Sunday, February 05, 2006

There’s Something We Have to Show You, Mr. President

Have you seen the news clip of the president’s visit to the 3M plant in Minnesota, Thursday, February 3rd?

Poor guy. He just wanted to brag on the company by displaying one of 3M’s innovations—the Post-It Note. When he couldn’t make it stick to his podium, my heart sank. Why didn’t someone brief him on the operation of this device?

There must be an appropriate publication at 3M’s corporate headquarters for the effective operation of the Post-It note. Or could it be that its simple use is self-evident?

Certainly not! Our President?

Surely there must be a Government Printing Office publication for the device. But checking GPO’s website ( a search on Post-It, showed no matching documents. Even entering IAD for Impermanent Adhesive Device, knowing the government’s penchant for acronyms, gave no matches.

Then I even Googled the query. But “instructions for post-it notes” only referenced instructions written on Post-It notes. Now that’s a concept! Maybe the last leaf on a Post-It pad should be an always-at-ready user guide. Let me suggest some easy-to-comprehend wording for such a directive:

1. This device is designed for writing on the top side. That is the side facing up when the face of this instruction sheet—if still attached to the Post-It note pad—is placed face down.

2. After recording desired communiqué, peel off gently, being aware of the potential for self-inflected paper cuts to thumb or forefinger.

3. Choose a clean, smooth surface within view of intended readers of your memorandum.

4. Attach your Post-It note message by pressing lightly its top surface while the back is in contact with object on which it is to be mounted. (Note: The back side is that which has a tacky strip along one edge. See warning in #2 on paper-cut hazard.)

This last point is most important, Mr. President. Please study these instructions carefully before your next speech. This common, but puzzling office product need not confound your mission with further embarrassment.