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Unattached, Free and Living In Shame

If you get stumped by something mechanical, do you give up or do you keep trying until you find a way to outdo the mechanical whatever it is? Yeah, me too.

Who could have known that I would be labeled as “challenged” when referring to what others think is such a simple device? Certainly not me.

I know most people can master the stupid little 4-pronged, brown device commonly called a staple remover. I have seen evidence of this at almost every desk I have every occupied. Those four-toothed demons sit mocking me by holding staples that have been neatly removed from papers.

One does not sit on my desk, in my drawer, or even in my office. I threw it in the trash a long time ago. The only thing I ever managed to do with it was mangle papers, and swear in inappropriate places. In my relationship with that beast, I managed to rip, tear, shred, mangle, de-corner, deface, and render useless more documents than an average attorney can prepare in his career. It didn’t matter if it was standard staple size or those mega monsters binding an untold number of papers together, I could not operate the 4-pronged monster and free the pages.

For years I suffered in shame at being bested by a staple remover. Then along came those little metal ones on the end of a plastic stick. The premise was you slide the metal portion under the staple and the staple would neatly slide out of the paper. Not so with me. I slid that stupid metal thing under a million staples of different sizes holding different numbers of papers together. Same result every time – mangled documents and shame.

I was not allowed to bear my shame in silence. Oh, no. I was forced to confess it on a daily basis like the addicted people who seek help. “Hello. My name is Wanda and I am unable to remove staples from documents.”

One day while wandering the office supply aisle in my favorite mega-super-we-want-all-your-money store, I saw it. It was pink. It was small. It was a new design. It was similar to a nail clipper. Its price was $2. It screamed ‘take me home and I will never shame you’. I did.

I grabbed some blank paper, a stapler and proceeded to put the gizmo to the test. If I could remove freshly stapled staples from test paper, I knew I would be ready to take the device to my office and let others see that I was no longer relegated to that place where those who could not remove staples go.

Whooohoooo! It worked. I had removed, all by myself, 1 freshly stapled staple, from its grip on two pieces of paper. I was drunk with power. I stapled 4 pieces of paper together and attempted a safe removal. More success. The excitement. The exhilaration. The unbridled endorphin trip. I wasn’t sure I could take anymore. How do normal people stand this? I grabbed a coke and went to rest before I spontaneously combusted from sheer delight.

I had lived carrying this burden of shame for so many years. With this new device in hand, I felt like I was going to be rescued from the dark hole of ineptitude.

I packed the pink gizmo in my bag for its trip to the office and went to sleep smiling.

The next day at the office, when the first stapled document landed on my desk, I didn’t shriek. I let it lay there until I was alone. Then I pulled the pink gizmo from my bag and proceeded to remove the single item that had been thwarting me for years. I flipped that metal harbinger of shame in to the trash can.

In a few short months I had forgotten all about the shame I had carried. I was now an official, staple-puller carrying member of the office.

Give me your documents stapled, tattered, torn, yearning to be free. Your single-sheet, multi-sheet documents. I can handle them and release them from bondage.

As with anything that comes easily, freedom that is purchased cheaply, doesn’t last. One day, while attempting to remove a staple, my staple pulling gizmo died, leaving its bits and pieces scattered on the top of my desk. I hung my head and wept at its demise.

I grabbed the old plastic thingy with the metal tip and tried once again to master the art of staple removal only to fall back in to my pattern of failure.

I have looked in vain for a suitable replacement for my beloved staple puller. I have mourned knowing they don’t make them anymore.

I am working on my problem though. On Tuesday evenings I can be found in front of a small group of new friends. “Hi. My name is Wanda.”


From the life and mind of:

Wanda M. Argersinger

© 2010 All Rights Reserved


About Wanda Argersinger


  1. Anna Dandelakis

    rofl…..all I can say is I love you!

  2. ROFL too!! Wonderful essay. You’ve got it going on, Wanda. Pretty soon you can join Marti and me as another klutz sister. tee hee.

  3. You know I loved reading this article.

  4. This is my favorite one so far. I, too, have fought with the four pronged monster. I finally figured out that if you start on the backside, then turn it over and remove the paper clip from the front side there is less “mangle-ige”. I love the ending.

  5. “Take me home and I will never shame you.” Hahahahaha! Oh Wanda, only you coulc make staple removing so freaking funny!

  6. Oh gosh,the memories! I loved my staple remover so much I wanted to keep in in my pocket.

  7. Great piece, Wanda! Like Jody, I have better luck starting from the back side where the two little ends are folded over. But I never had such fun reading about staple removal as I did just now! Thanks for the giggles!

    Love from your klutz triplet sister

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