I was sitting at my desk the other day, getting ready for my writers’ group meeting. I had just printed out the pages I was planning to read, and as I was stapling them into sets, my stapler jammed. This usually means it’s almost empty, and the loose staples inside are bent and blocking the opening. But when I tried to open it to remove the logjam and refill the stapler, the pieces wouldn’t budge. No matter how much I pushed, pulled, pried or squeezed, the stapler remained stuck shut.

I had another stapler in the other room, so I got that one and finished stapling my pages together, making a mental note to find a screwdriver later and try to open the stubborn one.

Good thing I had another stapler, I thought, and that I knew where it was. Not that it would have been the end of the world if I didn’t. Plan B would have been to use paper clips, even though they don’t hold pages together as well as staples.

And then I had to laugh. I write every so often about things we often take for granted. But I’m usually talking about things like electricity and running water. A roof over our heads, and a warm bed to sleep in. A beautiful sunrise or sunset, or a night sky filled with stars.

I don’t think I’ve ever thought that way about staplers. But here was a perfect example of something we rarely think about, but depend on when we need it.

I decided to take a look around my house, specifically looking for some of the things that serve a definite purpose, but that I rarely, if ever, really think about. The light in the refrigerator that goes on when I open the door. Bookmarks. A flashlight. Drawer handles. Door handles. My toothbrush.

If you have the time, why don’t you take a minute right now and do the same? Get up, walk around, and look for things you use and depend on, but rarely give a second thought to. Or even a first one. It’s not a life-changing exercise, but one that opens our eyes to a few more things in our lives that we should be grateful for.

By the way, I didn’t need a screwdriver to fix my stapler after all. When I got home from my meeting, I took another stab at it and was able to pry the lid open. I cleared out a few mangled staples, put in a new strip, and snapped it shut. And next week when I’m stapling pages together for my writers group meeting – or any time in between now and then when I have papers that need fastening – I’ll be sure to take a moment to say a quick thank you for this handy little gadget that simplifies my life in a way I rarely ever think about. And for everything else that does the same.

October 4, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019

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