Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Bags

The immense historical and social importance of the invention of the conveyance device we now know as the "bag" cannot possibly be overstated, so I don't know why anybody would even bother trying. You'll only look like a fool if you do. I was talking to this one guy not too long ago, and he said, "You know what I think? That bags aren't that big a deal. Think about it: who needs them, after all?" My outrage was such that I contemplated striking him about the face, but I knew that he was a surgeon, and needed his eyes to see. Were it not for his choice of profession, I would have blinded him with my fists.

And I would have had historical fact on the side of my physical aggression. Consider: the first bag, as we now know them, was mass produced in 1943 by Uncle Grampa's Item Holders, Inc. Prior to this, human beings had to carry around everything they wished to take with them in their bare hands, like monkeys. In 1942, the number of items dropped by people walking to and from the grocery store, bank, or neighborhood clothier had skyrocketed. The entire hardware store industry was on the brink of collapse, because potential buyers would look at the vast array of shovels, hammers, plows and various other heavy items, and just say "Fuck it. I'm not carrying that shit home."

Similarily, the war effort was failing, probably because you just can't store or transport ammunition in boxes. It simply doesn't work. Boxes are cube-shaped, so the bullets would be packed like sardines in orderly rows. However, bullets, much like fine wine, need to breathe in order to be effective, and you're just not going to get that with a box. Our soldiers would be over there in Germany, with a Ratzi lined up in their sites, and when he pulled the trigger what would he get? A whistling sound and a puff of smoke in his face! Embarrassing, to say the least. Luckily, our boys were also armed with knives, but an absence of well-aired ammunition still slowed things down considerably.

Then one day, in early 1943, a man named Daniel P. Roosevelt-Lindbergh (no relation to either) was carrying a box of marmalade to his car (which were so rickety and badly made in those days that they would often collapse under the weight of even an empty box, which, in fairness, were made of scrap iron salvaged from sunken U-boats), and he thought, "This is such bullshit. I gotta throw out my back for goddamn marmalade? I don't even like marmalade! Jam has that shit beat all to hell!" So he angrily, but with a sense of purpose, threw the box off of a nearby cliff, took his car off its kick-stand, lit his engine from a book of matches, unfolded the steering wheel, and "drove" home. All the while, holding on to that sense of purpose he'd felt before, because Daniel Roosevelt-Lindbergh had some inventing to do.

What he invented was the "bag". Initially dubbed the "Roosevelt-Lindbergh Cloth-Woven Hold-All", Roosevelt-Lindbergh's prototype was basically just a bunch curtains that he'd nailed together. When he showed it to his wife, he said, "Honeybear, you'll never have to use your hands again, other than to carry this thing I just made." Upon hearing the news, Mrs. Roosevelt-Lindbergh wept openly and without shame.

After weeks of successful field-testing, Roosevelt-Lindbergh realized that he'd actually invented something, so he took his "hold-all" to the headquarters of Uncle Grampa's Item Holders (who previously focused their attention on manufacturing the much-hated box, tweezers, and those claw-dealies you use to move logs in the fireplace. "Log-movers", I guess). Bringing with him a variety of canned goods in order to show Uncle Grampa's marketing team how the hold-all worked, Roosevelt-Lindbergh's presentation was an immense success. The people at Uncle Grampa were so taken with the invention, in fact, that they offered Roosevelt-Lindbergh a one-time payment of a handful of dried peas for the rights to manufacture, produce and sell the hold-all. Upon receiving this offer, Roosevelt-Lindbergh is said to have asked, "Is that pretty good? I mean, is that a lot to get paid for something like this?" To which the head of Uncle Grampa's acquisition team replied, "It's so much that I'm probably going to get fired just for offering it to you." "Then I accept!" cried Roosevelt-Lindbergh, grabbing the dried peas and fleeing the building.

One of the first things the Uncle Grampa marketing team realized was that "Roosevelt-Lindbergh's Cloth-Woven Hold-All" was a shit name, and they promptly went about thinking up a better one. After kicking around a few ideas, on a whim someone took out a dictionary and looked up the word "bag". Reading the definition -- "a flexible container with a single opening" -- they all collectively realized that they had all just literally made history.

Posters went up across the country proclaiming the bag as "A Terrific New World-Wide Sensation!!" and "An Astonishing New Item, Available for Purchase!!" One of the most famous and popular ads went directly to the heart of our nation's involvement in World War II (and helped turn the tide of the conflict towards an Allied victory). It featured a young red-headed boy with freckles carrying a giant bag full of war bonds. Lurking behind the bushes are Tojo and Hitler, their faces etched with fear and anger. The ad copy says: "Would You Like to Help Defeat the Axis Menace? YOU CAN!! Carry a Bag with You!!"

And so we now live in a world where bags are plentiful, and those miserable fucking boxes are all but forgotten. Old women can now carry their perfume and Boggle games and thousands of cigarettes with them easily, without fear that they will lose a single item along their journey. Young children can effortlessly transport their Football Cards and swimming whistles. Even insane homeless people have a place to store their tin foil and imaginary pets. So thank you, Daniel P. Roosevelt-Lindbergh, for the better world you have made for us. And knowing what you accomplished, I bet those dried peas tasted extra sweet.


Fox said...

F**k bags!! Who ever heard of storing things in bags? You can't stack bags!!! When you need to move, you don't use bags!!!!

If bag enthusiasts such as you keep this up, then us box people are gonna really show you what the score is.

Do you want your Rocky box set from Amazon delivered in a bag or a box?? HUH??? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Bags are cute and all, but boxes are the backbone of society!

p.s. You probably buy bag cereal. PFFT!

bill r. said...

You know what's funny about you box-ists? How stupid you are.

First of all, if you ship an item the shape of which is not square, I guarantee you that it will be square when it reaches its destination. And who wants that? If you're shipping something that is square in shape, then why bother with a box? You can ship it in a bag instead.

If it were up to you guys, Hitler would have won. Hitler! Think about that.

Fox said...

Um, excuse me sir. Have you ever seen the word "puncture" in a dictionary before? Cuz that's what happens when bags try to transport square things. Bags have no insulation in them like cardboard boxes do. [NOTE: Cardboard Boxes won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962] [side-NOTE: If you try to look that up and come up empty, it's likely because bag propogandists have erased it from history books.]

Now, ok, with liquids you have a point. (I mean, who would ever wanna put on a cardboard condom?) But for the most part bags are low rent. You yourself even mention homless people in your celebration of them! Homeless People!!! Yeah. Now there is the kind of poster child I would want flying on my propoganda flag!

And I can't believe you played the Hitler card on me! It's a well known fact that Roosevelt-Lindbergh was producing bags for the Nazi's in WWII with the offensive slur "Judebeutel" printed on them. That info is totally on the internet if you don't believe me.

bill r. said...

I'm sorry, I forgot that box people hate the homeless, as well as everyone else less fortunate than they are. Thank God for people like Roosevelt-Lindbergh, who used his invention to help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. At least somebody cared.

And boxes did NOT win the Nobel Prize in 1962. They won the Gold Globe, which, who cares about that shit?

If Roosevelt-Lindbergh was making bags for the Nazis, he would have died a millionaire, because those Nazis were loaded. But he died penniless! He didn't care about that, probably, but still. And he had a house made out of bags to keep him safe -- until it blew down and he died -- which he wouldn't have had if boxes had anything to say about it.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I like bags ... they remind me of a date I once had.

But seriously, now folks, what you really need to carry your shit around is a small person. You know, somebody smaller than you so you could make them carry your shit around. Then you'd never have to worry again.

bill r. said...

I'm not going to lie to you Rick: that's a fantastic idea. The only problem with it is that people would probably claim it's an "inhumane" practice, what with politics and everything. But your plan to have small people carry the items of larger people fills me with hope that one day we can make midgets do whatever we tell them to. It sounds like a beautiful future.

Rick Olson said...

Midgets? How un-PC of you, Bill. I was thinking more along the lines of women.*

*DISCLAIMER: this is intended to be ironic humor. That is, the maker of that remark in no way believes it himself, he is making an ironic commentary on people who DO. Don't hit me, Marilyn.

bill r. said...

Oh, Marilyn never comes around here anymore. Since canceling "Marilyn Mondays", I guess she thinks there's no point anymore. So if you really want women to be made to carry your goods and pocket change, then say so! You have nothing to fear anymore! It's a new dawn!

jryan said...

You know, it doesn't even have to be a SMALL person so long as you are of superior breeding.

If this notion confuses you I have some literature I can forward.

bill r. said...

By "literature", do you mean newsletters? I hope so, because I freakin' love those things! They teach me so much about the New World and the various race wars that are on the horizon.

jryan said...

Yes, a newsletter. In this age of discovery I have long since abandoned the pamphlet business.

Ps. On a side note, I thought you might enjoy watching this Dan Simmons Youtube video... it is from one of his book signings and it's pretty interesting. It's all about Charles Dickens and where the idea for Drood came from.

jryan said...

Hmmm... that got cut off.

The missing part is:


Greg said...

I have bags under my eyes. They were made by me. I also have a small person who holds a parasol over my head as I stroll through town. Since my manservant is small, I have employed a second small person to carry him so that he will be tall enough to hold the parasol over my head.

bill r. said...

I'll check that out when I get home...or will I? Honestly, despite all my problems with Simmons, what little I know about Drood makes it sound really fascinating, so I don't know how much I want to know about it before I read it. Does the clip seem especially spoiler-y to you?

bill r. said...

Since my manservant is small, I have employed a second small person to carry him so that he will be tall enough to hold the parasol over my head.

See? Now that's thinking. My small manservant had to keep hopping to cover me with the parasol, but it didn't work. I still got rained on, and the sun still shone upon me.

jryan said...

On Drood: What I saw was a description of the characters in the book from an actual historical perspective rather than the story of the actual book.

If that helps...

jryan said...

Oh, aslo, why stack two small pack-men when you can have one large muscular dim witted savage?

bill r. said...

I'll start watching it tonight, and if I start hearing too much I'll turn it off.

The only thing I don't get about this book is that he was originally going to call it The Great Oven. How can he think Drood was a better title? I mean, I can imagine why Drood is appropriate, but better? It's like when Elmore Leonard screpped the title Hitler's Birthday in favor of Up in Honey's Room.

Greg said...

why stack two small pack-men when you can have one large muscular dim witted savage?

The two small manservants speak to a more refined sensibility expected of a man of my stature in the community. The large dim-witted savage is the kind of thing you see the Nouveau Riche flaunting, garishly I may add.

bill r. said...

You know what I've seen? Poor people using their own children in place of small manservants. As if we won't notice! Nice try, poories (that's how I refer to poor people)!

Greg said...

Oh my, how I laugh when I see a couple of foolish poories using their children like that. Of course, we can only hope to lead by example. Noblesse oblige, Bill, noblesse oblige.

bill r. said...

I suppose you're right. Put off as I am by their boorish ways, perhaps we should set up a foundation for the poories. We could call it "The Bill and Jonathan Foundation for the Betterment of Poories, and the Education of Same Regarding the Proper Use of Smaller Individuals". Something like that.

jryan said...

I'll have you know, Johnathan, "garish flaunting" of our savages is simply the debunked mantra of a blue-blooded Luddite.

The need for "extra hands!", as the catalogs profess, is no longer a concern since the invention of monkeys.

bill r. said...

Oh man. I knew this was going to turn into a fight.

jryan said...

No no, I'm cool. I'll admit that sometimes I will entertain a little nostalgia by taking my old shorty out of storage and setting him atop my savage.

If I didn't know better I would almost think the savage prefers it to the Monkeys ever probing hands.

But that is just my tendency towards anthropomorphic delusion, again. LOL, DUR!

jryan said...

My apologies. I meant to type "Duh DUR!"

Greg said...

I'll have you know, Johnathan, "garish flaunting" of our savages is simply the debunked mantra of a blue-blooded Luddite.

[Jonathan shakes head disappointedly]

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Tell you what old sport, you enjoy that stretch Hummer of yours while I pick Bill up in my classic Rolls Royce Silver Ghost for an evening of camaraderie and pithy story telling of the level only raconteurs like Bill and myself can appreciate at the Stork Club. I'd ask you to join us but you'll probably be busy ordering scampi and Easy Mac at the local Red Lobster.

[Jonathan's two diminutive manservants laugh and cheer, "Good one sir, good one." Jonathan slaps the first and says, "Shut up and put the parasol back up!"]

bill r. said...

Jonathan, jryan offered you the Peace Trophy, and you spurned it, or scorned him, or something like that. If our kind continues with this sort of in-fighting, then the poories will have found their opening, and after they've rent us asunder, do not think for a second that they will hestitate to feast on our innards.

Greg said...

I'll have one of my manservants deliver an olive branch along with an invite to the March Spring Celebration Ball at the Connecticut estate. Hmmm, which one, which one? I'll send the one I have slapped the least so that jryan is not offended by the redness of his face. And while he's gone I shall continue to beat the other one for my amusement.

jryan said...

Which came first, the shorty or the Silver Ghost? I would bet that, with a little more trunk space, you would consider a larger savage model.

I can fit my savage and several monkeys in the back of the Hummer.

You call it garish, I call it practical.

Also, coming in Q4 of 2011: Poorie pack-men! They will come in all sizes and shapes and be only slightly more educated than the savage.

Enjoy the strength of the savage, and the communication ability of the shorty with only slightly higher chances of rebellion!

bill r. said...

Slightly higher than what? Because I had two uprisings just last fall, and bullets are way expensive.

jryan said...

Average.... sorry. Higher than average.

I have told you, Bill, that you do them no favors by sparing the lash.

Leather is cheaper than lead.

.. ok, it's not... but whipping is cheaper than replacing.

Yeah, that works better.