“Arguably literature’s basic charge is to describe being in the world—the Grainger catalog reveals just how extensively our writers have failed to document the varieties of work happening now, and the hyper-precise terminology surrounding that work.”

Dan Piepenbring on the wonders of industrial-supply catalogs.

Neat piece on the specificity of words and the specificity of tools, materials, and devices found in this mammoth catalog. This was a highlight, in his discussion of item descriptions:

“If ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’ counts as a story, then so, too, must ‘all-wood coffins store flat and assemble without tools. Can be stacked 3-high when assembled to maximize space in mass-casualty emergencies.’ Or: ‘High-visibility warning whips alert other vehicles of your presence.’ Or: ‘Stretch knit material covers head to protect from overspray.’