Oh, dear sticky note, how I do truly love thee. Ever since the younger years of elementary school, there you were. A square piece of paper, folded into a triangle launched across the classroom through a football goal post made of fingers. A note is being passed to your first crush. “Want to get ice cream after school? Yes ︎ No ︎” It is crazy how something as simple as a piece of paper with a strip of adhesive can seem insignificant but can have a presence in every school, office, and household in America. The tiny paper that was once confiscated from us as children now covers the walls of cubicles with “To-Do’s”. How many deadlines and meetings would be forgotten without the reminders on the little yellow background?
As a college student, I can attest I would be at a loss without the sticky note. Balancing the demands of 40 hours worth of classes and homework, part-time work, and extra-curricular activities is not easy. Of course, I have a planner, but that isn’t nearly as fun as the rainbow of reminders around my room. Assignments, zoom meetings, work engagements are listed right in front of my eyes. I would simply fail all of my English classes without the colorful annotations of the Post It. Pink for questions, yellow for symbolism, green for essential quotes I never want to forget. My bookshelf full of classics, from Catcher in the Rye to The Count of Monte Cristo, is reminisced upon by the easy location of the sticky tab. There is nothing more satisfying than making a packing list for a vacation or trip home and marking every item off the list.
The sticky note isn’t all sunshine, despite the misleading pastel yellow. The bulk packaging and affordability make them easily disposed of and does not create the most environmentally friendly usage. However handy the adhesive strip may be, it is only useful for one stick. This wasteful practice not only creates more trash but also trashes the reputation of the sticky note. The American practice of preferring single-use items over reusable ones has become very common. If we could learn to greater appreciate our single-use items then maybe landfills would empty and oceans would clear.
The concept of the sticky note was invented in 1974 by Arthur Fry as a way to hold your place in a book. The “pressure-sensitive” adhesive was introduced to the world in 1968 by Spencer Fry, referred to as a “solution without a problem”. Originally branded as the “Press n’ Peel” bookmark, it is hard to imagine the world without the modern-day “Post-It”. As the world becomes more digital, many have tried to replicate the concept of the sticky note as a digital application. I’m sure we can all come to the consensus that nothing trumps the satisfaction of pencil on petite paper. I hope that this exposure à la sticky note allows you to greater appreciate the multipurpose use of the Post-It. For thy post-it note, I shall always hold you dear to my heart and stacked on my desk.