I wanted the Trapper Keeper so bad. But even with three jobs, for three kids, my mom’s budget didn’t contain coin for a Trapper Keeper. I needed it because well, it was just so fresh. And the matching folders, those were totally awesome. I felt like such a Joanie without the blue rainbow Trapper Keeper. Of course everyone had one, but me.
The other reason I needed one is because Carry Murphey had one. The most popular girl in school who always had the best of everything. Finest boyfriend, greatest smile, silkiest hair, and like the best school supplies ever. Hello Kitty pencils, Bionic Woman book covers and her own subscription to Tiger Beat. It came right to her mailbox every month. That was major awesomeness, Major. Carry’s TK also seemed like a golden ticket. The girl never did any work,she just sat in class organizing the mother of all binders. My inner organizer called at a very young age as well. I just knew if I could arrange all my papers in color coded folders, I could avoid doing classwork too.
But it was not to be and I went all my formative years without one. Frankly, I’m not sure how I survived. Even when my parents got divorced, the Trapper Keeper was not a parting gift I could weasel out of my father. Believe me I tried. I ended up with a Pretty Changes Barbie though, and while there was nothing pretty about the changes in my life, it was somewhat of a consolation prize.
Then I grew up and had my own kids. Did the “my kids will have everything I didn’t” thing. When it came time for serious school supply shopping, I proudly led our 3rd grade son over to the Trapper Keeper section. Waving my hand across the shiny rows of TK’s, I encouraged him to pick whichever one he wanted. He simply stared. No stars in his eyes, no excitement, nothing.
“Our teacher said we’re not allowed to have those.”
What? I mentally shook my fist at the man. I mean what teacher in their right mind would shun the beautiful organization of the best notebook ever made? And then my son. Did he not want to be most popular? Most likely to succeed due to his organizational skills? Did he not want the silkiest hair ever?
“She didn’t mean it. Pick one out.” I did another large flourish with both hands this time. “You love yellow, get that one.”
“They said it takes us too long to get things out and they can’t stand the sound of 30 zippers zipping and unzipping all day.”
“What about the sound of 30 losers who can’t find their papers and are unable to get jobs someday?”
Now it was his turn to be incredulous. “What mommy?”
“Nothing,” I grumbled. I couldn’t believe it, my chance to live vicariously through my son was being slowly snuffed.
I turned to our 4 year old, hope brimming in my eyes once again. “What about you? You need a Trapper Keeper. Pick any one you want.” He just giggled and jammed his hand inside a bin of glue sticks, displacing several onto the floor.
We didn’t buy any TK’s that day or ever.
Admittedly our boys don’t have the silkiest hair, but they’ve got good heads on their shoulders. Maybe they’re not the most popular but they are surrounded by faithful friends and family. Organizational skills are on the rise and they’ve enjoyed many successes at early ages. And all without a Trapper Keeper.
And me? Well obviously I can be the Trapper Keeper of Bitterness. Through this writing however, I’ve realized that by the grace of God, we’re all going to be more than okay.