Erasers are kind of underappreciated. Who owns erasers anymore? Now all I have stocked in my house are pens. Of course, I don’t keep it bland. I have red pens, blue pens, black pens, ballpoint pens, gel pens, green pens, and a plethora of colored Sharpies. But, for some reason, I myself don’t own pencils. It’s crazy because in grade school, our teachers used to tell us to write in pencil. And they would never give it up. If you wrote in pen, it was like the devil had compelled you to do so and you got screamed at so loudly—and in such a bizarre manner—that you feared the day you forgot your Number 2 pencil in your locker again. It’s that good old Catholic Guilt. But apply it to pencils.
Erasers aren’t really relevant in adult life. Turns out our teachers were wrong (about that one thing, so please don’t attack me?). But sometimes you just wish you had an eraser. I like to draw. When I draw, I draw faces. Portraits and landscapes and attention to minor detail are my thing. It is in these instances that the eraser really does wonders for me, because my line strokes are very light and simple to erase. But let’s take this off the paper for a moment. I say things. I say a lot of things. And the things I say don’t ever really necessarily have a filter. Kiss of death. If I had an eraser for my really big mistakes, like eternally inserting my foot in my mouth or rolling my eyes at my mother, then my life would go more smoothly—and I would have spared my parents a ton of lecturing.
Standardized tests made sense. Two Number 2 pencils and a backup eraser. Always. But that paper was impossible to erase anything off of, and you had to make your pencil marks dark for your answers to count anyway. For people like me, who enjoy the esthetics of a pen, pushing down hard on the paper was a given. So my pencil marks looked like pen marks and were almost as permanent in any case. I didn’t appreciate the eraser, because it didn’t do much good. My problem was just that I wasn’t appreciating the pencil as a pencil, which made the eraser difficult to handle. What I hated more than anything were the erasers that were for show. Sure, you won a fancy pencil as a prize for reading so many books over the summer. Or that new Ramona pencil looked super awesome at the Scholastic Book Fair. But, lo and behold, the eraser doesn’t work at all. It actually just seems like a plastic ball at the end of the pencil, there to prove it’s an actual pencil and more just for show than anything else. That is something I will never forgive Scholastic for. And don’t even get me started on pens with erasers.
Pens can be fun. Computers can automatically erase everything with no trace that there was anything before (also a kiss of death). But pick up a pencil every once in a while. And read through old notebooks and journals. See if you can decode the things you erased and replaced on your paper. It could be a fun activity—or a crushing reality check. In any case, I sure do appreciate erasers.
P.S. If one of you could find out where to get those super awesome, gummy erasers we used in art class and send them my way, I will be eternally grateful. And write your biography. And star in the motion picture directed and produced by me.
SO Note: What do you find underappreciated? Let us know @Serial_Optimist or send them to email@example.com.
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