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02/25/2003 Entry: "You Tear Me To Bits."

My shredder is dying a slow death. Mostly it works and cross-cuts my credit card applications and convenience checks, but with increasing frequency, I find long pieces of paper which haven't been cut wrapped around its teeth like spinach. It frequently sticks when I use the reverse setting. I also find myself spending an inordinate amount of time with tweezers and pinking shears trying to pluck stubborn clots of shredded paper—up to a dozen sheets thick—out from between its teeth. That's probably less its fault as it is mine for my OCD habits. It's actually quite relaxing to sit there, slightly entranced, picking at it; Thirty minutes later I'll come to with a fine white papery powder on my hands, clothes and floor but a strange peacefulness in my chest.

You can only imagine what wells of patience I must draw from if I have a scab or pimple.

I've tried gawking at the inside of fixing the thing, but only three of the four screws that hold the case on the shredding mechanism will loosen. This is extra maddening precisely because of the obsessive need to clean the little pieces of paper out of it. If only I could get in there, I'd get those nasty little things! (In my teen years, my father had a similar obsession for a few months with the fibers from a new carpet, so I guess I come by that naturally.)

You'd think that by now I'd have a much more digital world than this, but I'm still somehow drowning in paper. How can someone live today without their personal shredder? It'd be like living without soap, or without door locks. I suppose I ought to just get a new one, particularly with it being tax season, but...I'm a little sentimental about this one. See, this shredder was...well...a valentine's day present from four years ago. Yes, Valentine's day. What a romantic message, huh? "My love for you is secure; please don't leave my heart in shreds." But it's also the only present I ever had that, when plugged in, unwrapped itself. I can't tell you when I'd ever laughed so hard. It's such a fond memory that I hate to have to, er...dispose of the evidence.

Well, it's got a little life in it yet. We'll have to see what happens after I shred 1997.

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