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What is on Your Desk?

Time for a bit of lighthearted, blogging fun.

I spend a lot of time reading and writing and I do so primarily within a specific environment – my home office. The space reflects the man, to some degree.

Surveying my office space here at home, I noticed that my desk has begun, like a coral reef, to accrete various objects, oddments and curious like a layer of bric-a-brac sediment.  Some objects change, others stay forever.  Exclusive of papers, books, printers and a computer, here’s what my desk holds:

  • 1 lamp
  • 6 photographs of family and friends
  • Stapler
  • Cup of pencils and ball points
  • Two modestly priced non-disposable writing pens
  • One expensive, handmade, writing pen in case
  • A handmade, blue ceramic, pinchpot made by my Eldest in kindergarten (it holds some krazyglue and a metal skull keychain fob)
  • Two Challenge Coins from the US Army War College and Small Wars Journal
  • A Doctor Octopus figurine my son is now too old to play with (I like the mechanical arms)
  • A ceramic coaster made by aforementioned Boy in pre-school with his handprint
  • A brass dagger letter opener (Shiny!)
  • A case of CD-ROMs of a very large comic book collection (graciously sent to me by Eddie Beaver for the Boy)
  • A battered WWI French Army helmet
  • A candle holder with a picture of my Eldest when she was approximately three or four
  • A nondescript, lidless box holding post-it notes, business cards collected from various people, phone numbers on paper scraps, paper clips, spare ear buds and headsets for iPods/iPads
  • One small ceramic seal figurine (origin unknown, think it was left here years ago by my Eldest)

I am officially “tagging” the following bloggers to describe what is on their desks in the same fashion – they may, if they wish, inflict this post on a new group of victims:

Lexington Green
J. Scott Shipman
Charles Cameron
Dave Dilegge
Joseph Fouche
Adam Elkus
Shane Deichman
Lewis Shepherd
Carl Prine
Crispin Burke
Dave Schuler
Cheryl Rofer
Shlok Vaidya
Steven Pressfield
Doctrine Man
Sean Meade
The Meatballs

Readers are invited to list their strangest or most beloved desk object in the comment section. Have at it!


Hmmm…it appears that some may be doubting the authenticity of some of my claims….I never bluff 😉

24 Responses to “What is on Your Desk?”

  1. S. Anthony Iannarino Says:

    MacBook Air 13.3
    27 inch Thunderbolt Display
    Portable 15 inch monitor
    Magic Mouse
    Apple Trackpad
    WD 2 TB Portable drive
    WD 2 TB My Book
    The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom (autographed)

  2. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Here’s mine.

  3. Lexington Green Says:

    Churchill in a  World War I French army helmet.



  4. Nathaniel T. Lauterbach Says:

    A stapler.
    A ceramic dish I made in 4th grade which contains several challenge coins.
    A laser pointer and a telescoping pointer. For the PowerPoint.
    A few pens and markers of various types(permanent, dry erase, ballpoint pens, etc.)
    Three books I’m currently reading (Achilles in Vietnam, The Landmark Thucydides, and Fix Bayonets!, by Shay, Strassler & Thucydides, and Thomason, respectively)
    A three-ring binder containing various personal documents.
    That is all.

  5. zen Says:

    Anthony – your desk is scary utilitarian!
    Cheryl – will comment at your place
    Lex – that’s the helmet. I also have a British one at work with the original leather flak flap in the back, think it may have been for a tank driver
    Nate – Ceramic dish brother, how is Achilles in Vietnam?

  6. seydlitz89 Says:

    I’ve got one of those old roll-top desks, so what’s exactly “on” it is a matter of interpretation.  

    Let’s just count the work surface.

    Macbook Pro laptop w/mouse.
    Picture of my family.
    11th Marines pewter tankard with my name, rank and dates of service on the side, full of pens, pencils, scissors, a couple of paper poppies and a toothbrush.
    Picture of TR in Rough Rider uniform, framed.
    Polish Cross of Valor, 1920, with ribbon, #10122 stamped on the back.
    A couple of Wernesgrüner Pils beer bottle caps.
    Three stacks of a total of ten books, either in the process of reading, rereading, or expecting to read 

  7. Eddie Says:

    On a computer desk saved from the Thrift Store (and it doesn’t creak loudly like the one in my research assistant office).
    a veritable pyramid of “important” documents I long ago should have organized.
    X-Men Second Coming TPB gifted for X-Mas with three geography spatial analysis textbooks appropriately stacked on top of it.
    Mac Mini, monitor (with a very thick demography textbook as its base), mouse, keyboard and two portable hard drives.
    my wife’s sewing kit and pictures of her & myself in Hong Kong this month I just printed
    postcards and Christmas cards sent this month.
    Kindle Touch
    two cups of pens & pencils
    all my community asset map project notes I’m supposed to be reading instead of reading the book covering them, “Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture after 1940”.

  8. Pundita Says:

    Small roll adhesive tape
    Compartmented glass tray holding paper clips, rubber bands, spare pen nibs, small pencil sharpener, old pennies I keep meaning to research for their value, small screws that fell out of things and which I keep meaning to screw back in, assorted small plastic objects that seem to have broken off/fallen from various pieces of equipment and which I keep meaning to throw away because I can never figure out where the came from.
    Post-it notes in decorative box
    Ink blotter pad
    Ink well
    Black metal organizer for holding different types writing pads, misc. file folders and opened mail I want at my fingertips
    Black ceramic pen holder holding letter opener, highlighters, different types of pens, pencils
    Small snow crystal ball with shamrock painted on base (gift)
    Demon repellent in 16 oz. plastic bottle with adjustable spray attachment
    Small Kleenex box
    Liquid hand sanitizer in pocket-size plastic bottle
    Dept of Army field manual Survival, Evasion and Escape (March 1969 ed., bought in used book store in Manhattan in 1974)
    Calendula hand lotion in 6 oz plastic bottle
    Small pink duck stuffed toy (gift) 

  9. Madhu Says:

    What’s on “a” desk”? One desk? Amateurs.
    On one desk, you will find:
    1. A big Dell monitor/computer.
    2. Also, a Macbook Pro (I still never blog or write anything. Jus what is wrong with me, anyway?)
    3. A yellow legal pad, a print out of some stuff on Reagan, a glossy magazine, and a small collage I am working on – all in a neat pile. I can’t stand a messy house.
    4. Another small neat stack of notebooks – many flowered or paisley-covered because things should look nice.
    5. A ceramic dish.
    6. A sparkly blue-green butterfly thing meant to hold messages. A gift.
    7. A round black pen/pencil holder filled with pens/pencils/highlighters.
    8. A ceramic tile from Spain with a brown ceramic mug on top (camomile tea).
    9. A copy of Elizabeth Taylor’s (the writer) “At Mrs. Lippincoates.”
    10. An tan push-button 80s-era Bell phone with a spiraled cord, just to be all “retro.”
    Maybe I’ll describe the other desk later, although a lot of the time I just take the Macbook to the kitchen table (one of those mid-century moderm updates of the classic white table with the single pedestal in the center whose original maker I can’t remember anymore).
    More fun posts like these, please.
    Hey, there’s a mid century “modernist” site. Gotta go, still haphazardly decorating here and there.

  10. Dave Schuler Says:

    Nothing very exciting, I’m afraid.  22″ Samsung LCD monior.  Generic keyboard.  Generic mouse. Mouse pad. Phone.  Kodak multifunction printer.  All black.  A  teak tray with a few pens and pencils.

  11. J. Scott Shipman Says:

    Hi Zen, Been out of the loop/offline since before the holidays.
    MacBook Pro 17,
    Fowler’s Modern English Usage (both a 1st & 2nd Edition)
    The Synonym Finder
    Pictures of my kids/wife
    Stickies—both used and blanks (don’t know how I lived without stickies)
    Books (mostly submarine design stuff)
    Monkey “stuff” 

  12. Kanani Fong Says:

    Okay, this is just the interesting stuff
    PedEgg (oh, that’s where it is)
    A candle
    Cat hair tape roller
    Moke & Poki in the Forest
    2 Films I’ll be working on
    Koinobori (3) Carp Streamers
    A sink strainer I was supposed to return but didn’t
    There’s more, but not very interesting.

  13. Kanani Fong Says:

    Okay, I am looking at all the stuff on everyone else’s desks. I feel like such a life slacker. I mean, I could have lied and said I had a copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology on my desk. But no. It’s Moke & Poki (and I don’t know who put it there –really).
    Did I mention, there’s also a dog collar in Army camo?  Bonus points?  Or do I get the award for “indication of major slackerness.”

  14. Lynn Wheeler Says:

    old desk pictures here … missing pictures from the early 70s (and home 2741) … but desk with cdi miniterm & compact microfiche viewer from late 70s, then 3101 glass teletype … and eventually ibm/pc … online at home since Mar1970

  15. Charles Cameron Says:


    Coffee — Nescafe Taster’s Choice — 2 large mugs, and Sucralose sweetener.

    2 HP Laptops, one mine, one borrowed from my elder son for use when my current model went very weird a week or three back, and not yet returned. Also one Clickfree backup HD.

    Misc reading glasses, $2 – $250.

    One set broken headphones, one set lightweight working headphones.



    Multiple, multiple, multiple samples of pain meds in a box.

    Three books, to wit:

    Quran, Muhammad Asad version.
    The Unfettered Mind, on swordsmanship, Takuan Soho.
    Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis.

    and five of these:

    book flags
    I think I need to add one thin chocolate mint, and then disappear it.

  16. Pundita Says:

    Kanani — If it’s any comfort:  the demon repellent, along with an Ouija board, large crystal ball, Sahib-0-Meter and battery-powered gibberish decoder machine are running jokes going back years at Pundita blog.


    But really, a copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology?  How is that going to help you in case of alien attack or another mass calamity which governments and their standing armies are unprepared to manage?


    Everyone should have a copy of Survival, Evasion and Escape with them at all times because you just never know when you’ll have to build a fire with no matches or flint, improvise a trap for wild animals, build a shelter from banana leaves or lie convincingly to captors. But after decades of lugging the manual around in my purse I decided to compromise with my safety and security on the theory that the end of the world as we know it will probably occur while I’m at my desk.


    But be careful about trying to keep up appearances.  If you puff up the types of items on your desk, whatever embellishments you add are as much a Rorschach test as telling the truth — and Zen surely knows this, by the way LOL. 


    Madhu — I’ll raise your multiple desks ante by noting that anywhere I sit for longer than 20 minutes begins to look like my desk.  Hahaha.

  17. Kanani Fong Says:

    Pundita, The Bullfinch’s Mythology is under my desk. The cat has taken it for a cat treat, as a corner is nibbled. It has also made for a good foot rest, and also it might be that were another Hollywood Zombie to come over, I could keep him from ripping off my head and sucking out my blood by distracting them with The Legends of Charlemagne and promises of big box office returns. It could be the next big vehicle for that guy who played Spiderman. You never know. But really, I find the best way to fend off Hollywood zombies is to say, “Pay me big money.”

  18. zen Says:

    ” If you puff up the types of items on your desk, whatever embellishments you add are as much a Rorschach test as telling the truth — and Zen surely knows this, by the way LOL. “
    Note the addendum to the post Miss P.

  19. Pundita Says:

    Zen — I’m afraid you misinunderstood my remark because questioning your account of your desk items was the furthest thing from my mind; indeed I would have bet money that you’d given a strictly accurate account.  I was thinking of your choice of avatar when I made the remark.  As you noted one’s desk space reflects the person to some degree so it can be psychologically revealing if one accurately describes that particular personal space.  And, as I noted to Kayani, even if one thinks up items that aren’t on the desk one’s imaginary additions to the desk still reveal something about the person that might not be evident from his or her writings.  


    Of course my list doesn’t reveal anything that you and others who’ve read my blog over years don’t already know about the Pundita character:  She’s practical, organized, technology-resistant, future-oriented, sentimental and paranoid.  As for her creator, it says nowhere in the ground rules you laid down that one can’t omit items from the list lol.    


    Kanani — When you put it like that Bullfinch’s Mythology could be more of a survival aid than I’d first considered.  In case of alien invasion in particular, it could be very helpful to present mythic versions of human history as actual fact, or present oneself as an emissary from a kingdom that doesn’t exist.  This reminds me that one must never underestimate the survival benefits of the ability to tell a really good whopper.  Consider the man who while working for the OSS convinced his Nazi captors that the war was already over and that things would go better for them if they surrendered to him, which they did. True story.


    Somebody get the hook because I’m having too much fun with this discussion thread. Back to Pakistan, Pundita. Back, I say!   

  20. Fred Leland Says:

    FBI National Academy Session 216 beer stein 
    External hard drive
    my Kindle
    AND MY FAVORITE Ashtray and CIGARS 🙂 

  21. Jonathan Says:

    Paper, clutter, wires, stuff.

  22. Madhu Says:

    @ Kanani Fong:
    There is no way that anyone posting here is a bigger slacker than I am 🙂 All that stuff about a messy house and neatness? All high-grade crapola. Big time BS. Okay, not BS because things are neat, but it is all an elaborate procrastination ruse I that have perfected over years and years and years and years of practice.
    Bills need doing? Hmmm, that shelf looks like it needs to be dusted.
    Paper needs reviewing? Hmmm, doesn’t that corner of the floor like it needs some cleaning?
    Online test for work needs to be done soon? Hmmm, maybe I need to refold stuff in the sock drawers.
    And the collage I am purportedly working on? It’s the size of a postage stamp, basically, and has been sitting on my desk for six months. I took an art class at the Boston Museum School some years ago and I was the worst student there. Oh well….
    Haha, this really is a funny thread. I enjoyed reading the spartan all the way to the lavish descriptions.

  23. Lexington Green Says:

    The French helmet.  I want it.  

  24. deichmans Says:

    Pardon my tardiness — here’s the Desk of Oz:
    1 Opiquest 17″ flat panel monitor
    1 Netgear WiFi hub
    1 RCA digital broadband modem
    1 pair pink Crocs, toddler size 6
    1 halogen desk lamp
    1 Panasonic cordless phone
    1 stack, Maxell CD-Rs
    1 Matryoshka Doll (Soviet Premiers, Lenin to Yeltsin)
    1 box Kleenex
    1 USB drive (with Cub Scout photos for upcoming Blue & Gold Banquet)
    2 magnetic paper clip holders
    1 Microsoft webcam
    1 Microsoft ergonomic keyboard
    1 Logitech trackball mouse
    1 electric pencil sharpener, pink
    1 Dell E-series docking station (with Government property tag and “UNCLASSIFIED” SF 710 label)
    2 DVDs from Jen Lints Photography (she’s the best in Colo Spgs!)
    1 Craftsman 25′ tape measure
    1 Sharp Carousel Microwave Oven
    1 ceramic butterfly coaster
    1 3-hole punch
    1 Scotch tape dispenser
    1 Bostitch stapler (standard size)
    1 Bakugan (a green dragon)
    2 stackable document trays (black wire mesh)
    1 wire vertical document holder (filled with mundane file folders)
    1 15-round belt Browning M2 .50-cal Cartridges (and links), used as a pen/pencil holder
    May have to post a pic to Oz….

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