Label me loony

Last week I told you about all the press releases I get in my mail box and how I delete them all. At least most of them. I must admit there are a few product pitches I fall for, and most recently it was labels.

I'm a sucker for labels. Not labels marking a person part of this clique or that stereotype or a renegade marching to his or her own beat. No, I mean the labels marking a thing mine. Mine alone. Per the label with my name — and only my name — clearly printed for one and all to see.

I'm not sure exactly how my label obsession began but I think it had something to do with one of my favorite gifts ever received as a child: a book of labels all marked LISA, given to me by a well-intentioned relative. Stickers in the shapes of circles, stars, squares, hearts, rectangles bearing my name in block, cursive and wingy-dingly fonts of varied colors. They were lovely, and they were mine. Only mine, an uncommon affair in a family of seven kids. I marked anything and everything ... at least anything and everything that was mine.

The fixation on labeling all things LISA increased when I started babysitting and used my hard-earned cash to buy my own goodies — everything from books and records to socks, shirts, and snacks purchased just for nibbling on with my friends or by myself — and needed to protect such goods from some especially sticky-fingered siblings.

Label it or lose it became my motto. (Of course, the tactic wasn't always fool-proof.)

Then Jim and I first entered into twitterpated-ness, he fed into my labeling obsession right away in especially cutesy-coy fashion. Using an old hand-held Dymo label maker, he fashioned our first love note: a label reading "Iay Ovely Ouyay."

Labels continued to be the name the game from that moment forward. I labeled record albums, books, dishes and utensils shared during potlucks. I labeled the girls' clothes with their initials so they'd know what belonged to whom. And when they became old enough to steal my socks wear the same size footwear as me, I labeled the bottoms of my sports socks with MOM so they'd steer clear of mine. (Although as MOM upside-down is merely WOW, that tactic wasn't always foolproof either.)

Now that Jim and I are the only ones with socks in the laundry, it's pretty obvious the size 13 men's socks are his, the size 7 ladies socks are mine. No need for labels anymore. For the most part.

That didn't stop my heart from twittering a tad when I recently received an e-mail offering the opportunity to try out Name Bubbles, newfangled waterproof labels that stick to anything. Best of all, the PR company asked me to simply supply the name I wanted on my review labels and they'd be on their way to me. It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

And I didn't refuse it.

I gotta admit, though, that despite having no need whatsoever for waterproof labels fit for camp clothes, water bottles, and school totes, it sure was tough to not offer up LISA as what I wanted on the Name Bubbles headed my way. I seriously considered it.

What stopped me was knowing that if I had done that and Jim started seeing new evidence of my seemingly silenced labeling obsession, my dear husband would surely offer up his own label for me — that of LOSER.

So I caved ... and am soon expecting some shiny new Name Bubbles personalized with Bubby's real name.

I'm wondering if his future wife will one day rue a seemingly innocuous gift once given him by his well-intentioned grandma.

Photo: stock.xchng

Today's question:

Which of your possessions do you label? And how?