Monday, February 13, 2006


In Trademark Law, we’re talking about what, exactly, can be trademarked. Can a certain color be trademarked? Can a certain sound be trademarked? Can a certain smell be trademarked? And if the answer to any of these things is yes, how do you pinpoint exactly what is covered by the trademark registration and what isn’t? All very interesting questions, though they’ve led to a far more mushy, philosophical class discussion than is typical of Professor Marbury.

They also led to a brief discussion of Mr. Sketch markers. The mere mention of them evoked an immediate and very strong memory of Mrs. North’s class, and the thrill of being picked to write on the flip chart with the scented markers. I always picked either the green (peppermint), the red (cherry), or the light blue (blue raspberry), in that order. I can still smell the exact scent in my mind. It was our reward for good behaviour at the end of a week: the afternoon spelling lesson or math lesson would be written up on the flip chart and each week, a different group of students was chosen to take turns writing the answers on the flip chart.

Years later, I found a box of them in a card store on a bottom shelf, incongruously stocked next to the scented candles and Precious Moments figurines. I had forgotten about them entirely and found myself compelled to buy the box, though I certainly had no real use for them in my every day life as a office drone/ college student. Over the years, they became my moving markers—I wrote “BOOKS—Living Room” and “LINENS—Bathroom” on multitudes of boxes with grape scented markers and then “WINTER SWEATERS—Bedroom” with orange scented markers and eventually, triumphantly “COLLEGE STUFF—Basement” in cherry scented markers. I currently have one single Mr. Sketch marker left: the light pink one, scented like raspberry (though it always reminds me of the smell of the think pink liquid penicillin given to children). It seldom gets used because it’s too dark to use as a highlighter and too light to use to mark moving boxes, and really, when else would I use a great fat marker these days?

Still, I’m finding myself longing for a new box of Mr. Sketch markers to call my own. I don’t need them—in fact, I really don’t need the extra clutter in my life and should get rid of some of the huge quantities of school supplies I’ve accumulated over the years. I’m about to graduate from what I imagine will be the very last school I ever attend, so the days in which I might, theoretically have to make a poster for a project are drawing to an end. What would I do with these markers besides uncap them to smell the scents? Lord knows, law school has been damaging enough to my brain, I don’t need to rush the onset of dementia by huffing lemon scented markers.



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