Not So Far Off

Like every girl I know, my sister and I played a great deal of office and school when we were younger, particularly on days off from school or during summer vacation because we couldn't get enough of that work-a-day setting. Most of the material we used was from the previous school year's religious text, since we were Catholic schoolies and got to keep our "This is Our Faith" workbooks. We would play school and office for hours, usually until my sister, who was one of my students or employees, would plead that she hadn't learned this kind of multiplication yet and therefore could not be graded fairly/perform the necessary duties.

Sometimes we decided that the teacher/pupil setting was too restrictive and we changed venues. Inspired by the show "A Different World" which portrayed the fictitious Historically Black College "Hillmon," we constructed a dorm life setting which we thought was possibly the coolest thing that ever came to be in our basement. One thing I have divulged to other friends - much to my chagrin - is that the main component of playing College Life was the use of our Trapper Keeper. There was only one for the two of us, one purple striped extra large soft binder with a picture of a neon magenta heart on both sides which TP and I used interchangeably for our homework, for our sticker album, for inserting all of the fake papers that we were given at fake school or fake work. The Trapper Keeper symbolized for us what we thought College must be like. Living life in purple and neon magenta, cramming everything good into one big soft binder. What more did one need? We would play College for hours, usually until TP would hoard the Trapper Keeper too long, taking notes in her lecture halls and all, and then I would manipulate her to give it to me so that I could organize all of my stickers within the Trapper Keeper, because, let's be honest, that is what happened on a typical day in college.

I should also mention that I was playing school with my friend Micky well up until 8th grade, and it is possible that our prized pupils included Cabbage Patch Dolls and Magic Eat n' Poop Baby. We were very age appropriate.

But besides the totally 80s school supplies and the inclusion of mute pupils with pacifiers, I have reason to believe, nay, proof that we were not so far off. Our notions of what a workplace was like and what a setting where school and life are blended were not so far-fetched. There have been plenty of moments in my own education and work in which I felt as though I had not yet learned this fancy multiplication table, and therefore, I was irreparably useless that day, since there was no going back. I would simply have to plead I never learned that and hope that my ignorance would cloak me with innocence for a day. The set-up that we used to play office, with the IN and OUT trays - that totally exists in just about every workplace. Only the "Super Job!" stickers that TP and I would brand all of our work assignments are disappointingly not used in day to day operations. There was also no time in college where my mom called me upstairs for a grilled cheese sandwich, nor where I could decide in the middle of a workday to go take a nap on the couch.

Sometimes I still wish I had that Trapper Keeper, though. I could fill it with all of my work papers and top them off with a Super Job! sticker and no one would ever know.