Warning: Graphic Content


I have a confession to make.

I am a graph paper junkie.  All of my adult life I have had a bizarre attraction to it and a fascination with it.  I get unnaturally excited when I see it in stores.  I often will buy it even though I have a drawer full of it in my home office.  I don’t care much for loose-leaf graph paper, but if I see a tablet or notebook or journal or any type of bound graph paper, it takes every bit of willpower that I have to not buy it.  And, frankly, I don’t have that much willpower.  Thus, the drawer full of graph paper.

You may be wondering how much graph paper I use on a weekly basis.  Well, on an average basis, I use approximately zero pages a week (give or take).

Then why this unhealthy obsession with graph paper, you may ask.  I’m not sure.

I remember using it in college when I was studying electrical engineering, but even then I don’t think it had a particular hold on me.

The only explanation I can come up with is that when I graduated from college and got my first engineering job, one of the grizzled old engineers who was my mentor showed me a magic trick.  He gave me a blue-lined pad of B-sized (11″ x 17″) graph paper and a mechanical pencil with blue lead in it.  Blue lead!  I was absolutely blown away.  Since I was a poor boy from Mississippi, he might as well have handed a monkey a pocket watch.  I turned it over and over in my hand, fascinated, but somewhat clueless.  He had me draw out a simple schematic with the blue pencil.  Then he had me go over some of the circuit with black pencil, tracing over some of the blue lines I’d just drawn, but leaving some of the blue lines intact.

We then went into the copier room and he ran the page I’d just drawn on through the copier.  When the copy came out I was blown away to see that it had copied only the black lines.  The blue grid of the graph paper did not show up, nor did any of the blue lines I’d drawn.  Only the things I’d drawn in black were on the copy.  This was the greatest magic trick I’d ever seen!

After that, I designed my circuits exclusively on blue-lined graph paper with a blue-leaded pencil.  Then I’d trace over the bits I wanted to keep with a black pencil.

Ever since then, I have had my addiction to graph paper.   With the advent of computer aided design, I have virtually no use for graph paper any more.  I rarely make photocopies of any kind.  Whatever I do, I do in the computer.  But my addiction to graph paper remains.

Do any of you have any unusual addictions like this that you can’t explain or help?

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