As I approached the drug store checkout I was greeted by the biggest, brightest smile to dazzle these eyes in 30 years. It could have lit up Detroit for a week! The owner of that particular row of pearly whites was a young lady who, just for a twinkling, tweaked my twenty year old and transported me out of my 200,000 mile carcass.
The trip was over as quickly as it had begun when I placed my bottles of pain pills and Centrum Silver on the counter. “Do you have one of our Health Saver cards, sir?” she asked. “Somewhere,” I replied. “Maybe you can look it up in your computer.” “I’d be happy to but you should carry it with you” the teeth advised. Just what I needed … a lecture from a kid whose grandfather was probably around my age. Funny, but suddenly she looked even younger, especially with that gold ring in her left eyebrow.
“Do you have any idea what you’re asking?” I inquired, with a slight edge to my tone. Cool. I could still roar! Well, maybe a pushy purr. “You know how fat my wallet would be if I stuck everybody’s discount card in here?” Several bats escaped as I opened my leather filing cabinet. “I manage … no problem” she said with child-like innocence, hoisting a satchel that passed for a purse with one hand and punching the computer with the other. It all happened in the space of a wink and a smile, but it got me thinking.
I wonder if women appreciate how lucky they are to carry purses. When you come right down to it, they’re just big, portable pockets but oh-h-h the amount of stuff you can stuff inside! I’ve always been amazed that more women don’t actually buckle under the sheer weight of all that convenience.
Behold the guy, on the other hand, with only a thin, folded slab of animal hide supplemented by small cloth pouches sewn into his trousers … limited in practicality by any number of factors, ranging from capacity to dignity. Ever slip a ten-function Swiss Army Knife into your pants and have women greet you with a smirk that asks, “Got something in your pocket fella’ or are you just glad to see me?” To make matters worse, a guy has to sacrifice one pocket to store his wallet and leave enough room in the rest so he can get his hand in to take things out! To make matters worse, clothing designers are starting to eliminate some shirt and rear pockets completely in the name of style.
While we don’t carry the same number of items women do, I’ve often wondered whether that’s because guys don’t have to or because we can’t. In my wallet, for example, I have a couple of credit cards, motor vehicle documents, some permits, an insurance card, a bunch of receipts and some pictures that I frequently sit on but rarely see. Oh … once in a while there’s a little money in there, too.
Looking into a woman’s purse, on the other hand, can be an adventure. Did you ever see the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth? I took the trip once, right after I noticed my wife spending an eternity rummaging around in her bag just to extract something simple, like lipstick. Stuff expands to fit the space, so I was comfortable assuming that the combs, brushes, mirrors, things in tubes, various sharp pointy objects and other unidentifiables, plus a wallet with the usual contents, was typical. When ads say that something fits “conveniently into pocket or purse” they have no idea what they’re talking about … those are two different containers!
By the way, have you noticed how men either fold their money into a money clip or press it neatly into their wallets, while women just jam it randomly into their purses? I’ve always wondered how money got so wrinkled when it starts out at the bank looking so ironed. After taking my dark, mysterious journey into the unknown, I also wondered if there might be a more efficient way for women to reclaim objects from the nether regions of pursedom. Thus my short-lived Purse Tag Retrieval System (PTRS) was born.
It was a really simple idea: Just attach a piece of string to an object inside the purse, lead it out over top and place an identifying tag on the other end. Repeat this action for every item inside the purse. Then when the lady wants something, she merely pulls the appropriate string and voilà!
There were two keys to successful deployment of the PTRS system. First, it was important to keep the strings from tangling … second, and I must emphasize this, it was even more important not to get caught. Failure on this second point could necessitate quickly engaging another system, the PART (Pivot and Run Technique) taught to me at my Father’s knee.
I’ve wondered about all kinds of things through the years but boundless experience has made me a good learner. While it’s always fun to reminisce about certain aspects of pre-seniorhood, I’ve ultimately learned to keep my hands in my pockets and not to toy with the clerk.
Listen to Bananas Crackers and Nuts Podcast. Find Links under “Recent Podcasts”… and more shows on my Podcast Page.