As the school year comes to a close, many of you are starting to make your summer plans. Some of you will get jobs or internships, some of you will go on vacation, some of you aren’t planning on ever leaving the beach and some of you will be taking summer school. A few of you, however, will use this summer to enrich your lives by starting a new hobby. To you, I suggest my own favorite hobby, the collection and adoration of the most indelible of markers: the Sharpie. Now you may be asking yourself, “Do I really want to collect Sharpies? Am I cool enough to do it?” But never fear friends, never fear. Yes, you do want to collect Sharpies (who wouldn’t???) and no, you are not cool on your own, but with the Sharpies, you’ll be on the non-stop train to a little place I call awesome.
Step one: Know your stuff
You may be thinking that it’s easy to collect Sharpies, but you’re wrong. Sharpie collecting requires a level of knowledge not dissimilar to what is required of astrophysicists. (Being that I’ve never studied astrophysics, or physics, I don’t actually know, but I assume it’s in the ballpark.) The Sharpie empire is vast and includes 49 colors, 27 families and 18 tip varieties. You can get retractable Sharpies, double tip Sharpies, mini Sharpies, paint Sharpies (both poster and general use), wood filler Sharpies, metallic Sharpies, highlighter Sharpies, professional Sharpies, industrial Sharpies, CD/DVD Sharpies and laundry-marking Sharpies. I bet you feel silly for thinking it was going to be easy. For even more information, you can also watch a video on how the magnificent marker is made at www.Sharpie.com (No, I didn’t make that up, and yes, you’re the silly one.)
Step two: Pick favorites
With all those Sharpies to choose from, it can seem overwhelming. (Believe me, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time curled up in the fetal position in the aisles of Office Depot, sobbing, just trying to decide which bold pack to buy.) But if you pick a favorite, be it regular double tip, paint, chisel tip, mini or retractable, the job seems much less daunting. Then once you have acquired all of that particular line, you can move on to a related line without much trauma. Perhaps focus on just one color -— your favorite — rather than just one tip and go from there. Find what works best for you, that’s what Sharpie collecting is all about.
Step three: Make room
Even with the Sharpie collection narrowed down, you’re going to need to clear out a special and prominent place in your home for the new collection. There are a variety of ways you can go about doing this – some like to display the Sharpies as they would any collectible, Hummel or otherwise. Others like to do a seasonal Sharpie arrangement, while others put their Sharpies out on a tip-related weekly rotation. Some people are closet Sharpie fanatics, and they keep their Sharpies locked away in a cold desk drawer somewhere. Those people are sad. Whatever you choose, just know that how you display your Sharpies says a lot about you. (I keep mine in a flowerpot on my desk. I call it my garden of Sharpies. Just don’t smell them, particularly the metallics.)
Step four: Network
Sharpie is always coming up with new and exciting additions to their Sharpie line, so in order to be a true Sharpie collector and connoisseur, you need to network. Make friends with fellow Sharpie lovers, so you have someone to talk to about how glorious the new line is, or how much you like the new colors. Talking about collecting Sharpies is almost as thrilling as collecting the Sharpies themselves. It’s also good to have someone on the lookout for the Sharpies you’re missing, so that when they go to the art store and find the pink (pastel, not magenta) super double tip for sale on its own, (which is exactly what you were looking for to replace the one you supposedly lost somewhere in your car, but still secretly think someone stole because it was breathtaking) they can give you the heads-up. That’s what Sharpie friends are for.
Step five: Personalize and show your love
Finally, once you’ve collected all the Sharpies you can, (which is totally doable, I know from experience) you have to diversify and continue your obsession. There are T-shirts, hats, polos, jackets, turtlenecks, vests, key chains, cozies, visors, fleeces and computer bags, all sporting that classic “Sharpie” logo. You can also purchase personalized Sharpie pens, so that no one will be able to gank any of your goods. Let everyone know how much you love your Sharpie, stand tall, be proud, say “I am Sharpie collector.” Let them throw stones, we’ll just permanently mark them and file them accordingly.