Friday, March 23, 2007

Markers Equal Fun

I bought some folders from Staples recently.

(I needed folders. What can I tell you? Sometimes a brother just needs some folders.)

Of course these things never go smoothly, I initially grabbed legal size, what I needed was letter size, back and forth to the store and back so on and so forth. I assure you this isn't the important part of the story.

No, the important part of the story was the collection of bins in the middle of the store, offering 50% off the lowest ticketed prices of any items therein. Anybody who knows me knows that I am incredibly cheap I'm a typical Winnipegger, which is to say I am incredibly cheap I like bargains, so I couldn't help but abandon my folder quest for a couple minutes and see what I could see.

What I found therein was something I would never have expected to find in a bargain bin, because I would have never expected such a thing would actually exist.

Behold as I beheld, including the double-take I took to confirm what I had just read:

Yes. Crayola Multicultural Markers.

Multicultural. Markers.

Would anybody out there like to form a New Wave band? If I do not form a New Wave band titled the Multicultural Markers immediately, I'm going to feel that I am doing the world a terrible disservice. (I'm not kidding about this. I can play bass or guitar while singing vocals simultaneously, and I would look devestatingly sexy in a Devo hat. Somebody take me up on this.)

Now, my first reaction upon seeing these was "Holy what--what have they done? Have we as a civilization finally taken the idea of political correctness too far?"; my second reaction was "Wait, never mind, these are awesome. I must have these". I'll admit to knee-jerk initial reactions about the continued spread of cynical lipservice diversity and tolerance -- let's be honest with ourselves, being able to draw other races does not spontaneously eradicate racism -- but really, now, we've needed these damn things for years. The ubiquitous 'flesh' colour of years past never actually looked like anybody, and we as a civilization can finally draw Asian people that aren't the same colour as Tweety. Progress is progress!

The eight multicultural colours included are 'beige', 'tan', 'golden beige', 'bronze', 'tawny', 'terra-cotta', 'mahogany' and 'sierra'. Why, imagine the fun kids can have just sitting around and figuring out which euphemism refers to them!

"I'm mahogany!"
"I'm bronze!"
"I'm, uh... tan."
"I don't want to be 'tawny'! 'Tawny' sounds like a girl's name!"

And imagine the fun parents will have when their kid comes home covered in marker, either because he's pretending to be from another culture or because 'tawny' sounds like a girl's name -- which, now that I think about it, leads us to the next topic of interest. Note the part where they're labelled as 'washable'; certainly Crayola wants you to note that part, because the packaging mentions this no less than five times on the packaging. What would you think 'washable' implies? Well, you may want to consult this li'l box on the back:

Turns out 'washable' is limited to skin and most (most) items of clothing, which makes them... functionally indistinguishable from regular markers in this regard. One day some poor mother is going to find out the hard way that her definition of 'washable' and Crayola's definition of 'washable' are miles apart when she comes home and finds out her walls have become multicultural in her absense.

"Washability you can trust! / Une lavalilite fiable!" Right. My ass. Next they'll tell us the nontoxic certification means it won't poison owls.

That aside! Having mentioned part of the back of the marker package, I now concede that the back of the package was what finally sold me on buying these. (Granted they only cost $1.48 plus taxes after it was all said and done, but I can be a remarkably hard sell sometimes.) Have a look at their suggested use for the markers:

Okay, that's kind of corny. But it looks like fun, doesn't it? It does!

Kind of odd that they specifically suggest brown paper bags, though -- what with brown paper bags being most commonly used to transport alcohol and pornography. If children are growing up in a home with a free and ample supply of brown paper bags, those children probably have a lot more to worry about than whether or not they have the right colour marker for drawing a Mexican dude.

But, hey, whatever ingredients are necessary for fun, right? Right! And fortunately I had a brown paper bag handy at home (...shut up), so I got right to work drawing the cave drawings I'd want to see -- the sort of lasting archeological discoveries that future generations could really appreciate in evaluating the status of our world to date.

Meaning I laughed and doodled a tiny cartoon Gary Doer.

(It's actually spelled 'McFadyen'; when pressed on this, however, cartoon Gary Doer dismissed the practice of spelling an opponent's name correctly as 'an amateur move'. He's got me there!)

I liked how it turned out, so I kept going with Hugh McFadyen:

And because I'm all about equal coverage and fairness of opportunity here at Slurpees and Murder, Liberal leader Jon Gerrard gets his time in the sun:

So all in all, I'm pretty pleased with my purchase. These recent experiences have led me to conclude that I'll never become so old or jaded that sitting down and puttering around with markers ceases to be fun.

If you happen to be near the Staples on Pembina, the one just north of Bishop Grandin, and you don't mind dropping $1.48 plus taxes for some quality entertainment, I definitely recommend you pick these bad boys up! I put to you the incontrovertible equation of "Markers = Fun", and it's lucky for everybody involved that I am not a tenured professor or this would be on a test later!

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