Do you remember those little label guns? The kind with the revolving alphabet and the colorful strips of label tape? You would spin the alphabet to the desired letter and then press the trigger, which would cause the letter to be stamped onto the tape. The letters would be raised and felt all bumpy when running your fingers over the finished product. Once you had spun and punched out the desired word or words, you would pump the trigger a couple of times to make the tape long enough to cut without spoiling your last letter.
Then came another part, the part of peeling the backing from the tape, leaving the adhesive so you could then position the label wherever your heart desired and then press it into place where the label would live happily ever after. Or until you decided to replace it with another label or somebody rubbed the bumpy little ridges too much and dislodged the brightly colored identifier.
That is when the fun would come to a screeching halt or if that sounds a little too dramatic when discussing the life of a label, that’s when the adhesive hell would begin. The hell of removing the sticky white-ish adhesive residue crap that the once merry and useful label left behind. You see that is when the polish remover would come galloping in to the rescue to make the world right again or at least less sticky.
This morning I was thinking about labels. That human need to categorize most anything and everything that comes down the pike, around the bend, over the hill and in our dales. I think naming, labeling and categorizing serves to help make sense of our lives, our worlds so to speak and in making sense then we feel safer, less vulnerable to the largeness of life.
What I am pondering today is whether the labels I have chosen ~ spelled, punched and stuck to the walls of my psyche ~ whether they are helpful or harmful, clarifying or stigmatizing. What labels might need to be re-named, revised or simply done away with. The worst that could happen would be some sticky residue left behind, right? And I know where I keep my polish remover. Truth be known, I always had a little crush on the label gun and those bumpy little letters so even if the revised label ends up not fitting, there can be as many do-overs as needed.