printer tabs atmo -
where would i even begin atmo...

going back to the early 1980s i began to notice these very interesting color patterns on the back side of box flaps that contain normal household item such as soap, plastic bags, some packaged foods, etcetera. it took a few go-rounds in my head before these ubiquitous color tabs sunk in to my empty head and took root. before too long, i'd see them everyplace, and when i didn't see them, i searched them out. i'd go through the pantry. i'd go through the pantry at home when i visited my mom in bayonne, as well as my aunt and uncle in little silver. ya' know that scene in Close Encounters when the peeps are making little mountains with dirt and with their mash potatoes at dinner? well, that was me with these curious (atmo) pieces of cardboard.

eventually i started to rip them off the boxes before they were discarded. then, i decided they all were fair game and i'd rip them off well before the contents were empty. often, a missing box flap would spell the end of the container's ability to either close or maintain its shape. when the hunt got to that part of the time line, i was a wanted man in the eyes of anyone whose pantry i had recently visited. you heard about cats who stalk women and run up behind them and cut off their pony tails? that was what i became whenever i was in the same zip code as one of these little beauties.

by the time i had at least 500 assorted versions of them, i began to catalog and group them. soon after that, i would take each and every one and, with a sharp sharp sharp x-acto blade, carefully crop them out into neat little rectangles (or squares, as the case may be). the ritual of spreading out the catch of the week, getting out the cutting mat and some fresh blades, pouring a glass of red, knifing these little bad boys up, drinking even more red, continuing through the evening and squaring up each and every little piece of cardboard - man, to say it all was cathartic would be an understatement atmo.

all of this went on for more than 15 years. folks who knew of my folly had begun to look through their packages for "...the good ones" that were not common in my collection. it got to the point that i had thousands upon thousands of printer tabs (i DID find out at the front end of all this that these beauties are part of the box printer's registration and bullet marks that ensure a box of Ritz Crackers looks right, as would a carton containing Glad cello bags, or even a six of Rolling Rock. it was odd though, iirc, twelve packs ALWAYS had the better color tabs to mine.

these things took over my life. i'd use them to make hand made thank you notes. all of our (that is - me and my wife, aka The Lovely Deb) wedding invitations all had these as part of the decoration. i even used the little pieces of paper for art projects and had stuff (with them) hung in local galleries. heck - i even sold some!!

all of the booty has remained untouched for about 6-7 years as my life and interests have moved to other places. but as the deconstruction situation continues here in NoMaChe (the acronym i gave to our district of north main street in chester), seeing these scores of plastic bags on the back wall of a little used closet has been a nice reminder of a pleasant distraction i once allowed in my life atmo.
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