Remember when you got to pick out your brand new lunch box, how fabulous it felt? You were on top of the world. You had the new shiny plastic or vinyl art square with pictures of your favorite show or character. If you are old enough (like some of us. I’m not pointing any fingers) you even got to tote the cool metal lunch box to school with matching thermos.
Heaven help the child that was brown bagging it. The lunch box was a symbol of who we were and how cool we could be. There was no way in (heck) we’d be talked into using our kid brother or sister’s should something be wrong with ours for a day. No way! Buying lunch – okay. We’d be down with that… if the food was cool.
We may be older, but the routine remains the same. Each year before school begins I go through the ritual of buying new lunch boxes with my kids. This year was my daughter’s first year to be a part of this, as she finally got to head off to the “big kid” school in August. My son was easy; for the first time he didn’t have an opinion, a specific character wasn’t needed and so a solid color fit the bill. But finding just the right box for my girl was a must. After all this was a big event! Her first time taking her lunch to school on a regular basis.
Success under our belt, she headed off to school and was happy sporting her new pink poke-a-dot Hello Kitty lunch box. She was the one and only in her class with that particular box. In fact, the class size being limited to only twenty, there really wasn’t any duplication of lunch boxes. That was pretty amazing. Of course our luck would not remain as such. The Hello Kitty lunch box was just far too cool not to be duplicated and, before long, another in the class had the exact same one.
Now I don’t know if you are familiar with how they work the lunch box collection, but they aren’t kept nice and neat in each child’s individual cubby as you see in the movies. At least, not at our school. No, they are all thrown into one big bin marked with the classroom number on the side that is hauled out to the lunch area each day. As a result, the girls with matching lunch boxes need to be careful to grab the right box each time. Clearly their name is written on the back in BIG BLACK LETTERS. But they are only five and six so you can only expect too much.
So the time came that her box was looking a little shabby anyway and I decided to pick her up a new one. It was hot pink, shaped like a handbag with a little dog in the front. It was Barbie’s handbag with a Chihuahua along for the ride. She was ecstatic! And the tale told when she returned home from school would lead you to believe that for the next couple of days (anyway) she was the most popular girl at the lunch table. Everyone wanted to sit next to Monkey and her new fancy lunch box.
Today, as I dropped her off for school in the morning, I noticed that her BFF was now carrying the same exact lunch box. It didn’t take long for someone else to pick up the cool new style. It made me think about so many things in life. How often do we see something a friend or neighbor has and wish for it ourselves? It’s a case of the grass is always greener. We all fall victim to it. I know I do, more often than I care to admit. For example, right now there are several neighbors who’s kitchens I covet. Someday. That’s what I must keep reminding myself. Or new carpet might be nice. To say that ours is dead beyond decay is too nice of a description. LOL. All things in their time.
But it starts early, doesn’t it? When we are mere children. Wanting a toy, a game, or a really cool lunch box.
Do these things make us happy? Sure they do! Temporarily. Until the next thing comes along that we want or must have. Will we ever rise above such petty ways? Mm, it’s rather unlikely. It’s wired into our DNA. The idea is an interesting one though. Can you remember the first time you felt the desire to get something because someone else had one like it? Have you felt that way recently?