Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Joy of S*

The joy of S 
By O. R.

I looked up online for how many books started with the Joy of.... The Joy of Shopping...The Joy of Swimming...The Joy of Sex...
This post is all about - the Joy of Shredding...
There are two supermarket chains in Britain that originates in Germany, Lidls and Aldis. They are cheap, not necessarily cheerful, but offer good quality food. But they sell all sorts of weird other things as well. Mixed in with the carrots and potatoes are socket spanner sets and camping stoves. So you head for one of these shops because you have run out of milk. You come home with an art set, a mini sewing machine and an air compressor. Oh - and find you’ve forgotten the milk...
Well, this day they had these shredders. My old one had virtually died on me - two or three sheets and it went red hot, made a rude sound, and stopped. This new shredder was of industrial proportions. A bit like buying furniture online, it suddenly seemed a lot bigger in your home when out of the shop. So, pride of place in my office, to trip over and cover with papers (what is known as my flat filing system) is my industrial shredder. It can shred anything - paper, card, old credit cards, fingers...
But why - I hear you cry - do you need a shredder?
I am a collector. But I got to the point where I wanted my collection to survive should I meet with a truck and the truck come off better. The family humor me, but it isn’t their scene as such. So I am selling original material on eBay. I reason that if people buy stuff on eBay there is a good chance they will treasure it - if only to flog it at a profit later on. And I don’t object to the proceeds in the here and now. But of course over the decades I have also had to make do with photocopies for many items. Before computers I was regularly waiting for heavy parcels of Xeroxed material to come from different parts of the earth - usually America - and taking six weeks to arrive.
But then computers came in and with them the joy of the portable document format. Now everything is on pdf - easily accessible and easily shared. But of course I still have shelves groaning under the weight of photocopies. As the originals diminish, I don’t want the paper copies, I don’t need them. I have destroyed half of the Amazon rain forest obtaining them. So, every so often, I have a shredding session.
It is not that easy. I have to check that I have the material in pdf, and saved in several places first. But then - joy oh joy - a man of simple pleasures - creating mountains of tiny bits of paper, that fall out of bags and stick to your shoes, and somehow get carried to different parts of the house, giving Mrs O the opportunity to display fine Christian qualities like patience and long-suffering.
They recycle here in Wales. So everything has to go out in about half a dozen special containers. There is even a farm nearby (the wife is a patient) that receives local food waste and turns it into gas that powers several thousand homes. So I pack the tiny shredded bits in the special container marked paper, cover it with a couple of newspapers and hold my breath. Sometimes all works well, and sometimes Occasional’s own brand of hamster bedding is strewn throughout the village.
The only trouble is the noise. This shredder does raise the decibels somewhat. But - I’m on a roll - sheet after sheet in quite large multiples gets put through it. On occasion I can hear rare sounds off-stage, but I ignore them - yes, yes, yes, shred, shred, shred. But Mrs O has just appeared at the door. She looks rather flushed. She looks a bit annoyed. Apparently she has been calling, then yelling, then hollering, that my meal is going cold on the table downstairs. Apparently I haven’t heard her. Apparently next time I can enjoy a cold congealed meal on my own if I prefer. Hmm. I regretfully turn to the off switch.
To adapt a phrase regularly heard at British railway stations, shredding services will be resumed as soon as possible.