I Go To The Office Supply Store

I go to the office supply store pretty much every other day. I usually don’t buy anything — I’m already buried in pens. Five repurposed Amazon shipping boxes full of pens, I’m sure many of them dried out and useless. I’m depressed most of the time. I’m on lamotrigine to even things out. Keeps me from getting too high, keeps me from getting too low. But I’m underwater most of the time, my nose just barely poking out above the surf.

When I was very young I thought my dad was a businessman. I had no idea he was a doctor. He had an office in the southwest corner of our house with a pipe caddy. He smoked cigarettes but also smoked pipes. Perhaps the pipe smoke was more contemplative for him. He’d sit in his office with his blue typewriter and the latest issue of Newsweek and a closed door and occasionally we’d hear a humming sound and the clickey-clack of him typing.

I wanted to be a businessman too, at that age. Driving a big Buick, in an office filled with filing cabinets and rolodexes, sitting on someone’s desk ever so casually as I smoked a cigarette and planned marketing strategies. I remember asking for a Mickey Mouse typewriter for Christmas and being terribly disappointed when I didn’t get it, when I was told that the store had run out. I had forms to fill out, memos to write. How could I do that without my own typewriter?

So now, when I get low I go to the office supply store. I more often than not buy something small — a new gel ink pen, some legal pads, a small plastic box. I go in and just browse and check the clearance items, and think back to a time when my mom and dad were together and we lived in a neighborhood full of kids who weren’t spoiled pricks, and when I wasn’t a spoiled prick.

Back before everything went bad.