Love Letter to The Side of a Truck

The time is ripe for a just keep trucking pun!!

There’s a truck I sometimes see around New York that makes me smile like a reflex. It is for office supplies.

“Who But W.B. Mason: Products for the Workplace Since 1893.” The color scheme is Ringling Brothers, ketchup red on mustard yellow, like a circus vehicle for Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson (eh! Vehicle! eh!). W.B. Mason gazes into the distance, flanked by rippling American flags, pulling off a handlebar mustache like a distinguished Depression-era ringleader. Beautiful. An HP preferred partner.

It’s not just the gaudy unafraid glory that grabs you, though. It comes down to the tone, this printer paper truck’s ineffable confidence. Who But W.B. Mason. It’s not even a question! You know the answer. W.B. Mason, dummy.

I first saw the truck leaving the office of my first job in February, four days before my birthday, six days before the date I told myself I was going to quit even if I didn’t have something to swing away on. The office was in a neighborhood where nothing ever seemed bright, and I was deeply unhappy in a job that sounded great but was not right.

It wasn’t like the truck came to me in a dream, but it was light, and happy, and casually audacious about getting yours. Who But W.B. Mason. Why would you ever wonder? Go for it. You will be carried forward on the strength of your convictions, this truck says. I got an offer for a paid internship that day, and it does seem like a weird coincidence in retrospect.

I saw the truck again two days ago, in the hazy hot Financial District, the we-need-more-ozone beating-down-your-neck sun making the truck seem less crisp but more vivid. The internship has ended and it’s been a summer of email, Ed2010, pitches into the void, gauging follow up times, egging the hours on because after five days it’s the weekend, and everyone’s unemployed on the weekend.

So, things have not been great. But maybe seeing the truck again is auspicious. Which is a bullshit thing to say, because the W.B. Mason truck isn’t about luck or chance, despite the timing with which we met. It’s about knowing yourself, all you have to offer, the multitude of paperclips you contain, and realizing that’s good enough. We’re good enough. I keep trying to remember that.

Who But W.B. Mason. There’s no question. Not with that mustache.

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