Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2004 / 29 Teves, 5764

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports


Lots of labels in this union

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | When my husband pulled the new electronic label maker out of the box, I felt a wave of panic. We had a label maker years ago, and let's just say it was not pretty.


My husband acquired his first label maker in college. It was a little gun-shaped gizmo where you dialed in words letter by letter, squeezed hard and then cranked out a strip of plastic red tape with raised white letters. Our first apartment had a strange ambiance as there were name labels on his alarm clock, radio, television, assorted household goods and shaving bag.


I suggested that it was strange seeing his name on our community property as newlyweds. He agreed and handed me the label maker.


The label maker made sense once I took a closer look at his childhood home. His parents owned a blue label maker. They had labeled fuses in the fuse box, light switches and the tabs on house and car keys.


Label makers were a family tradition. The Kennedys passed on high cheekbones and good looks. The Rockefellers passed on piles of money and I married into a family that passed on label makers.


I made peace with the label maker. There was an efficiency to having a little red L on the bottom of one high heel and a little red R on the other. It was reassuring having my phone number stuck to the inside of my purse. I did put my foot down after the birth of our first child when I saw the better half, label maker in hand, heading toward the box of disposable diapers.


We made a cross-country move and the label maker was lost in the shuffle. It was a tragedy that could have been averted, had someone only had the foresight to label the label maker.

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We adjusted to life without a label maker. Then, the new Dymo LabelManager 100+ arrived. This sleek electronic label maker made that old red label maker look like a squeeze toy for dinosaurs. The new label maker had an entire keyboard, seven function buttons and a "getting started" instruction booklet written in four different languages. The better half would be in label maker's paradise.


I didn't know what to scoop up and hide first. The luggage, the clock radio in the bedroom or the piano.


Hubby labeled videos, photo albums, storage tubs, shoe boxes and my Rubbermaid cake taker. Then he lost interest. For a day the label maker sat idly on the coffee table. It looked so forlorn sitting there with the digital display window completely dark.


Next thing I knew, the kids were playing with it and morphed into label maniacs. They labeled their CD players, MP3s, camping gear and a friend in grad school. (They slapped a label on his jacket that said Dr. Dave, hence expediting the Ph.D. process by one thesis and two years.)


There was a label on my husband's back that said "Needs a nap." One of the girls had a label on her coat that said, "Ask me about my boyfriend." When I passed a mirror, I saw a label on my shoulder that said, "Feed me chocolate." When the oldest slept late the morning we agreed to clean the garage, he awoke to a label on his bedroom door that said, "Not a team player."


I thought the label making gone too far when I saw a label on Grandpa's cane that had his name, phone number, and in all caps, "PARTY ON." He smiled approvingly.


The tradition continues.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman