The currency of junior high.

I remember the first day of school and everyone with their brand new school supplies--Trapper Keepers, spiral-bound notebooks, pencil cases, and the omnipresent notebook paper. As this was junior high, many had wide-ruled paper; but an elite few had the esoteric college-ruled paper, for which only some had the eye-hand coordination necessary to fit their clumsy block characters--or worse, their drunk, loopy cursive--within the narrower lines.

Some students would have 500 sheet stacks of the stuff, wrapped in plastic. The tactile sensation of peeling the wrapper off the paper was transcendental, and the muted smell of wood pulp and ink is still a trigger to memories of a lost childhood.

Those who had to make do with last year's notebook remnants or cardstock folders or scrap paper were surely the pariahs of the homeroom.

A few brave souls would actually eat notebook paper. Eating notebook paper requires patience--to let the paper break down in your mouth, a few minutes of chewing breaking it down into liquid pulp and then the vaguely creamy, fibrous sensation as you swallow, and the faint aftertaste of wood. One cannot likely derive nourishment this way--the cellulose will not break down in the human stomach to the starches and sugars that we can metabolize, so it is not recommended you eat a lot of it. You could, theoretically, starve to death eating notebook paper.

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