Friday, March 28, 2008


“Empty your pockets”, my wife says while holding a pair of my crusty jeans at arms length.

Kathie does the wash in the family. I used to do it, but was discharged when my everything-into-the-same-load-with-the-same-cleaning stuff policy rearranged the color combinations of her wardrobe in a manner she found unpleasant.

She won’t empty my pockets though for fear of what might be lurking within.
From the time I was a kid, I have always shoved things in my pockets. Never anything organic though. I learned early on that putting dead stuff in your pants was not a good idea. But any unusual rock, potential Indian artifact, unusual bottle cap, rusted piece of metal, or other object of interest I came across, into the pockets it went. Obviously, I spent a lot of time looking at the ground.

Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but I still do this. I am a walker and it is rare that I don’t comeback with treasures found on the trail. And since I submit my jeans for washing once a trimester, this stuff accumulates. I also mix in screws and nails from various household projects. Although, take it from me putting anything larger that a 6 penny nail next to your groin is hazardous.

So I don’t blame Kathie for not emptying my pockets. When I do actually download this material most of it goes into the trash. Objects that might require further examination go into one of my two top dresser drawers where they reside until doomsday. This is also territory where Kathie will not venture.

Maybe it’s just me. I would be interested in hearing if there are any other pocket packrats out there.

I have a feeling though that putting things in your pockets is mainly a guy thing. Feel free to disagree, but I believe that women don’t put things in their pockets because they don’t want bulges. For guys, having bulges in certain areas is a good thing (“Is that a roll of quarters in your pocket, or are you happy to see me,” as Mae West remarked.)

I also think that walking with your hands in your pockets is a guy thing. At the moment, I can’t recall ever seeing a woman walking along with here hands in her pockets. Most guys do it though. Father Kelly, the disciplinarian at the parochial school I attended, knew what we were up to and strictly banned the practice. He knew we were all indulging in a deviant practice he called “pocket pool.” You get the picture.

So the next time you see one of those iconic images of Marlon Brando or James Dean scowling at the camera with hands thrust in their jeans pockets, you will know what they are up to as well.

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