One day a student declared, "Miss, you dress like you're rich." I looked down at my garage sale/clearance rack ensemble and thought that surely he must be joking. I was fairly confident that although my outfit didn't look as cheap as it really was, and was appropriately professional, it certainly was not as opulent as he was claiming. The only item I paid more than a couple dollars for was my shoes, but they were embarrassingly old and definitely showing signs of wear. And because I am a better teacher when my feet don’t hurt they were painfully practical shoes: certainly nothing trendy or showy or in any way “rich.” Upon further discussion I realized that my necklace - a clearance sale chain with plastic beads covered in peeling silver paint- was apparently the tell-tale sign of affluence in my wardrobe.
While I do not in any way even pretend to understand this student’s thought process, I have decided that the RedHead household is in fact quite wealthy. I have three main reasons for thinking this. None of them is the silver necklace (which I still love and wear frequently despite the flaking paint).
1. We have three staplers. One is probably more than sufficient. I don’t really know how frequently we ever actually staple anything. I’m convinced that all our stapling needs could be adequately handled by borrowing the stapler at the library. Especially since we live in a college town and have access to both the university and the public library. Nevertheless, we own three staplers. One is a really awesome lime green color and can staple through up to thirty sheets of paper at a time. Another is a neat clear plastic device that doesn’t actually use staples, but is used for the same purpose, and so is still accurately categorized as a stapler. The third is a normal stapler- the only remarkable feature being the fact that it is orange. That is one stapler per person in our house. And one of those people doesn’t even know that he has hands yet. Surely he doesn’t need a stapler all to himself.
2. I buy two-ply toilet paper. I am absolutely inflexible in my tissue preferences. I categorically refuse to buy one ply. Sometimes I can justify buying a more expensive product because its higher quality means it will last longer, and therefore, in the long run, ends up being the more frugal option. However, bath tissue becomes trash the instant it is used. So the whole it-will-last-longer theory doesn’t rationalize the higher expense. I continue to buy two ply anyway. I am fully aware that it is a luxury, and I am certain that I can’t live without it.
3. I have two complete sets of 24 colored pencils. And they are Crayola colored pencils. I am not an artist. I thoroughly enjoy coloring, but I don’t really know the difference between sky blue and periwinkle. I have both colors. And I have a backup of each just in case my periwinkle coloring needs exceed the length of an entire pencil and sky blue will simply not suffice.