper with glue on them. Period. Yuck.

Be a part of the Pollution Solution

I’ve been really concerned with pollution lately, air pollution, noise pollution, all different types of pollution. Last night I had this great idea for a campaign, I’d call it the “Pollution Solution.” It’s great, a great name, it rhymes, I thought it might be a terrific way to raise awareness about pollution, you could teach it to little kids and print out flyers and t-shirts that say something like, “I’m a part of the Pollution Solution,” you know, in reference to that old saying about being a part of the problem or being a part of the … yeah, you know.


So t-shirts and flyers, right? Right. OK, I didn’t know how to make t-shirts, not by myself anyway. I tried my hand at screen printing a few years ago, but the farthest that I got in the process was buying a bunch of stuff at some art store, eventually leaving the bags in the corner of my living room for months until finally my wife put them somewhere in the basement. I was like, “What the hell? I was going to use that stuff!”

And at the time I was so mad, because that was my excuse for not doing cool stuff like screen printing, “like I don’t have any space, like, you keep hiding my stuff and I forget that I want to do it.” But now that I’m thinking about it, that was part of the problem, of the pollution problem. I was polluting my house with all of this junk.

So let’s keep going, keep moving, we’ll get to the t-shirts, eventually, but I don’t want to get caught up right away in another pollution trap, so flyers, let’s make some flyers. I got onto Microsoft Word, I wrote in some big letters, “Be a part of the,” and then in even bigger letters, “Pollution Solution,” all caps. I got this recycling logo from the Internet and started printing two hundred copies.

But right as they started spooling out of the printer, I had doubts, like, OK, you definitely need flyers for a campaign, but where would I distribute these flyers? Who am I going to give them to? Shouldn’t I have included some contact info on the flyer? I clicked on the printer icon on my computer, and I hit cancel, but you know how those things always are, it’s like, cancel, and it says cancelling, but it keeps printing, and you go to click something else, but that shitty program that installed itself when you hooked up the printer, it’s totally unresponsive.

I was like, OK, I guess I’ll have to buy some more paper. I went back to Word, then I started typing the contact info, my phone number, right? Maybe a web site? Do I have a web site? I looked online, pollution solution dot com. Nothing. I registered quickly, it only cost like twelve bucks. Then my printer made some noise, it was a sound like it was finally accepting the delayed command to stop printing, but it was already at copy number ninety-eight, and instead of finishing copy number ninety-eight, it just stopped halfway down the page.

Come on! Why couldn’t it stop after it was complete? What am I supposed to do with half of a flyer? That’s pollution right there, because, what can I do but throw that piece of paper in the trash? I crumpled it up instinctively before I had the thought, wait, it didn’t have to be a total waste, I could finish the bottom half of the flyer by hand, and that would be cool because it’s all crumpled up anyway, so it would really have that cool recycled look. And the half-ink, half-pen thing, it would add to the effect, the really making treasure out of trash.

But I needed some pens, I mean, I had pens, but just Bic pens, that would have taken forever. I needed like a marker. So I went to the art store to buy a bunch, but on the way in, I saw this box, a screen printing starter kit. Huh. That’s so much more convenient than all of the random stuff I bought last time. It was just these jars of chemicals and the screens and I got home and I didn’t know where to start and then my wife hid everything in the basement, it was like, no wonder I never learned how to screen print.

So I bought the starter kit, went home, then went back to check on the flyers which, for some reason, the printing job resumed. I figured, whatever, it’s OK, I think that in my excitement about the starter’s kit, I forgot to actually buy those pens, and so, whatever, it’s fine, I’m making progress, I’ve got the flyers, I was just about to get started on the t-shirts, but I got an email from some guy at pollution solution dot net. It was this whole cease and desist, but you could tell he wasn’t a lawyer, it was just some dude threatening legal action, threatening to get a lawyer, and trying to scare me with a bunch of made up legalese.

I think. I’m not a lawyer either, and so it’s difficult to distinguish fake from real lawyering. Whatever, I could feel my motivation was diminishing. Do I really have what it takes for a political campaign? Again, what am I going to do, start passing out flyers on the street, like those cell phone guys? No, it’s so much pollution, it’s obvious, and those guys are so annoying, so aggressive, like fine, you want me to take this flyer from you? You want me to throw this piece of paper in the trash for you? Fine. I threw all of my work in the trash. I don’t care, twelve bucks on some cheesy domain name, you can take it mister dot net.

And then I had this idea for a t-shirt, it would be like a skull and crossbones, but instead of a skull, it would be a robot skull, and instead of crossbones, it would be like a wrench and a screwdriver. That would be the perfect t-shirt to use with my screen printing kit. But I still needed those pens, those markers, not pens, for the design. And some t-shirts. But I was really hungry and I needed some lunch. So I headed out the door and I think I wanted pizza, but I wasn’t sure, and was I even headed in the right direction? Maybe I’d just get a sandwich. And look at all of this litter on the floor, all of this trash, so much pollution. Everybody’s just a part of it, a part of the problem, man, it’s too much.