Ease and challenge

Lazy Tuesday
Sticking envelopes is boring work. But stamping envelopes is fun.

When you’re sticking envelopes, it’s almost impossible to screw it up. Pull off the sticky tab, seal the envelope, make sure it’s fastened. Done. It gets painfully repetitive within thirty minutes, and coma-inducing within two hours.

Stamping the envelopes, however, is a blast.

Firstly, the stamp makes an incredibly satisfying ker-chunk noise as you use it. You automatically find yourself trying to stamp in a rhythm – kerchunk-two-three-four. But to keep the rhythm up you need to be smoothly moving the envelopes from the unstamped to stamped pile, so your movements become streamlined and conscious, like a dance.

Then you realise that if you stamp too quickly the stamp doesn’t make a complete impression. So you keep playing with the variables to get the optimum outcome of speed and rhythm and non-smudginess and no corners missing. Only your aching wrist or running out of envelopes will end the game.

Both of these are easy tasks. One of them is also challenging.

So what is the relationship between the two?

How can something be easy AND challenging?

Come thrash it out in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Creative Commons License photo credit: sidewalk flying

8 thoughts on “Ease and challenge

  1. I think the difference is being able to make a significant, observable difference to the result.

  2. I agree with Evan. It’s about prettifying, as much as it is the “kerchunk”. Although, I have to say… I rather love stapling, too. It’s pretty easy to fuck stapling up if you’re not paying attention.

    There’s a degree of skill involved in stamping and stapling, as well as fun-times and creativity. You have to focus, use the cool tool, take a step back and observe your handiwork.

    Sticking and folding are changing the shape of a thing, where as stamping and stapling are *making different by creating*. I could be full of crap, and that not be the answer at all. But I agree – it does definitely have something to do with that *satisfying* feeling.

    1. Stapling is fun too, if you play the “Staple It Just So” game. šŸ™‚

      The focus is a big part of the answer. Closing envelopes is not naturally a flow activity. Stamping is.

  3. It might just be me but I think it is the same difference we experienced in kindergarten, coloring vs Playdoh…

    I think the kinetics of the activity makes the difference.

    Coloring is fun and you can really use you imagination…with Playdoh, you use your imagination AND can beat the heck out of it too… pounding Playdoh, beating it into submission, smashing and smooshing…

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