holier than thou

hole punchers sm

This is a three-hole puncher. It’s very heavy and fairly large, taking up an excessive amount of space in my office for the little work that it does. It’s like the SUV of hole punchers. It’s even called a ‘Hummer’ as if to say, I may be made of steel but I’m full of irony. It was one of those days, one of those lunchtimes. I wanted to draw, but I am sometimes out of inspiration when drawing Davis on my lunchtimes these days. So I got the extremely filling Chicken Over Rice (Spicy) from Shah’s Halal food truck, took it back to my office, and drew this big hole puncher on an old brown envelope. It’s a beast. If you dropped it from high up enough it would certainly destroy a car, and maybe even threaten some smaller life forms with extinction. I don’t have a lot of things that I put into three-ring binders any more. I still have a few, and some that I keep on my desk and refer to because it’s easier than looking up on the screen, and I can bring those binders to meetings and show people, but that happens far far less than it used to anyway. In my old office there is still a range of ring binders, colour-coded by theme of what was inside, which seem to have been kept in there now more for the nostalgia factor. I use this hold puncher far less than I used to, but I still use it, so it stays. This was a big difference I discovered after moving to the U.S., the ring-binder system with three holes. In the U.K., we use two, fairly close together, middle of the page. That means that my handy little two-hole punch, the sort you get for a couple of quid from Smiths and is light and small so you can keep it in your backpack or your jacket pocket, is useless over here. People do have the single-hole pinchers, but honestly they can be a little crap. They never punch through that many pages at once, and if punching three holes in a page you’ll always get at least one hole just off. With this big puncher you can measure the edges better with a little sliding metal ruler that comes out, but the three holes are always the same length apart. You can really punch through a lot of pages at once as well, if you press down quickly enough, although I’m sure the mechanism has blunted a little over the years. The paper size we use in the U.S. is also different to the U.K. In America, it’s letter size, while in Britain we have the standard A4. It’s like we are completely different countries. Now I am used to the letter size, if I find old papers from England in the stuff I brought over years ago, documents and certificates and such, the length of them is a little jarring, and they are that bit narrower. I do like the letter size, it kind of feels a bit nicer, like an old TV screen. I see the benefit of the three-hole system though, because after a while papers in British folders tend to get pulled down a little at those top and bottom inside corners; not so much with my American binders. This has been here a while; it still has the name of a former employee, Prather, who I think left us at least a couple of decades ago, before even I joined the department. It’s probably been in the department a lot longer than that. This is starting to feel a bit like an episode of Time Team, like I have dug this out of the shores of the Thames or something. This thing could probably last the centuries too. In the 41st Century, someone may come across this and wonder about this ancient civilization where we needed to press little holes into things, perhaps in that ancient substance they called ‘paper’, or maybe in their skin, or as a way to identify animals, and there would be this major debate as to why the large devices they have found on the big western continent are designed to make three holes while the smaller devices on the eastern landmass only make two, and they would become known as the ‘three hole civilization’ and the ‘two-hole culture’. And of course there would be people that say no, people back in those days could not possibly have had the technology to create such a device and made their holes using sticks fashioned out of fish spines, and that these devices can only have been made by aliens. And people would believe it of course, because people in the 41st century are not that different from people in the 21st or the 1st, and they would still believe in aliens, and they still definitely would not have ever met one. Or maybe, and I’m wrapping this up now I promise you, maybe they would think this had some religious purpose. And someone would realize that ‘hole puncher’ sounds a bit like ‘holy puncher’ and, wow. It was a device to make things ‘holey’. There you have it. The Holy Hole Puncher.

4 thoughts on “holier than thou

    • pete scully says:

      Yeah, it doesn’t get as much use out of now, and even to draw, it was only because I was bored and wanted to draw something. It’s almost more of a storytelling prompt than anything else these days…

  1. Laura (PA Pict) says:

    That does look like a total beast of a hole punch so your drawing really communicates its heft. It took me a while to get used to the proportions of the paper here but I was on board with the three hole punches immediately. They keep things in place so much better than the two hole version. You do make a good point about the portability of the UK two hole version though.

    • pete scully says:

      Yes, this one is very old-school, it may be older than me. I push so much paper in my job, would be very discombobulated if I went back and used A4 now (I probably also wouldn’t have used the word ‘discombobulated’ before moving here either, another useful word)

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