Still in a panic after finding a list of 'compulsory' stationery items required for your child at school on a crumpled-up bit of paper in their schoolbag the night before they went back last week? Console yourself with this list of the 6 most useless bits of stationery from across the ages:
1. Set Square - so called apparently because it is 'set' to measure 'square' angles of 90 degrees. A mainstay of every pencil case, the set-square is the equivalent of a third-choice goalkeeper at a premier league football club. It will always be there, ready and available to warm up at a moment's notice, but will only ever used in an emergency, such as a last-minute replacement for a broken ruler.
2. Protractor - semi-circular bit of plastic used to draw angles with unnecessary precision. The only time you have ever needed to be this exact with measuring angles was when you had to get the angle of the long-jump leap on the ZX Spectrum version of Daley Thompson's Decathlon exactly at 42 degrees and that was 40 years ago.
3. Compass - can help you draw a circle really neatly as long as: a) you have a pencil that fits into the frustratingly small circular vice thing that comes with it and b) you don't mind having huge holes in your schoolbook from the ridiculously sharp pointy bit. Alternative and better uses for the compass are for impromptu darts matches in the playground, and unregulated ear piercings
4. Mechanical pencil - cost at least £5 and immediately set you apart from the riff-raff using standard Helix pencils. They look like a pen, and you have to press down to bring out a tiny bit of lead - yes, that's right, the lead that is in the Guinness Book of Records as the most thin, brittle and breakable substance on the planet. Expect a letter home indicating that the maths teacher has lost an eye and is suing you due to shrapnel damage if you send your child in to school with one of these
5. Stapler - looks good for a day, but those stationery manufacturers are crafty F@*kers, deliberately making products where you can't get any replacement staples. Do you not know that the Stapler Mountain in the Nevada Desert where all old staplers are sent now extends to 50 square miles, and you've just made it even bigger.
6. Bic 4 colour pen - looks great, but you know the blue and black inks will run out after writing just a single sentence. This leaves you with the red and green inks, which can last for approximately 100 years. Impress your children and achieve the same effect as a Bic 4 colour pen by taping together 4 different pens, into one jumbo fat pen, thus allowing you substitute new ones in as the ink runs out.
image from pixabay