Universal Oddities
May 23, 2002

Marker Fruit

When I was younger (let’s say 5 years old or so), one of my favorite classes was art. The reason for this was because recess didn’t 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 good.

For some reason, they set it up so that almost every marker we used in class smelled like candy-fruit, until you’re addicted to smelling markers. If you make markers smell like candy-fruit, and you give markers to children, I don’t think it’s ultimately very surprising that quite a number of children are going to spend most of their time sniffing candy-fruit markers until they’ve been trained in a Pavlovian fashion to instinctively sniff markers; especially the black ones, because sometimes, they’re 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 can’t 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.

toxic marker: I can supply you with powers beyond your imagination!Whoever had the black toxic marker was ruler of the classroom. And once you’d 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 you’d 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 you’d just flap around the classroom until they started screaming for you to get down from the ledge. But you’d tell them “quiet”, I’m listening. And they’d be like “come down from there Jeebo or the aliens will conquer your brain.” And you’ll 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 don’t know.

toxic marker: Have you ever tried flying before?

me: Well, no.

toxic marker: Then I guess you realize how stupid your argument really is.

me: I suppose.

toxic marker: I’ll tell you what, if you step off of this ledge and just give flying a try, I’ll stop pestering you about it.

me: But what if I fall and can’t fly?

toxic marker: But if you can! That’s why you’ve never done anything in your life; pessimism.

me: I’m 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 I’m just telling you one thing about that right now... the blueberry marker’s a friggin homosexual.

me: What?

toxic marker: You heard me. If you want to hang out with homosexual markers, be my friggin guest.

me: What’s a homosexual?

toxic marker: You’ll find out if you hang out with that blueberry marker you fruit... And the blueberry marker’s also been buying oil from Iran illegally.

me: The blueberry marker’s been doing that?

toxic marker: The blueberry marker is holding your entire family hostage in Pakistan.

me: What? What’s Pakistan?

toxic marker: Look Jacques, you’re either with me, or you’re with the terrorists.

me: What are you talking about?

toxic marker: Look, if you can’t 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 hadn’t realized until afterwards that the blueberry marker hadn’t 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 it’s homosexual, that’s fine by me. Not that every fruit-scented marker has to be a homosexual just because they’re fruit-scented though. I don’t want to perpetuate false stereotypes. I’m just saying it’s okay to be comfortable with being a blueberry marker. One’s orientation is nobody’s business but their own. And the blueberry marker was simply blueberry. And one can’t 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.




Copyright © 2000-2002 Jacques. All rights reserved.