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12/22/00 My Fantasy World
12/02/00 Merengue!
11/19/00 Laundry in Public
11/09/00 The Fly
09/20/00 Land of the Jogger
07/30/00 Noisy Neighbors
07/14/00 Bulk-Shopping Madness
06/23/00 My Backpack

My Backpack

There are so many topics that we could cover today: global warming, presidential elections, the ongoing Microsoft madness. After chewing it over at great length, I decided to share with you the contents of my backpack.

I carry a backpack wherever I go. Always have. My backpack has been to the nicest restaurants in town and the dirtiest digs of México. It has appeared in countless pictures and home movies. Some time ago, a friend asked me to be the best man at his wedding. When the big day arrived, I stood there beside him proudly wearing my backpack, which, I reasoned, matched the tuxedo. The bride's mother tried to pierce a hole in me with her... vision.

Because so many people have asked me what I have in my backpack that's so damn important, I will spill its contents for you now. If this doesn't interest you, bug off. It's my column.

First, there is my notepad, the most important article in my bag of tricks. This is where I jot down the notions that thrash about in my head and demand observation. My pad is full right now, so I'll flip to a page and read... A lot of good-looking faces are wasted on ugly people. This is a saying that will go into a coffee can labeled "Stuff I Learned While I Was Alive." Eventually, I'll send it out with my daily comic on the Internet. The three people who subscribe to the service are really going to like it.

Because I harbor an irrational fear of running out of ink, I carry... 14 pens, 3 pencils, and a stick of mascara just in case. There have been days when I was forced to carve key words into my forearm for lack of options.

The heaviest item in my backpack is always my book. Heeding the advice of my kindergarten teacher, I try to use my time constructively. When Ralph's only has one register open for its 200 customers, I read. It saves me from actually pondering the absurdity of the situation. I am presently reading two books. The first is titled The Energy of Money, which has taught me that I'm not really poor, I just think I am. The other is called Learn to Meditate, which I am reading because you guys stress me out.

There are my sunglasses (man, I miss the ozone layer). Inside my sunglasses case, there are two puffy ear thingies for muffling sound. I use them during company meetings.

There's my wallet, which I purchased for 25 cents at a Dead show a hundred years ago. It is filled with credit cards that collectively would not fill my gas tank. There's my Blockbuster card. Damn, I've had The Fight Club for 16 nights. Note to self: Buy stock in Blockbuster.

I've got one, two, three, four, five different sources of lip ointment: Vaseline Lip Therapy, Chapstick, Beeswax lip balm, Carmex, and Herpecin. Do I have problems with my lips? No. I have OCD.

There's a small green bottle where I store lotion. The guys will probably kick me off the hockey team for it, but you know where they'll turn when they've got chapped skin. Just this morning, I provided a wetnap for a little boy whose fingers were stuck together with rocky road ice cream. Sure, everyone made fun of me when I dumped those wetnaps into my backpack in The Mirage casino, but now look...

Then we come to my ziplock bag of orthodontic goodies. Those of you who have worn braces can appreciate this; the rest of you will continue to wonder why I'm free to walk the streets.

First, you need wax for when the braces cut into your cheeks and make the whole world taste like blood. A little ball of wax can save you hours of ache. Then you've got your toothpick, a dire necessity. You've got your dental floss with special fishing-line-loop-deals to get under the bars of your braces.

I personally have to carry those tiny rubber bands to correct my crossbite because my mom mated with a Boston Terrier. The only problem is that I can't keep those suckers in the bag. There are several hundred floating around in my backpack in addition to those I find in my hair, in my spaghetti, in my glove compartment, in my underwear, and in my cats' litter box. My wife is having nightmares where she tries to vacuum over a rubber band only to see it multiply by two with every pass.

What else? Reading glasses. Coins. Visine. Checkbook that doesn't work. Keys. Ginkoba Biloba tablets (I forgot those were there). Watch. More coins. And finally, a secret compartment where I've stored an extra car key ever since that day I locked my keys in the car with the motor running.

And that about does it. Mystery settled. My male purse has been turned inside-out.

Now imagine if I had to store all of these necessities in my pockets every time I left the house. I'd be a hamster whose cheeks are too full to turn his plastic ball. Frankly, I wonder how anyone could go out in public without a backpack.

And for those of you who sided with the mother of the bride-to-be, I'll have you know that my friend is no longer married, but I'm still carrying the same backpack.

 



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