I woke up at 3 am and could not fall back asleep. I tried to read, but that didn't make me sleepier. I had a lot on my mind. I thought about my oldest finishing 4th grade. You get nostalgic when you can't fall asleep at 3 in the morning. When I was in 4th grade, we moved to a new neighborhood (the one I'm in now) and I would have gone to middle school in 5th grade if we had stayed.
In my reverie of those years, I reminded myself of a purchase I had been meaning to make. I wanted a few 2 inch three-ring binders for work and for home. But what I really wanted, what I was really willing--totally irrationally, I know-- to dig deep for, were the kind I had in middle school: the blue canvas-covered binders with the jagged jaws-of-death metal clip on the inside cover. You know, the one that badasses with chewed up jagged hard plastic Bic pens drew all over like drunk tattoo artists.
Before I heard a single track from "1984," I knew how to draw the Van Halen logo perfectly. Same with Twisted Sister. Def Leppard, of course. A blimp for Led Zeppelin. But I could never draw the tongue.of the Rolling Stones. I just imagined how much better I could make it look now than I did back then. Because surely I have decades of wisdom to improve my pen skills.
Thing is, I couldn't find these binders. I couldn't even find pictures for awhile. I found online forums from the early 2000s where like-minded people bemoaned their discontinued manufacture. I had to find out who made these in the first place. After a thorough search of Google Images, I settled on a preference for Pen-Tab, which had multiple kinds of inside covers featuring a grid for each of your class periods--I was smiling already, thinking about long thin lockers and hallway bells ringing--no longer existed. They were bought by Mead. The few I could find were going for $50-$100. Apparently, these were in high demand.
And then it happened. I tracked down a lot of 5--4 Pen-Tabs (rock on!) and 1 Mead (meh)-- for $50 on ebay! Do you know what modern day 2" binders go for these days?! And the pictures showed some fading, which only add to their authenticity, in my view. In the dark, pecking around on my iPhone, I didn't think twice about ordering them, and I realized my adrenaline was sky high. There was no way I was falling back asleep any time soon.