Imparting Wisdom

Today Cornell’s dorms open to the freshmen, which means that stores are crawling with parents and their soon-to-be college kids getting all those things that they held off on buying until they actually saw the room they’ll be in. It’s worse than before. Being me, I was silly enough to go out today to pick up a couple of the things that we need that I can currently afford–namely a dishrack and some filing tabs. While searching through the office supplies at Wal-Mart (don’t ask), I saw a girl with her family picking up various desk supplies, including a stapler. “I recommend getting a little stapler and keeping it in your backpack,” I told her suddenly. “Because you’ll inevitably be about to turn your homework in and will discover that you’ve forgotten to staple it.” I didn’t mention the likelihood that she might not finish her homework until after she’d left her dorm and stapler behind. I mean, her mother was standing right there.

She turned and brightened. “Thanks! That’s a really good idea! Are you a student at Cornell? What are you studying?”

“I’m starting graduate school there,” I told her. “I study aerospace engineering.” Bug-eyed look. “How about you?”

“Nutritional science. But I’m a freshman obviously.”

I smiled. “It’s okay. I remember the Wal-Mart run when I first started college.”

“Yeah,” she said. “You get to your room and start to unpack and realize that you need more hangers.” She turned back to the shelves. “Would you recommend an automatic pencil sharpener?”

“Actually, as an engineer, I prefer mechnical pencils. And,” I reached for a Mars plastic eraser, “I recommend these erasers. They don’t leave smudges.”

“Thank you!” she said as she snapped up a 3-pack.

I smiled again. “Have fun in college. You’ll love it.”

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