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The Man-Bag Movement

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Not that I need validation or anything, but that’s Terry Crews with his man-bag. Mine looks more rugged than his, but I wouldn’t say that to his face.

I admit it – I have joined the Man-Bag Movement.

I’m a disorganized person.  It’s a fact.  I have a horrible short-term memory, so the best way for me to find something is for me to leave things exactly where they last were, so I can use CSI skills to find them.  Nothing drives me crazier than not being able to find something because somebody moved them.

Growing up, I often clashed with my parents, particularly my father on this point.  It would get to the point that he would eventually swoop in and clean my room – which wouldn’t last long, because I would wreck the place again looking for the one particular adapter he put in some drawer.  The only one I could trust to put things in a place where I would put them was my brother, mostly because he and I shared a room for a long time before I got my own room, so he was well-practiced in the art of Respecting Older Brother’s Things.  While I pursued my Bachelor’s I couldn’t take the mind-clutter of keeping things neat (an apparent term of my continued “tenancy” at my parents’ place) and just paid him to clean my stuff every weekend.

Then I got married.  When I showed my wife how my workspace functioned and the best way to keep it together for me, she was horrified.  The first time I lost my wallet, she was not happy.  The 90th time I lost my phone, she nearly snapped.

“What you need,” she said, more or less, minus the strong language, “is a purse.”

At the same time, I was going through a clothing transition.  As a professional, I wanted to project a certain image with my look.  I had always taken my clothing for granted as a kid, mostly due to my schools always having a uniform policy.  In college, I noticed that clothing definitely made a difference.  I wanted to make the permanent switch to my “adult professional” look.

This wasn’t a problem.  In fact, as a big guy, my pockets were huge.  I was a professional beast on weekdays.  On weekends, however, my pockets bulged, pulling my pants down and even damaging the cloth.  It should be noted that the weekend is also the only time my wife really sees me.  Going out would take about a 30 minute head start for me to gather my bearings, let alone the possessions I would need.

A backpack would work, but my shoulders are much too broad to actually wear one.

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So I bought a man-bag.  I thought it would be the same as having a cinch sack in which to dump stuff.  Not even close!  It’s not about the container, it’s about the structure.  Grabbing my bag is like putting pants on with pockets already loaded for the situation.  The main pocket has the wallet inside, the outside pocket fits the phone.  The portable battery has its own compartment so it’s not in the way of the reach for the wallet.

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It feels nothing like a backpack.  The bag rests behind me until I swing it to my side to grab my phone like Indiana Jones reaching for his bag of sand – nothing like the hassle of fishing a wallet from a backpack.  When it’s time to go, I’m ready in seconds, waiting for my wife to be ready – as God intended.

(This kind of reminded me of high school too, because I used to wear my school-supplied laptop on my body.) I feel like if half the people who scoff at the use of a man-bag used one for three weeks, they would never go back.  First week to see the practicality, second week to use it on-the-go, third week to start exploring the other lesser-used parts of the bag.

If you want to look at the one I got, it’s here.

This is the obligatory paragraph where I admit my wife was right – and that not only was she right, but she was right while I was wrong – an important distinction.  It is apparently important that despite the win-win situation of me being more organized, I also acknowledge that on some scale there is an aspect of this situation in which she is the winner and I am the loser, and I acknowledge it here.

Oh shut up, guys, haters wind up single and alone.

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Quote from New York Times Opinion this morning

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.

Lifestyle of the Big & Tall

“It’s hard to get around in a six-foot town when you’re ten feet tall, everything’s so small; I keep on bumping my head, I’m way too long for the bed – it’s hard to get around in a six-foot town.” – Big & Rich

I’ve been a pretty big guy my entire life.

No, wait, that’s a complete lie.

I’ve been a pretty big guy since about junior year of high school.  I grew a foot between sophomore and junior year.  (As in, I got a foot taller, not that I grew an extra appendage.)  The change was so drastic that I actually had to re-figure out my body coordination, and I was pretty clumsy while that happened.  (My voice also dropped down several octaves at the same time, so I also had to relearn every song the choir sang.)  One of the major adjustments was in the clothes I had to wear.

At the time, my school uniform was composed of polo shirts and khaki pants.  Polo shirts were easy enough to find; the school sold them, and a generic XXL fit me like a poncho fits everyone – better on big people but the small ones make do.  It was in looking for pants, however, that I first ran into difficulty.

Apparently, pants manufacturers are convinced that all tall people are skinny, and all big people are short.  What about us giants?  I’m at like entry-level giant status; there’s a world of 7 foot people and bodybuilders with massive torsos that need clothes too! Are we doomed to wear gym shorts until we get interviews and have giant tailored suits that make us look like professional wrestlers running for office?

My shoes are 15W.  That’s W for “Wide.”  As in, a regular 15 will not fit me – and neither will a 16, 17, or 18.  As if it wasn’t rare enough to find a size 15 (Ross ends their shoe section with the graceful “Size 13 and up”), I had to have another qualifier in my life, that “Wide” part that makes me look shorter than six feet because I have the feet of a hobbit.

Well almost.  Mine aren’t gross and hairy.

Why do they not make gloves for people like me?  They’d still fit small people.  From my pinky to my thumb spread out is about 26cm.  My hands remind me of that scene from Frankenstein with the accidental strangling of the little girl.

Apparently, men like me are supposed to walk around in sweats and massive Hawaiian shirts until we befriend a tailor – which sounds like a side-quest from The Witcher series.

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… and of course, the deal becomes more of a factor when it comes to clothes shopping.  Think of it this way; when you get a free shirt, you get x amount of fabric.  When I get a free shirt, it can double as a tent or blanket if I need it to.

With the burden of finding these clothes firmly set upon her shoulders, my brave wife took me to JCPenney’s last Saturday, where we found our treasure; blue polo shirts (brand was The Foundry if you’re curious) on clearance.  8.99 each.  With her coupon, the discount went even further.  We exited the store feeling like we had just robbed the place.

So the next time you see someone tall wearing some strange colors, remember that not all of us have options.

What Do I Think Heaven Looks Like?

My personal heaven would look like a Las Vegas buffet.  All the people you would want to eat with are at the food table, yet inexplicably there would be one space at the food table open for you to stand, seemingly in the middle of the line.  From that one space, all the food in your arms’ reach are your favorites (be it sushi, lobster, or Costco hot dogs), and waiting for you to load your tray (which is found under the table) is a small dish on which sit your own monogrammed serving utensils.  You could eat as much as you want, try other people’s favorites, talk and talk and never get sick.  You would just feel a satisfied, full feeling for the day.

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I would hang this sign in my bedroom if I had enough wall.

Details of this experience include:

  • no sticky fingers.
  • self-refilling beverages.
  • that food replicating trick Jesus did with the fish so you don’t really need to get up to refill your plate.
  • nothing stains. (Heaven is WHITE)
  • hair stays out of food.

Even though you’re dead, humans keep on creating neat things.  Heaven loves this, so of course there’s a flawless Wi-Fi connection available throughout paradise.  It may go out once a year, but everyone knows by then to wait 3 days before assuming it’s gone.  You could still watch all the latest movies that you missed out on by dying.  Your dog would eventually join you if it didn’t die first, and now you can feed it all the food you want to without ruining his health.

Everyone wears sandals, but you can’t stub your toes.

Hell would be the same buffet, but every time you try to get food, it’s just closing.  The Wi-Fi works, but you can only connect every 2 minutes, and it goes out every 4 seconds if you use up your 30-Day trial period, which started about 29 days before you died.

You always stub your toe.  No callus is built, it hurts like a virgin toe every time.

5 Ways That Dogs Are Like Babies

A great way to tick off parents is to tell them you have dogs, so you know what it’s like a little bit.  I used to scoff at this comparison, but I’m inclined more to agree after being a dog owner for about 4 years.  I’ve found that when the pooping/eating machine doesn’t have the advantage of a biological imperative to nurture it into something conducive to the survival of the species, you can begin to see how having a little tyke might even be easier than taking care of a pair of eyeballs with a tongue and the memory of a goldfish.  So here are 5 ways that dogs are like babies.

(I’d give a disclaimer that this doesn’t apply to all dogs, and that this is my experience only, but if you need a disclaimer to know that, then I’m not sure I have enough initial respect right off the bat to accommodate you in such a way although now this parenthetical passage has in effect become a disclaimer, so I hope you feel accommodated now!)

1. The Obvious

They eat and poop.  Much like the larval stage of growth known as human infancy, dogs like to eat, pee, and poop.  This is so much of a priority for them that they determine the importance of other dogs and people by when and where they eat, pee, and poop.  I eat first, so I’m the boss.  I decide when they eat, so I am a god.  I relegate their pee and poop activity to confined spaces, which they love to freely rebel against at a moment’s notice. With a child, you decide when they eat, sleep, etc… eventually.  I mean, that’s the ultimate goal.  My dogs have decided that they only want to eat when the humans are gone, so as not to spoil their appetite for any human food that might come their way.  Whatever.  The food is there, dogs, starve if you want to.  I’m not about to come out with a plate of food every time I think they might be hungry.  If they don’t eat then, they’ll starve.

“But that’s not how babies work!” you cry.

Yes it is, it’s just not legal to treat them like that.  “You won’t eat?  I’ll take you back to the hospital and make a different baby.”

Just like you wish you could train your baby to sit in a cage for a few hours when you’re not around.  You know – for its own protection.  The difference in treatment is not due to an actual fundamental difference between the two – just a difference in how we’re allowed to treat each species.

… and I’m not pro-caging babies.  I would never do that to my baby.

2. Nothing is Their Fault

Try to complain about your baby or your dog anywhere.  You’ll get some of the most condescending messages ever.  Apparently nothing is their fault.  “You can’t blame a dog for being a dog!”  Isn’t that – practically speaking – what training is?

“Are you naturally inclined to pee on the rug?  Well let’s brainwash THAT out of there..”

That one applies to babies too. The only difference is when a dog bites someone it gets put to sleep.  Even then, people cry that it’s the trainer’s fault… but the action of putting it to sleep implies that the animal itself is responsible… or irreparable.

3. Food is Love

Apparently it’s the scent of mommy associated with food that makes baby reach for her… that and the safety association built in from hearing her voice in the womb.  (I read this somewhere, so don’t correct me on minute details like I’m some kind of charlatan for approximating some of this knowledge.  I never claimed that this was an academic journal of any sort.)

I don’t need to draw the dog parallel right?  If you have food, you have love.  My wife is the Treat-giver.  Tofu follows her around like a duckling.

4. The Noise

The only reason the phrase “smother a baby” even exists in the English language is because of their noise, oh the noise, oh the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!  I don’t mean barking, I mean full-on crying.  My Shih-Tzu sobs like a human being.  Whenever we cage him to go out, I half expect a cop car to be outside my house, wondering at the shrieks within… or at the very least a sternly disapproving middle-aged head of the Neighborhood Watch asking about “that strange music.”

At least do me a solid and sound like a dog.  What if his screams voice-dial 911?  (Not that a panicked scream automagically making your phone call the cops is necessarily an awful idea…)

5. The Whole Bed is Theirs

“Oh I don’t let my dogs on the bed.” you might say.  I don’t mind, go ahead and live your empty life.  My point is the amount of real estate dogs need when they lay down is unreal.