Friday, October 3, 2014

Week 18 - The Contest: Swingline Stapler

For Week 18 of The Contest, I admit to one of the few crimes I have ever committed in life.

Please don't think less of me.

Dear Swingline Stapler,

Normally, I do not steal things. In fact, I am the type of person who will march right back into the grocery store to pay for the case of bottled water when the cashier fails to notice it under the cart. I feel guilty when I think of doing something wrong. I blame my Catholic upbringing and an extra strand of culpability in the old double helix.

Sadly, I wound up ruining my 100% honesty rating courtesy of your bright red Swingline stapler. It all started with a history of wretched staplers during the late 1990s. I would break and jam just about every one that came across my desk. As I furtively tried to combine 100 pages of insurance jargon and gobbledy-gook, profane and foul language sprang from my mouth as though I was speaking in tongues. I needed to end the madness.

And go to confession.

In 2002, I was embarking on a new job for a start-up insurance company when the office manager tossed an Office Max catalogue on the desk. She advised me to select whatever supplies I needed to do my job. As I leafed through thousands of pages of offerings, I worried no product out there could withstand my frustrated blows while I joined stacks of collated press releases and financial statements together.

And then I saw it.

The red Swingline stapler.

Just like Milton’s from Office Space.

It was movie-star sexy. I giddily placed my order and let me tell you…waiting for that stapler to appear was like counting down the days until Christmas morning. When it finally arrived, I picked up a monster stack of collated materials and shoved it between the grips of Big Red.

Big Red delivered.

My love was unholy.

More confession.

Over the next five years, Big Red never failed. So when it came time for me to move on from that job, I knew I could not leave this treasured and loyal companion behind for some random office worker to abuse or discard. Big Red was coming with me.

In my purse.


And I didn’t feel guilty. The hardest part about my life as a now-criminal is full disclosure. Every time I have to fill out an employment application, “Have you ever stolen anything from your workplace?” I have to fess up. But I don’t regret it for one second. Thank you for injecting a little “bad girl” into this old double helix,


Marianne Walsh


So did Swingline respond?

They totally did.

They sent a small magnetic message board (they must be aware of my memory issues) and some other goodies, but damned if I can remember where I put them.  I hope Andrea (the competition) takes my word for it.

Anyway, this brings my current total to 53.  The march to letter supremacy continues next week!


  1. I covet that red shtapler.

    I'm breaking into your house tonight and shtealing it.


  2. I was hoping that a new red stapler showed up. Maybe it did and you just can't remember? Check that message board. You might have left yourself a clue.

  3. Hmmmmm....maybe i should look around here to see if there is some SWAG that I just conveniently forgot I received....or maybe I forgot about something I actually didn't receive, but think that I many possibilities and I am supposed to trust a thief?

  4. Hilarious. I have stolen post-it notes from every job I've ever had. I have quite the collection. Now you know: I, too, am a thief.