The Smead(r) A – Z Alphabetic Guide Set 6″ x 4″

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Good Evening:

Today, I found the above item in a bin full of old stationery supplies that my department is dumping/donating in preparation for our move to a new office building. I’m rather curious; how many of you know what the Smead(r) A – Z Alphabetic Guide Set 6″ x 4″ might be?

It’s a set of plastic-coated cards with tabs (one for A, one for B, et cetera) that people used to stick into their index card files to organize their index cards–and that’s three references to obsolete office technology in one sentence. Nowadays, we keep that sort of information in our digital address books, databases, spreadsheets, et alia. I hadn’t seen a Smead(r) A – Z Alphabetic Guide Set 6″ x 4″ in over a decade until today.

How our lives changed without our noticing the changes until years after the changes have already occurred. About 12 years ago, I temped at St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission for a few weeks. One of my co-workers was a recently hired man in his early 20’s from Colombia who had a gift & passion for men’s fashion. Managers and vice-presidents would walk into the office, look at him, look at themselves, and shake their heads in despair. Of course, he needed a tour of the premises when he started his job, so the office manager, a white-haired woman who looked she used to play rugby, showed him around the place.

He stopped and stared at one object in the most distant and little-used corner of the office. He tilted his head to the left once, then to the right once.

“Is that a typewriter?”

The office manager said, “Yes.”

He tilted his head to the left once, then to the right once, then to the left once more, then to the right once more.

“How do you operate it?”

Feeling Just a Little Bit Older, I Remain,

Yours Truly,

Vonn Scott Bair

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2 responses »

  1. I knew Smead® was/is a paper-oriented office supply company, but i might not have known the item from its name. I would have recognized it immediately, visually.

    Aside: the RSS feed setting change is working out spectacularly. I am able to partake of full “Scene—Seen!” entries with greater ease and efficiency. Thanks!

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