Jack takes a lunch box to school but when he goes to summer day camp, his carrot sticks, cookie and sandwiches (unvaryingly: one salami, one PB&J), travel along in a brown paper bag. At one point, maybe it was last summer or the summer before, Patti asked me to write his name on the bag. Soon this became a ritual and each morning after breakfast I would do more and more elaborate calligraphy to identify his bag.
Then I started making up panels from super hero comics and printing them on the bag with my ink jet. This year I alternate between dip pen hieroglyphics and watercolors and gouache (which look great on the biscuit brown paper).
When I first came to America at thirteen, I got my first lunch box. I think I picked it out myself, a Scooby Doo model. It wasn’t long before my classmates started to snicker and then openly deride me for my cluelessness.
Before long, I’d gotten the message and began to brown bag it. No name or watercolors.