Back 2 School: The 4 Change-Your-Life Items

It’s August, the time of year when you wander into Target (because you’re a regular damn person) and in the clearance section you see pool toys, water pistols, weirdly dented hibachi grills and tiki torches. And there in the seasonal section, a section of great prominence, you see it, like a zit growing beneath the surface. You see: “Back 2 School SALE.”

To a cool kid, Back 2 School sales are a heartbreaking omen of the impending ending of summer fun. But at least it meant you got to get some new shit. These are the four most life shaping purchases for going Back 2 School.

The Lunchbox

Before you had a car, you had a lunch box. And just like buying a car, lunch breaks have always been a big dick-swinging contest. It was Wall Street with juice boxes. Who’s got Lunchables, who’s got leftover pizza, who’s trading Oreos, I’ve got a Capris Sun, sold.  Best friends were bought and sold out there. But the lunch box, the lunchbox said everything about you. Your favorite band. Favorite cartoon. Picking out a lunchbox was probably the first real decision any of us ever made. Your selection spoke volumes to your character, and heaven help you if you brown bagged it. In middle school sure, but in elementary? Get out of town. That’s committing social suicide. The lunchbox selection was where we all had to take a stand. I remember screaming matches in my schoolyard over Ninja Turtles vs. Thundercats. And again to the Thundercat kid, go fuck yourself – you’re wrong admit it. I remember – that was the day I understood war. Heavy stuff.


Sneakers were one of those things that didn’t matter at all until one day, they mattered more than any other thing you ever had. Lunchboxes? Fuck lunchboxes. Next to sneakers they are nothing. A lunch box carries your food around. Your sneakers carry you around. I still sometimes wonder what my life trajectory would have been had I ever gotten a pair of Jordans (or Reebok pumps). I don’t know why schools go to the trouble of hiring school counselors. You want to know which kid has a shitty home life, just look at their shoes. You can tell which kid’s parents were poor -COUGH- four stripe Adidas, which were rich or which ones were going through a divorce. Those kids always had the DOPEST sneakers. Guilt sneakers are expensive.

Trapper Keepers (3 ring Folders)

Trapper keepers, spiral bound notebooks, folders, these were the tools we had for organizing our lives and doodling. I learned all of my doodles on notebooks. The trapper keeper was like your Facebook page before you had one. It usually told people your favorite pop star, TV show or sports team. At some point, you probably wrote your relationship status on one. And like Facebook, once you really start using it, it gets so full of shit that it kinda breaks and never works as well as it once did. It’s no wonder our generation is so scatter brained. We started out trying to organize our thoughts in a device with the cast of Saved By The Bell on it. Also, I just realized there are probably Kim Kardashian trapper keepers, and I am freaking out right now.


The backpack is the big daddy. You don’t really, unless your parents are crazy rich, buy a new backpack every year. So picking that one out was really important. It’s like an article of clothing you wear every day, style counts. I remember 6th grade was the year everyone switched to that canvas gym bag style and I was left with some dorky-assed shoulder strapped Jansport. No chest straps, no side pockets, only ONE extra small front pouch. Fucking humiliating. It can scar you. Look at Kanye. He spent the first part of his career wearing fancy backpacks. What horrific backpacks do you think hide in that guy’s closet? Must’ve been dark days in the West house back then.

So, as the Summer draws to a close and you look towards fall, hoping for yet another fresh start, treat yourself to some new sneakers. Maybe this is your year. And pray for Kanye West.

Follow Paul on Twitter: @pauldanke