Monday, February 16, 2015

A Fistful of Satchels

I just had a chance encounter with a gritty old man who was carrying a satchel.  It was a minor incident that occurred during an otherwise mundane trip to the grocery store to get bread and milk.  No, this wasn't one of those "Oh no, it's cold outside and there may be bad weather" freakouts, this was business as usual.  We're a family of six.  We always need bread and milk.

Anyway, as I was walking through the parking lot, I passed an old man with a satchel.  He was wearing a leather jacket and he had his hair slicked back. The presence of his satchel required him to thrust his chest out and throw his shoulders back.  Sometimes you can read another person's thoughts.  This old guy was challenging the world, daring someone to say something about his satchel.  Yes, satchels have a bit of a stigma, and this dude was well aware of that, and he wasn't going to take any shit about it.  He paused long enough to regard me with a steely gaze.  Okay, that last bit was an example of poetic license--he did pause, but he had on mirrored sunglasses.  Honestly though, I'm willing to bet that there was a steely gaze beneath those sunglasses, and aren't mirrored sunglasses the eyewear equivalent of a steely gaze anyhow?  But I digress.  He studied me, his satchel at his side and his teeth clenched together.  He was going for that expression that Clint Eastwood used to make whenever he had a chance encounter with a bad guy in the saloon.  Typically, this was followed by a confrontation that ended with Clint pulling his six-shooter and shooting three or four goons in the blink of an eye.  Honestly, the old guy was doing a pretty good job with the expression, but if I'm going to be completely transparent here, the satchel did keep him from nailing it.

Regardless, he looked at me, wanting me to say something about the satchel.  "Dude, I'm wearing slippers.  Your beef's with them, not me," I wanted to say, but I didn't.  I probably should have.  It could have been the start of a truly unique conversation.  Of course, it also could have been the catalyst for a beating at the hands of a tough old man with a satchel, and you can't walk away from something like that with your pride intact.  In closing, all of this begs the question: if you get beat up by an old man, do you save face or lose face if he had a satchel that he used as a weapon?  I'm thinking that you probably lose face.  Even if he had a brick in there and he thumped you with it, it's still a satchel.

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