A bag is more than a carrying device. It is a statement about the wearer. A purse says, “I’m a woman and proud of it,” or “I’m Indiana Jones and proud of it.” A standard backpack says, “I’m a child,” or “I’m looking for a child.”
Being a fellow, I’d be judged if I walked around with either of those things. Some guys with backpacks do the “one arm” casual thing, but they can’t fool anyone. Backpacks are 50 feet deep in the Cavern of Lame.
I have to carry books around since I’m in college. Short of a dirty deer skin knapsack, there is nothing manly I can carry them in.
I used to think that, at least, but I found something in my shed last week. It was huge and army green. It was an American Tourister duffle bag.
Duffle bags are the last refuge of toughness for the college man. They’re big enough to hold 12 textbooks and Sam Elliot’s voice. They have zippers and three extra pockets that gape like the maws of hungry bulldogs. My duffle bag is Cerberus on a sling. It loyally guards the underworld of knowledge.
It’s heavy, too. When I slam it on my desk, all know the Jake has arrived. When I walk, I can rest my arm on it as I look down on the commonfolk. It makes one shoulder lower than the other, giving me a devil-may-care cowboy swagger.
When I get home, the first thing I do is toss the 50 pounds of book onto my couch. When this happens, I feel like I’m throwing a bag of money to an evil arms dealer so he knows I’m satisfied with the product. I most certainly am satisfied with the product.
In a hardcore world, a chap needs to be able to carry his things. In an era where everyone judges you, it can’t hurt to be holding a massive bag. For all they know, I could be holding secret documents, nunchucks, dead birds, or maybe every bit of scripture McGraw-Hill have ever made. Here’s a hint: It’s all of them.