When I was growing up, the only thing better than a brand new box of crayons was a brand new set of markers. Maybe that was because I never got a brand new set of markers, or any markers, until I bought my own with my babysitting money well into Jr. High.
At the time, I thought we were simply a crayon family, whereas other people where marker families. Kind of like we were a Kellogg’s family, while my best friend always had Post cereals when I slept over. We had frozen vegetables; other families had canned. We were Girl Scouts; they were Campfire Girls.
Looking back on us, our family of five creative and high spirited children living in a two-story house whose walls my mother could not possibly monitor 24/7 in a time before washable markers where ever heard of, the choice of crayon over marker might have had some self-preservation qualities to it. (Now that I think of it, when my sister was 8 years old she woke up one morning with Papa Smurf stamped all over her face. We never did figure out who the guilty party was, but the ‘no marker’ situation is starting to make more sense the more I think about it.)
Suffice it to say, while I grew up knowing I wasn’t supposed to covet, when my friends pulled out their zipper bags bursting with shiny, slick markers in colors so vivid you wanted to lick them (hmmm…another reason why I may not have had markers), I couldn’t help but be a little jealous. Yep, I was a marker coveter.
Fast forward many years (no need to specify how many…) and here I am with a job in which, not only do I get to play with markers, but I get to NAME markers. That’s right. 10 gorgeous marker colors. I didn’t create the markers or the colors, but just by the fact that I got to name them they felt, they feel, like my babies.
I dove into the project the only way I know how––by calling on my inner 7 year old. Right away I started coloring and remembered how I felt whenever I got to borrow my friends’ beautiful markers. Coloring with navy blue made me feel important, profound, bottomless. There was no other name for this color than B. deep. The tomato red made me feel dangerous and exciting. B. fiery was perfect, both in emotion and hue. Using the sand color, I could almost feel the grains in between my toes. B. sandy felt just right.
And so the joyful process went until I had named B. sunny, B. rosy, B. fresh, B. bright, B. earthy, even B. sublime.
And then I came to the olive-colored marker. Green. All I could think of was envy––how I felt as a child when the 7 year old me wanted to slip that cool, sleek marker right into my own zipper bag. (Of course I never, ever, ever did. It was bad enough being a coveter; I would never be a thief, too.) But envy? B. envious? My inner 7 year old knew such a shameful emotion could not match this beautiful color.
So, I did what I always do when my inner 7 year old is stuck. I asked my actual 7 year old. I called my son over and showed him the project. I let him color with all the markers and I explained to him the names. He got it. And he liked it. Then I gave him the olive marker and asked what its name should be.
His answer was quick: “B. leaf.”
“Noooooo,” I answered. “You see how they are all descriptions of how you feel when you color with them? B. rosy. B. bright…B. leaf? You don’t feel ‘leaf’ when you color with this marker.”
“Well, it looks like a leaf. And when I’m coloring with it, it makes be B. leaf I could BE a leaf.”
I was about to tell him that didn’t make sense at all, when suddenly…it did make sense. It made “7 year old sense.”
And so the final marker was, and will forever be, named: B. leaf.
You see, that’s the kind of family the B. family is. Other toy companies might have logical names that have been strategized and focused-group until they’re proven to appeal to the widest market of parents across the county. Us? We have “7 year old sense.”
And that makes us B. very, very happy.