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Friday, September 24, 2010

historical musing

So here we are.
Back in ancient times, people used to jot down ideas not on electronic computerized tablets, but rather on pulverized and processed wood pulp, or, as it was once more commonly called, paper. These written musings were known as analog texts, or “notes,” and can still be found today through careful excavation of late 20th century filing cabinets and shoe boxes dating all the way back to 1996. 
With the aid of a writing implement such as a pen, pencil, marker, or other such stylus containing transferable inks, dyes, or clays that would cling to the paper, a person could create a portable, albeit rudimentary means of communication. These “notes” served many purposes. They could remind one of an appointment, or groceries required. They could serve as a remembering tool for profound thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be forgotten.
But perhaps the most interesting use of the note was as a method of communication. An interesting notion, as sometimes notes were personally handed to their intended recipients by their respective authors. One would think that if two people already had such interaction that there could not be anything in a note that could not be said in person. However, a note could perhaps convey more thoughts than could be spoken in the time allotted for the note exchange.
A common example of this was the juvenile school note. These were most often passed silently as a class was underway or between classes in a crowded and noisy hallway in very swift and furtive deliveries. Thus, a note was a most effective communique for the volume of vital news that needed to be delivered, such as what the author had for lunch or how the author did on that Spanish test. 
Such a note could be written on a variety of papers, but the majority were on lined notebook paper, either regular or college ruled, with or without holes, and sometimes fringed with little shreds that resulted from tearing the page out of a spiral bound notebook. No matter what sort of paper was used, all such juvenile notes were folded in manners ranging from simple to near-origami in nature. The manner of folding revealed less about the note’s content than it did about the note’s author; more intricate folds might indicate that a particular author had study hall in the morning that allowed him or her the time to spend on packaging the message. Or, if an author was popular, he or she seemed to be automatically imbued with the ability to create the coolest foldings that came as naturally as cheering or being beautiful.
Some notes were composed throughout the day, containing several unconnected thoughts that would occur from class to class. These longer notes, more blog-like than text-esque, often featured the two-word sentence: “New pen.” As an author might begin a missive in, say, a blue pen and then lose it, or lend it, or have it dry up before said missive was complete, he or she might have to continue with a black pen or a red pen. One would think that seeing a new ink color would be explanation enough, but perhaps a reader might think that someone else had stolen the note and was picking up where the original author left off. Or that the author had a magic pen or was a witch. Thus the need for “New pen.” Of course, today, this phrase has all but died.
New font.
While the art of the note has fallen into oblivion, it is important that future generations learn about this ancient art form in case there is a blackout or server crash or catastrophic virus, or when all the phone companies eventually merge again into Ma Bell’s evil twin, Aunt T&T.
Gotta go now. See you later.
Luv, Stephanie
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