Category Archives: simplicity

Number 2 Pencils


Unheralded simplicity. Unsurpassed utility. These are a few things that I love to think about — things that are simple, inexpensive and revolutionary. I’m easy to please, and love to consider the impact of seemingly mundane items on human life. Like the ubiquitous wheel, certain things are now taken for granted, and yet, I couldn’t imagine our world without them. Here are a few:

  • Pencils. Think about what they actually consist of and how elegant the design is, and all for about 20 cents. I prefer them to pens because they don’t explode in the bottom of any and every bag, and you can erase your mistakes. Could you make one if you needed to?
  • Stamps. You can stick a stamp on a letter and send it off to California — and just a few days later, as if by magic, it arrives. I know email is instant and technologically impressive, but the humble stamp impresses me. I also like the fact that you can send a letter across the country for the same cost as a bill across town.
  • Newspapers. Again, I know the internet has killed the newspaper, but think about all of the information and news and entertainment you can buy (and carry around with you!) for about 35 cents. No power cord, no wi-fi, no hassles.
  • Google. Ok, in a nod to the 21st century – I had to add this. I love Google. It’s free, easy and somewhat reliable. But more than that – it is instant information gratification. I used to read encyclopedias for fun as a child (that’s a separate blog entry), so Google appeals to my need-to-know mentality and my love of learning.