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A Desk Defiled

When I was about eleven years old, my grandparents gave me my mom’s old desk. It was the one that had sat in her room all throughout her childhood and where, I imagine, she had sat doing homework and writing notes to Kathy Palmer. It was a meaningful gesture, one whose meaning I did not entirely grasp at the time; I was mostly just excited to have a desk. As an avid lover of all office/school supplies, this was a perfect addition to my room. It added an air of sophistication and I finally had somewhere to put that small, purple stapler. “I’m BUSY at my DESK!”, I could tell them when they pestered me to take out the garbage cans or make my bed.

One day, while lying under the desk (presumably on the phone), I noticed that “Beatles forever!” had been written in my mom’s handwriting on the bottom of the desk. When I asked her about it, she told me she had written it in the 60’s, at the height of her Beatlemania days. I thought it was cool. But again, I did not know just how cool, endearing and special it was. Although I had my own budding relationship with The Beatles, I was a full-on fan of the band 311. (You may remember them by their hits, “All Mixed Up” and “Amber”.) I sobbed when my big sister did not offer me her extra ticket to their concert. I was devastated that my 16 year-old sister flat out refused to let me, a 6th grader, join her and her friends at the show. It was around this time, that I decided that 311 was going to be my favorite band forever and ever, just as The Beatles were my mom’s. I crawled under the desk and not far from “Beatles forever!”, I wrote, “311 forever!”

antique-secretary-desk

 

311 and The Beatles, one in the same. How could we forget how 311 changed popular music forever with lyrics like, “Whoa ohh Amber is the color of your energy”?

On top of professing my 311 devotion, I also carved my initials into the top of the desk. When the time came for me to get a bigger, newer desk a few years later, my family noticed my handiwork. My parents, grandparents and uncle all scolded me. “Don’t you have any respect for things people give you?! This was your mother’s!!” My excuse of, “Mom wrote on it too!” got me nowhere. My graffiti, though, had gone above and beyond. Unless 311 made a big comeback, it didn’t look like they were going to evolve into one of the most influential bands of all time. Plus, what kind of little shit CARVES into their mother’s childhood desk? I’m 30 years old and still cringe (and laugh) when I think of it.

Last week, I was lying on our living room floor, stretching. I was staring up at the underside of my portable standing desk when I noticed that my boyfriend had written “311 forever!” on it. Apparently he had written it on there months ago when he was putting the desk together for me. If true love isn’t recreating an awkward anecdote from your girlfriend’s childhood, I don’t know what is.

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