The Best of Andy Rooney

This morning, I was trying to think of something to write about and I started looking at all the tools I have on top of my desk or in the drawers. Since all I do for a living is write, how in the world did I get tied up with so many tools?

My ancient Underwood No. 5 typewriter sits on a shelf across the room, much loved but unused. It was a great tool and I wrote thousands of television scripts and six books on it but I haven't hit a key on it in years. It's been replaced by my computer, which is as much an advance over the typewriter as the typewriter was over pen and pencil. Using the computer still makes me feel disloyal, though.

Some tools take up more room than they're worth. The stapler is always there, but I haven't stapled two pieces of paper together in more than a year. Maybe three years. It would serve them right if I stapled the two staplers together.

There are two magnifying glasses on my desk and, although there's nothing wrong with my sight, I often use one of them. I don't know why I have two. Maybe one to find the other.

I have several different calendars on my desk. My favorite has all the days of the week listed in separate rows. I can see what I'm doing every Monday of the month.

I must have at least 10 pencils, although I never write anything in pencil anymore. Pens are better than they used to be, but pencils have stayed the same. The best part of my day in years past was sharpening pencils, but I no longer bother. The word "sharpen" even sounds funny to me now. I don't know why we started using the word "sharpen" to describe putting a point on a lead pencil. And speaking of pencils, getting the lead in a wooden stick so precisely must be some trick. I do a lot of woodworking, but I couldn't make pencils.

They always put a piece of rubber on the end of a pencil and call it an eraser. Few erasers really work, though, and they must make pencils more expensive.

I have a lot of ballpoints in my desk, but I seldom use pens today, either.

My father gave me a Parker Duo fold fountain pen when I was young, and it was the best pen of its day. Most pens no longer need to be filled because they come with built-in ink cartridges. I think most pen-and-pencil sets were used as gifts. People don't buy them much today.

I have lots of notepads on my desk, but paper seems to be going out of style, too. I don't use much now. When I finish writing my column, I don't have to print or copy it. All I do is call my assistant and she emails it to my editor. How great and environmentally friendly is that?

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