Put a Bird (I mean, a Label) On It!

Put a Bird (I mean, a Label) On It!

For those of you watching “Portlandia” you’ll understand my bird reference in the title of this post. But for those of you who haven’t seen it you must watch this “Portlandia: Put a Bird On It!” Video:

You see, I grew up in Portland in the 70’s and 80’s and, consequentially, “Putting a Bird On It” is second nature to me, only to knowing which way North is by finding the side of a tree where there is the most moss (of course I realized when I moved to the NE this doesn’t work as there IS no moss on trees here!), and knowing the entire album of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” by heart even though neither me nor any of my friends actually owned a copy.

However, I get more pleasure now from my new pastime, which is “Putting a Label On It!” than “Putting a Bird On It” any day! My new job has been a treasure-trove of information and discoveries, one of which is the Label Maker! I did not know how complete my life could be until I discovered Label Makers. At work, they are strewn around like pens people have accidentally forgotten. I used one when labeling a stackable filing system I use to keep me productive, and after that I was hooked!

I bought the Brother P-touch PT-1290 and love it! Although not entirely intuitive (you really do need to read the manual to know what combination of buttons to push to change things) once you learn it, it really does beat handwritten labels. For one thing, your handwriting does not resolve and read well from a distance. Second handwritten labels are not laminated. And you want them to be laminated. Plus you can change the tape you’re using so easily you can go from black-on-transparent tape, to black-on-white tape in two seconds!

I think I might have taken to labeling sooner, if it hadn’t been for my Label-Phobic Portland upbringing. Growing up in Portland is as close as it comes to literally living a Linklater movie in real life. People are amazed when I tell them I’ve never done drugs, ever! Not even pot or a cigarette. I did inhale at a Led Zeppelin concert once, but that’s it! Because growing up in Portland, there was so much mist and perpetual rain, general weirdness, and constantly searching for the signs, that one didn’t really need to do drugs to get that “where the hell am I?” feeling. I pretty much felt like that all the time. Once in high school I remember looking at a pile of books all about the determining the “nature of the universe” and I thought “If I have to read one more book about the philosophy and nature of the universe I think I’m going to throw-up!”

Labeling is a no-no in Portland. Labeling was even subtly frowned upon in my family. I once asked my mother a question that everyone who’s a teenage should have already known by that age, which is “What religion exactly are we mother?” To which my mother, the mystic, looked puzzled a first. Then, as if she were just making it up at that very moment she said “Well, I think we’re Buddhist-Christian.” I balked and replied soberly  “That’s not a religion.” to which she reprimanded me saying, “Why do you have to always have to go and label things!

Because that’s what humans do, dammit! And I’ve finally accepted that I LOVE labeling things!!! I just do! I like putting things into little, and sometimes big, boxes and putting a label on it! It’s so refreshing, it’s even better than putting a bird on it! There’s certainty in an uncertain world when one puts a label on it. Not to mention you can really know which cord is which in the surge protector, or whether that box in your closet is Winter or Spring clothing!

So I urge you to resist any subtle messages there might be in “Portlandia” and “Put a Label On it!” You just might become more organized and discover where that missing blouse was hiding, although you most likely won’t discover the nature of the universe in the process!


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