Scrapbooking Day

May 3

Stop all the clocks, log out of AIM
Sign off of scrabble, don’t start a new game
Shut the TV, the laundry will wait
Ignore the doorbell and lock the front gate
Silence the mobile, put the iPad away.
Today is National Scrapbooking Day.

Words are inadequate when describing to an NSB (Non-ScrapBooker) the maniacal frenzy with which SBs subscribe to their passion.

Most people (outside of Utah) go about their normal day completely oblivious to the enormity and severity of this growing cult. Its followers are young and old. From every state and every province. From families rich and poor, and all walks of life.  Two generalizations you can make about the scrapbooker: she is almost always female, and usually a mother.

‘Kara’ of Non-Scrapbookers Anonymous confesses:

I am a failure as a mom…I have a lot of friends who scrapbook and an overzealous sister-in-law who is convinced she can convert me into being a scrapbooker. But, I have no desire…

‘Kerrie’ of Feminist Mormon Housewives writes:

I feel like a complete outsider…I’m not feminine or crafty. I installed a light in the kitchen and rewired two switches today, which seems more practical and sensible to me than spending $30 and four hours making two scrapbook pages.

We’re not just talking about scrapbooking stores and scrapbooking books. There are scrapbooking seminars, scrapbooking conferences, scrapbooking chat rooms, scrapbooking tours, and yes, scrapbooking cruises. The cruises alone are becoming an industry in themselves, with trips to Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean.

The good news about scrapbooking is that it is rarely fatal. The bad news is that there is no known cure. And that family members, however resistant, can fall victim to ‘second-hand scrapbooking.’

Dan‘ writes:

I am an unwilling participant in this scrapbooking cult because I am [my wife] Kelly’s better half. She drags me to her events so I can do all the “manly” things…carrying bags, putting together decorations, carrying bags, getting food when “my girls” are hungry, and setting up tables.

That was the last anyone ever heard from Dan.

I can personally attest to the extent of this growing epidemic. The last time I drove through Utah, I stopped in a small town–if you can call it that–that had nothing but a gas station and a scrapbooking store.

And also by virtue of the fact that I have a mother QSB (Queen ScrapBooker) who routinely inducts her sons’ significant others into this cult. (The Scrapbooking cult operates much like Facebook Vampires, where you get points for how many you infect.)

The Church of Latter-Day Saints receives credit (or the blame) for spearheading the modern scrapbooking craze. “BYU scientists have overwhelmingly concluded that scrapbooking is hard-coded into every LDS mothers genetic makeup.” (Husbands Unite, 2008.) But scrapbooking is anything but modern or new. America’s greatest author Mark Twain himself was an avid scrapbooker. In 1872 he even patented a “self-pasting” scrapbook. 13 years later, while Twain had earned $200,000 from his written books, he had made $50,000 just from the scrapbook. (St. Louis Dispatch, 6/8/1885).

In 1884 the Norristown Herald went so far as to exclaim, “No library is complete without the Bible, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain’s Scrap Book.”

Of course part of its success may be due to Twain’s marketing genius:

“I hereby certify that during many years I was afflicted with cramps in my limbs, indigestion, salt rheum, enlargement of the liver, & periodical attacks of inflammatory rheumatism complicated with St. Vitus’s dance, my sufferings being so great that for months at a time I was unable to stand upon my feet without assistance, or speak the truth with it. But as soon as I had invented my Self-Pasting Scrap Book & begun to use it in my own family, all these infirmities disappeared.

“In disseminating this universal healer among the world’s afflicted, you are doing a noble work, & sincerely hope you will get your reward–partly in the sweet consciousness of doing good, but the bulk of it in cash.

Very Truly Yours

Mark Twain


Happy Scrapbooking Day.

Not that you need an excuse.

Scrapbooking Has Moved On

Mark Twain’s Most Profitable Book?