Backpack (no wheels)
I was 13 when the best day of my life happened—I remember it like it was yesterday. The patched pocket of my green JanSport bag was filled to the brim with rocks I found along the stream behind Rigdy’s Auto Shop. Most Wednesdays after school a group of us guys would ride our bikes up the road to old Pelican Pond to skip rocks. It was overcast the day I challenged Timmy “Tricky Thumbs” Watson to a skipping contest. I beat his record of 7 skips that day. For the rest of the year, everyone called me Skipper. I was a legend. Maybe I’ll give ol’ Timmy a call and demand a rematch. Show him who the real Skipper is.
What’s that sweetheart? Yes, of course we can get the backpack with the sparkly ponies.
Four two-pocket folders
The year was 1989. I was shadowing Walter Washington at the licorice factory the summer before I went off to college. Dad had gotten me the gig, and it made him feel important to have finally created some footsteps I was willing to follow. My first big assignment was preparing three folders with handouts for an important client presentation. Eager to make a good impression, I created an extra, fourth folder just in case. During lunch, Mr. Washington spilled horseradish sauce on one of the folders. With just fifteen minutes until the meeting, my fourth folder saved the day. After the meeting Mr. Washington put his heavy hands on my shoulders and said, “Son, you have a bright future ahead of you.” I wish I could have bottled that moment and sipped it each day for the rest of my life.
Remind daddy he has to stop at the liquor store on the way home from Target, okay honey?
One composition notebook
To most people, Meredith Barber was just a girl in my British Lit class, but to me she was the queen in the chess match of my college days, and I her lowly pawn. She never went anywhere without that black and white composition notebook of hers. O! How I ached to know what was inside. Did she doodle in the margins? Did it contain the secrets of how her eyes were an unspoiled blue like a sea untouched by the waste of mankind? She once told me her favorite constellation was Cassiopeia and I thought to myself, “What a thing to say!” I wonder what she’s doing now.
Yeah, sure, mommy had a notebook, too.
One box (24 ct.) crayons
Chad Schmidt, the new hotshot VP at the office, parked his obnoxious new Porsche 718 Boxster next to me last week. He made a big production about admiring his front driver’s side tire like there might be a prize from a cereal box hidden in the hubcap. I could tell he wouldn’t stop ogling his vehicle until I made a comment, so I rolled down the window and said, “Got the yellow one, huh? Nice,” at which he bristled and said, “This is dandelion.” But he pronounced the “lion” with a French accent like lee-ohn. Then he made some remark about getting good gas milage on my Honda Civic, the ultimate snub in masculine car conversations. I thought back to that discussion ten years ago when I told Jessica I was finally going to buy the Ferrari I’ve been dreaming about since the day I was born, but she just found out she was pregnant, and suddenly every penny I had was repossessed, consumed by diapers and future college funds. Sometimes I just want to take all that money and buy the car I deserve. Wouldn’t the kids rather have student loans than a husk of their father?
Anyway, you’re going to draw so many pretty pictures with these!!! By the way, is it too soon for you to tell if you’ll be going to an Ivy League school? Daddy’s making some projections.
One box of #2 pencils
Sometimes I feel like a pencil. Each time I grow show sharper, part of me is worn away. The shavings of myself are everywhere, worthless once hewn from the whole. It’s within my power to erase the things I’ve done, but I’m completely powerless to control my own destiny. At any moment, I feel I could break, splinter, or snap.
But to answer your question, yes, those mechanical pencils do match your pencil case.