By Rick Reynolds
By and large, women don’t have pockets, so they don’t understand the problems associated with them. Pockets accumulate stuff that, in turn, can cause friction in relationships, damage in expensive machinery, and even legal problems. Allow me to explain.
First of all, there’s the complexity of the issue. Men have two shirt pockets, four to eight pants pockets (if you count inter-pocket change pouches and leg pockets), and two sweater vest pockets, not to mention fleece, jacket & coat pockets. That’s a hell of a lot of pockets to keep track of. To make matters worse, my wife is always asking me to carry something for her because she has no pockets. When I point to her pockets, she tells me they’re only decorative. So what’s the problem? you ask.
To begin with, there’s the issue of laundry. Try as I might, I can never seem to empty all the pockets, all the time. In any given pocket, at any given moment, there can be anything from gum, to money, to balled-up paper towels, to car keys, to Magic Markers, to incriminating food receipts–and a smart phone.
Gum alone has nearly cost me my marriage. Gum and dryers make a bad combo. Washing machines and smart phones are a bad combo. Back in my Chappaqua days, my wife and I dry cleaned most everything, and the nice drycleaners would hand me a large bag with all my pocket stuff when I picked up. Now my wife hands me ultimatums when our clothes become co-mingled in bubble gum.
Ball-ups are another quandary. I have a problem with paper towels in that I compulsively tear them off and they end up as ball-ups in my pockets. After a thorough washing, much of them ends up as lint in the dryer, but some act as carriers for the–well, the bubble gum. On the bright side, I am sometimes able to reuse the nicely laundered paper towels, if not the bubble gum.
Paper money is less of a problem, though my fifties end up so bleached out they get inspected at retail outlets. Change is another story. Coins make a racket in the dryer and can damage delicate fabrics. But interestingly, pocket change can even cause legal issues.
I was once prepping for a legal dispute with a rogue business associate when my attorney asked what the noise was emanating from my pocket. It took me a while to locate the source of the noise, but in fact, I was jingling my loose change, which I was told, in no uncertain terms, was a no-no. Apparently it would indicate nervousness and therefore guilt in the eyes of the arbitrator. And here I was the plaintiff! I told my lawyer that, as the complainant, I deserved to be a little edgy.
After relieving me of my coins, my lawyer then asked me what the new clicking sound was. To make a long story short, he took my Tic Tacs too–and subsequently sequestered my Altoids–saying this fidgeting with my mints projected a lack of confidence–indeed, an audible indictment of my credibility. As such, he would not be able to represent me unless I emptied ALL my pockets.
Despite winning the case decisively in arbitration, my pockets were still under siege. My legal fees “coincidentally” came out to precisely the same figure as the compensatory damage award, leaving my pockets, once and for all—truly empty. And while I wasn’t actually out of pocket, my wife thought of it as justice served.
Chappaqua alumnus and 35-year resident of Chappaqua, humorist Rick Reynolds resides in southern New Hampshire with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.