Friday, February 4, 2011


I’m one of those people who are obsessed with everything best. I have to have the best pizza slice, the best Schnauzer, the best paper shredder.

It took me weeks to research my paper shredder, I finally went with the one designed by the world-renowned architect Michael Graves. He was designing stuff for Target, and it was getting a consistent 5 stars on their site, it was great looking, I went to Target to check it out in person and made her mine. That was probably 8 years ago.

It did the job well, and looked good doing it. No need to tuck in away in a closet. I’d had my identity stolen once, and took to shredding everything paper item short of unbranded tampon wrappers.

The last time I used her was after a major paper purge in my apartment. I was testing the Michael Graves Paper Shredder, pushing her to its limits. Getting rid of months of bank and Amex statements, back before the days we all went paperless. I’d do 5 pages, then 7, then 10. It worked like a champ. The device showed no signs of slowing down, I unplugged my piece of office sculpture and continued to pile paper aside to be shredded on my bi-annual shred fests.

Yesterday, in a rare burst of energy, I decided to shred every piece of paper in the apartment. I spent the morning separating papers that needed to be filed, and what needed to be shredded, made myself another cup of coffee, cracked my knuckles and prepared myself to shred.

I plugged Michael Graves in, but nothing. Not a peep out of my high design office helper. I fiddled with all the buttons, plugged her in/plugged her out a couple of times. Nada. Not exactly a hero’s death, Michael Graves was chewing through my statements with ease the last time I used her, then suddenly, she was all dried up? Had she died in her sleep?

I immediately went on Target dot com, there was no Michael Graves paper shredder in site. They only had the sad, lackluster black rectangular trashcans with uninspired shredders atop of them. This wouldn’t do. Few things depress me more than uninspired office supplies. The red Trimline stapler had been sold out for months after being immortalized in the movie, “Office Space” – clearly, I wasn’t the only one with a passion for high design tools for mundane tasks.

I couldn’t quite bring myself to take Michael Graves down to the basement to be put out with the plebeian trash. Should I salvage the curved black pail below the sleek, silver shredding device? I could re-purpose it for a dog food bin, or a midpoint rest station for paper between clutter and shredder, once she was replaced. But ugg, the replacement options weren’t viable. I walked over to breathe in her beauty one last time before I brought her down to the basement where she would meet her ultimate fate and be put out on the icy sidewalk next to the likes of ugly wired shelving, and broken particle board slabs awaiting their final resting place in Jersey, Staten Island, or the like.

“I can't,” I told myself, “I won't give up on her just yet!” Like a loved one on a ventilator, I couldn't pull the plug - so I plugged Michael Graves in one more time - my prayers still went unanswered. I picked up the shredder unit from his black plastic can, and gave it a little shake. I flicked all of the buttons every which way. I ran my fingers along the teeth inside the paper slot. Plugged her in, still a flatline. Yet, in a final desperate attempt, I gave her a violent SHAKE-SHAKE-SHAKE. I knocked her sleek silver exterior with my knuckles, sat down, and banged the device against the edge of my coffee table. I plugged her in again and a miracle occurred. There, in the center of her curved silver faceplate, the tiny green light shone bright. Like a tiny emerald gleaming out of the darkness of the defunct shredder - I reached for an old Merrill Lynch statement and fed it through her hungry lips. And voila! The monstrous sound of grinding was a concierto to my ears. I hadn’t given up on her, I hadn’t placed my order for her ugly step sister shredders, hadn’t banished her to the basement. All she needed was a swift banging, and Michael Graves was back in business, as beautiful and gifted as ever.


  1. Heheh, that's pretty funny! Something must have jammed the insides of your paper shredder. A good bang could have shaken it loose, thus returning the machine back to its paper shredding glory.

  2. hahaaa.. makes sense, and what works for the office candy machine and a neglected girlfriend - a good banging' takes the day!! Thanks for reading', and commentin'. :)

  3. Haha, isn’t that always the fail-safe solution to anything jamming – knock it on the head a few times? Glad to know it started working again. It’s very important that we’re able to destroy papers that we no longer need but contain data pertinent to our identity. We don’t want the right documents falling into the wrong hands, after all!

  4. Yeah! Give it a good thwap, she purrs like a well-loved cat. And shredding is a must, indeed. Someone, somehow got their hands on one of my credit cards, even though I'm very careful. Had themselves a little spree at the Apple Store. At least it's stolen money well spent. ;) Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Ruby!!

  5. Wow! I appreciate this tale of paper shredder, I can't imagined that there's a tale behind of this machine. Thanks for letting me know.