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How the Heck Does Trapper Keeper Stay in Business?

So, what was on your school supply list when you were a kid?  Pencils, notebooks, the usual, right?  Yeah, me too.

I went to Catholic school, so getting clothes was a minor stage of the whole Back-to-School Shopping Blitz.  Because we had uniforms, the school supplies were where we could really show our personalities off.  But, the nuns got wise to this pretty quickly.  Our list of things we could NOT buy for school soon surpassed the quantity of things we were required to buy.

Erasermate Pens were one such item.  We weren’t allowed to write in pen.  But that was because you couldn’t erase it.  So, what was the rationale, I wonder, for banning the brand new invention of pens with erasable ink?  I’m pretty sure the Sistahs are the reason that remarkable innovation isn’t in the drawers of every office desk today.

Another way to get yourself detention at my school was to walk in with a Trapper Keeper.  Those amazing organizational tools were the bane of every teaching nun’s existence.  The Party Line was that the bulk of the darn things pretty much made it impossible for them to co-exist in the same desk as our massive textbooks.  But I think that Sister Mary Quite Contrary was more fearful of the far too many sinfully secular designs that appeared on the covers and each interchangeable piece.

It killed me not to get a Trapper Keeper.  Every year, I would wistfully pull one out of the display case, showing my mother The Dukes of Hazzard or the less controversial horse racing through a green field, and begging her to buy me one – pretending to be completely oblivious to the Trapper Keeper Commandment.

No sale.

Now, it’s 2012.  My daughter is 9.  She goes to public school.  We have spent 3 exhausting days looking for clothes and mandatory school supplies.  And even though she has a lot more freedom to make a statement with both her fashion and her various notebooks and writing utensils, she does not feel that is enough.

We have gone to three different stores looking for the perfect nail polish color for the first day of school.  Yesterday, I spent an hour in Sephora as she painted each nail on her hands a different color.  Oh, she knew which one she wanted by the fourth, but she needed to finish up the job once started, apparently.

Erasermate should invent some erasable nail polish pens.  Now, there’s a bestseller.

God, I wish there had been a Sephora around when I was a kid.  Those nuns would have had a lot less time to worry about Trapper Keepers…

Anyway, why, you may ask, did I allow my child to spend an hour decorating her digits, and to buy a $10 bottle of nail polish when that is not on any school supply list and she is not starring on a reality show?

Because, even now, 35 years later, I still have a little bit of Catholic School rebel in me.

And, even now, 35 years later, you still can’t bring Trapper Keepers to school.

2012-2013 School Supply List (PUBLIC SCHOOL!)

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