5

A Shred of Truth (Part 3)

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted to do some shredding. I had time on my hands because I had an appointment with someone who was scheduled to arrive between 9am and 1pm. Plenty of time to deal with the dreaded shredding pile.

I plugged in my shredder and added paper. Instead of going forward, it moved in reverse. Instead of the whole jaw being open, only the left part accepted paper. It was like it had a toothache. Soon after, its top grew warm. I cannot even tell you what it was like to want to shred and not be able to.

I called the office supply place to ask if they had the amazing shredder I had bought many years ago. The person said it was out of stock. He said I could order it over the phone. I wasn’t ready. When I called back, the next person said I couldn’t order over the phone. She said I could order online, call the 1-800 number, or order it in the store. I was ready to tear out my hair.

Speaking of which, I had tied it back so it wouldn’t get swallowed by the shredder. I put my hair in a tie that had lost its elasticity, so I wrapped it around and around my pony tail. Later, when I checked, it had gotten loose in my hair. I decided to switch it for one that still had elasticity. When I reached back for it, it was stuck to my hair. I had to cut it off, along with my hair.

Next I drew with color pencils. The points got worn down, so I sharpened them. At least, I thought, my sharpener was working. Except, just then, my green pencil got trapped inside.

By then it was 1pm and there was no sign of my visitor. I called his company and even though my appointment time was between 9am and 1pm, even though yesterday’s confirmation call was for 9am and 1pm, he had not gotten the memo.

However, I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to get my shredder. If I ordered before 2, one customer sales rep had said, I could pick up my shredder by noon tomorrow. I went to the store. I was about to order it, when the salesperson suggested to his co-worker that he search in the backroom for the shredder I wanted. The co-worker looked like he would rather do anything else.

“Please,” I begged.

Next thing I knew, my shredder was walking toward me.

I couldn’t wait to get it home. I gave it so much paper. It didn’t complain once. It kept moving forward. It kept its cool.

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5

A Shred of Truth

I attempted to shred something yesterday, but my shredder’s buttons wouldn’t light up. This was the umpteenth time it hadn’t worked. I assumed it had died.

I called the store where I had bought it to find out whether it still carried this particular model and the man said only online. I called another store and it, too, only carried shredders online. I called other stores and found I could bring my old shredder to a place in the neighborhood for free e-waste recycling.

I gave my shredder a deep look and said, “Thank you for everything, especially for all the confetti on New Year’s Eve.” We shared a moment of silence.

I started walking. My shredder turned out to be heavier than I expected. Five years ago, when I purchased it, I had carried it in its box from the store to the bus stop across the street, on the bus, and from the bus stop to my house. I didn’t remember it being heavy, only bulky in a box. When I picked it up, I figured I’d have an easier time, since it wasn’t in a box. I was wrong. It was heavy.

Because of the unexpected weight and temperature in the seventies, I grew overheated in my thick maroon fleece. When I reached the corner, I put down the shredder, took off my fleece, put it in my knapsack, picked up the shredder, and continued. After I picked it up, I realized I was holding it differently. I noticed this because my fingers found a switch at the back, which was more like the top the way I was holding it. Without thinking about it, my fingers moved the switch back and forth, back and forth, until a switch went off in my brain. I thought, hmm.. I wonder if this is the on/off switch.

By this time I was more than half way to the store, so I decided to keep going. When I arrived, I asked the receptionist whether there was an outlet I could use. She pointed one out. I plugged in my shredder, pressed the On button and voila! it worked again.

On the return trip, it seemed much lighter. Once home, I plugged it in. The motor was loud and strong. I offered it some paper as a snack. It gobbled it up like it was starving.