Pity and Nutrition
One of the great disappointments of my childhood was that my mom would not let me get a cool lunchbox. Paper bags had served her well through 5 children and she was not about to change course for the sixth one. But she underestimated my ability to beg.
I wanted a Brady Bunch lunch box something awful. I dreamed of bringing the Partridge Family to school with me every day.
But my ma would not budge.
"I'll spend all that money," she would say (meanwhile, how much could lunch boxes have cost in the early to mid-'70s??) "and then you'll end up liking some other TV show and want something different the next year."
So my mother disagreed with lunchboxes in principle, and even if she DID change her mind -- she wanted me to take one lunchbox to the grave. Hard to concoct an argument to counter that when you're 7.
But then I saw the lines of reasoning she would go for: Pity and Nutrition.
Pity: Milk cost a dime. I explained to my mother that when she sent my lunch in a brown bag, the dime would routinely slip between the folds of paper at the bottom and I would be reduced to tears. Could she imagine her only daughter going without a healthy, vitamin and protein-packed beverage? Sniffle.
Nutrition: Lunchboxes have Thermoses. You can pack all sorts of wonderfully nutritious soups in Thermoses, Mom. (P.S. I hated soup -- that is how desperate I was.)
But somehow it worked! The next August she said I could get a lunchbox! But then declared that SHE would pick it out. Tearful, I agreed. And what did I get? The classic red plaid.
My embarrassment at carrying that lunchbox for the next three years would only soften in my late teens when, consumed with punk chic, I carried a replica as my purse.