An eraser pen. While that might seem like an odd item to be the second favourite item that I have, let me explain. For my research, I spend a lot of time reading books borrowed from my university's academic library. These books are filled with underlinings, comments and general annoying writing that irritates me so much that I can't focus on what is in the actual book. Who are the people who write in these books and why do they do it? The point of underlining stuff is identifying important bits of the text, usually so that when you look over the text again you can easily see what you found interesting, relevant, insightful, whatever. But these are library books, so chances are that the underliner won't be looking at these pages again. What's more, different readers are looking for different things. I might be looking for references to masculinity while my friend is studying ideology and her friend is into semiotics. What's relevant is different for each of us, so we would be highlighting different sections. Is it arrogance - do they think they are helping future students by identifying the parts of the text they thought were important? Because, if that is the case, then the genius who made the below comment in a chapter called 'Masculine or Homosexual' is doing no-one any favours:
Yup, pretty darn insightful. A chapter that explores the relationship between masculinity and homosexuality does contain sentences that reference homosexuals. Who'd have thunk it?
I think there are two different types of people in the world - those who think it's fine to deface books by writing or highlighting in them or dog-earing the pages (Why? Get a bookmark! Use a bit of paper!) and those who believe books are sacrosanct and should be respected. (On a side note, when I was 13 I had a massive fight with a girl from my high school that involved both tears and foot-stamping when she dog-eared pages in the copy of The Power of One I loaned her. To put it in context, if she had cut off the ears of a small furry puppy and mailed them to me I could not have been more shocked at her actions. It was the best book in the world! And there was a movie version that starred Stephen Dorff!* And I loved Stephen Dorff and was going to marry him after I finished high school and became a wealthy writer and then he and I would campaign in South Africa to overturn apartheid! Me and Stephen Dorff! Together Forever! FOREVER! If the Internet had been around then I would have de-friended her, blocked her on Twitter and left a nasty comment on her Facebook page, I was that outraged. ME AND STEPHEN DORFF WILL NEVER GET MARRIED NOW BECAUSE YOU DOG-EARED MY BOOK AND I WILL NEVER EVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN AND YOU CAN'T EVER USE MY PINK HIGHLIGHTER OR MY ALADDIN* PENCIL EVER AGAIN! EVER! Between the hormones, the bitchiness and the insanity you could not pay me any amount of money to be a teenage girl again. Ever.)
Where was I? Oh yes, the writing in these books clearly causes me to become rage-y and insane and what some may consider slightly unbalanced (I consider it eccentric and part of my unique charm. YMMV.). The eraser pen allows me to quickly and easily remove any offending pencil marks from the books before I read them, saving me hours of angst and every real-life friend I have hours of
boredom listening to my passionate denunciations of the type of people who write in books. This pencil eraser has made me a better person and a better friend (and a little bit less crazy. Every little bit counts.).
That, readers, is why I love my eraser pen and why it is currently my No.2 favourite thing. Next week, No.3, a sock and a shawl and pictures of a chicken carcass. Until then, have a good weekend :)
* Remember Aladdin? Wasn't it awesome? I'm a feminist and I know it's wrong but I love me a good Disney princess. Add a couple of catchy tunes and my principles fly straight out the window. What's an underlying anti-feminist conservative ideological conspiracy compared to singing A Whole New World at the top of your lungs? Patriarchy wins every time.**** What is it they say - hell has all the good music.
** Whatever happened to Stephen Dorff***? I bet he's fat now and has a receding hairline. It's good that Nelson Mandela was able to sort out that whole apartheid situation since Stephen Dorff and I didn't work out.
*** IMDB tells me he has actually been acting pretty consistently over the last two decades and starred in Sofia Copolla's latest film. He's not fat but does have a receding hairline and is kind of weird looking. I certainly dodged a bullet there. I love the Internet.