You dropped your pocket

As warmer weather arrives, many of us find ourselves suffering a severe shortage of pockets.

We're very busy people. Mobile. We need pockets for all our stuff as we hurry from place to place. As the slow strip-tease of spring takes us toward the island-castaway summer outfit of swimsuit and tank top and sandals, we have fewer and fewer pockets to go around.

It's a sign of sophisticated simplicity to go around with free hands. If you're not lugging a briefcase and a laptop and a cell phone everywhere you go, it means you've made some good choices in life. You haven't become a slave to business and its machines.

But we all have our stuff. Money. Sunglasses. Certain necessities like car keys that we need handy, yet in a safe place where the dog can't swallow them. And for these items we need pockets.

I travel light, but as I write this, I have the following in my pockets: wallet, comb, keyring, loose change, grocery list, checks and deposit slip for pending trip to the bank, blank paper (in case inspiration strikes), pen and business cards. And that's while I'm sitting here at my desk, phone and coffee cup within easy reach. Imagine if I needed to go outside.

I used to carry a Swiss Army knife, so I always had ready access to a corkscrew. Now there's no room in my pockets for it, so I've had to resign from the Swiss Army. Better not to be packing a knife these days anyway. Never know when you might get patted down.

What about people who carry more stuff? They've got it hanging all over them. Key chains jingling on belts and pagers clipped onto pockets and cell phones holstered on their hips. We're all starting to look like cops, the tools of our trade weighing down our belts.

(I saw a guy in a coffee shop the other day. He had the usual battery of high-tech toys on his belt, threatening to "pants" him, plus he wore a telephone headset and talked loudly as he weaved between tables. I'm thinking: Yeah, yeah, we're all impressed by what an important little businessman you are. But we'd be more impressed if you were so successful, you could afford to take a leisurely, phone-free coffee break.)

Once you pass the dangle limit, you must graduate to a purse or a book bag or a briefcase or a backpack or a llama. And life's responsibilities begin to weigh you down.

A note: Avoid the "fanny pack." Any item that includes the word "fanny" in its name is a bad fashion choice.

Some people try to solve the overflow of stuff by adding pockets. That's how "cargo pants" were born. They're very popular with boys, especially if at least one of the pockets is big enough to hold a live frog. But these pants are not for us middle-aged men. The big side pockets tend to emphasize the hips, which call enough attention to themselves already. (See "fanny pack" above.)

Now that it's warm, we'll soon go around in our cargo SHORTS, with ever more stuff crammed into fewer pockets, bulging out so much it looks like we're wearing bustles.

Have you seen the TV commercial for the stealth trousers that have cargo pockets hidden inside the legs? In the ad, a woman peers through X-ray glasses and can see the male model's cell phone and pager and other junk all zippered away in there alongside his thighs. She's VERY impressed by this, which is surprising when you consider what else she might be espying through his pants. Maybe Mr. Headset in the coffee shop knows something I don't.

It's time for a solution to the pocket shortage. It's time for America's technological and business geniuses to get together and design something that fits all our needs so we can continue to race headlong through life unencumbered.

I suggest utility belts, like Batman wears. All our little tools of life encapsulated in one snug package, everything miniaturized and computerized and labeled with cool bat logos. Strap that baby on with your swimsuit and you're ready for summer.

If someone can figure a way to include a cup holder, we'll pay extra.

No comments: