When I was younger (lets say 5 years old or so), one of my
favorite classes was art. The reason for this was because recess
didnt count as educational, except for the time we found a
plastic bag full of shotgun shells behind a tree.
In any case, I loved art because I was awful at it but everyone
had to tell us we were good because we were kids, and we could do
anything we wanted, and we were all going to become president someday
if we survived those wacky suicidal teen years. And
we could do anything we wanted in art and it was creative;
unless we drew the sun in the corner of the page, because that was
not considered professional.
But what I enjoyed most about art class (even more than the continual
barrage of praise) might have to be the colorful markers. They had
red markers that smelled like cherry, blue markers that smelled
like blueberry, green markers that smelled like watermelon, and
black ones that smelled toxic. And, let me tell you, toxic smells
For some reason, they set it up so that almost every marker we
used in class smelled like candy-fruit, until youre addicted
to smelling markers. If you make markers smell like candy-fruit,
and you give markers to children, I dont think its ultimately
very surprising that quite a number of children are going to spend
most of their time sniffing candy-fruit markers until theyve
been trained in a Pavlovian fashion to instinctively sniff markers;
especially the black ones, because sometimes, theyre licorice;
and licorice apparently makes one very high. And they
made sure you were introduced to magic markers as a
kid, before they introduced those drug prevention programs.
What confused me for years after the marker incidents
is why they would also mix in toxic markers with candy-fruity smelling
markers of the same color. Sometimes, a green marker was watermelon,
and sometimes it was brain damage. That really confused
me as I grew old enough to ponder it. Also, much of the confusion
remains a result of the fumes I was enticed to inhale as a child.
The fact that many kids cant read at that age also adds to
the mystique of the BLUEBERRY, CHERRY, and
TOXIC lettering. And, honestly, BLUEBERRY
appears far more intimidating to a child than TOXIC.
Just look at how enormous and bumpy it is. Not only that, but once
you pop off that cap, the wafting aroma of TOXIC suddenly
makes you feel so good about yourself.
had the black toxic marker was ruler of the classroom. And once
youd used the black marker once, and you had to give it to
someone else to color in their horse, you wanted it back again.
And again. And then, you knew youd do anything, even kill,
to get your hands on that black marker once more.
And then you just want to start sticking the marker up your nose,
as far as it will go. And keep shoving it, hoping that somehow it
will lodge itself in your brain. And then I started drawing a barn
on my brain and little blueberry cows lived in watermelon fields
beside a cherry flavored stream. And no one else realized that black
markers could make you fly. And youd just flap around the
classroom until they started screaming for you to get down from
the ledge. But youd tell them quiet, Im
listening. And theyd be like come down from there Jeebo
or the aliens will conquer your brain. And youll tell
them quiet, the marker is trying to tell me something.
And the marker would explain to you how it was possible to fly
if you just believed in yourself.
me: I dont know.
toxic marker: Have you ever tried flying before?
me: Well, no.
toxic marker: Then I guess you realize how stupid your argument
me: I suppose.
toxic marker: Ill tell you what, if you step off of
this ledge and just give flying a try, Ill stop pestering
you about it.
me: But what if I fall and cant fly?
toxic marker: But if you can! Thats why youve
never done anything in your life; pessimism.
me: Im only five years old.
toxic marker: Five! The Lindbergh baby was dead by the time
he was five. What the hell have you been up to?
me: I drew a barn on my brain.
toxic marker: Hey. Can the blueberry marker make you fly?
Have you been talking to that damn blueberry marker? If you want
to hang out with that blueberry marker, then fine; be my guest.
But Im just telling you one thing about that right now...
the blueberry markers a friggin homosexual.
toxic marker: You heard me. If you want to hang out with
homosexual markers, be my friggin guest.
me: Whats a homosexual?
toxic marker: Youll find out if you hang out with
that blueberry marker you fruit... And the blueberry markers
also been buying oil from Iran illegally.
me: The blueberry markers been doing that?
toxic marker: The blueberry marker is holding your entire
family hostage in Pakistan.
me: What? Whats Pakistan?
toxic marker: Look Jacques, youre either with me,
or youre with the terrorists.
me: What are you talking about?
toxic marker: Look, if you cant fly, and you end up
falling 5 stories, you never have to fly again. Would the blueberry
marker make a deal like that?
By that time the art teacher and the school principal had tackled
me to the ground. I hadnt realized until afterwards that the
blueberry marker hadnt truly been homosexual, but had simply
been stalling for time before I jumped off the ledge. I owe that
blueberry marker my life. And if its homosexual, thats
fine by me. Not that every fruit-scented marker has to be a homosexual
just because theyre fruit-scented though. I dont want
to perpetuate false stereotypes. Im just saying its
okay to be comfortable with being a blueberry marker. Ones
orientation is nobodys business but their own. And the blueberry
marker was simply blueberry. And one cant go about reading
too much into that.
It had been buying oil from Iran though. It may have also known
about the sale of arms to the contras.