Slice of Life #11: OK, OK, OK


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I was the first child born in my nuclear family, followed by two younger brothers. In 1984 or so, my youngest brother was two years old – I was six – and we were living in a cute little house in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse, New York. My younger brothers shared a bunk bed shaped like a fire truck in the one upstairs bedroom, and I had my own. I got to pick out the decorations when they redid the room a bit for me, so I selected cobalt blue carpet and a sky blue wallpaper with white cirrus clouds and bright pastel-ish rainbows. I had my pink Cheer Bear stuffed animal, my stuffed Snoopy my great-grandfather Butch got me, and my stuffed handpuppet cocker spaniel, Cuddles, and I was – as I recall – generally a pretty happy kid. Dad was a firefighter and wasn’t an officer yet, so he was still home regularly, and Mom was working regular shifts instead of lots of doubles or being a nurse manager; all that happened later as we moved to the suburbs, and life changed a lot. I still went to my city school, rode the city bus or walked, had a library with a big microfilm machine that I thought was so cool, and even got to play with some of the early computers they had there.

I liked stickers, and labels, and stamps. I liked them a lot. I really enjoyed making marks on things, so I drew and painted and doodled and sketched and used more Dymo pressure label tape than my father would have preferred, and spent hours fascinated by the small metal plates from fire apparatus he had, switches and buttons and words I didn’t understand at all on little metal plates that made things happen. Oh, I loved stuff like that.

I had a little round cylindrical self-inking stamp, a round ring around the outside, with blue ink, and in the center, in Helvetica font, it said simply “OK.” I could take the little plastic cap off, and press it onto paper, and BOOM, I had a beautiful mark, like I had put a royal seal on something.

My youngest brother got a hold of it and turned his attention to the bright sky blue wallpaper. OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK…

And the lamp shade, that was a nice touch… OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK…

The bed… the window shade… they were all now, officially, OK. Many times over.

For Christmas a couple of years ago, I got his two year old son an OK stamp and helped him open it. He’s a generally happy kid, and he likes to stamp things.

And that’s OK with me.