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Jerome Christenson: Summer brings pocketful of challenges

Jerome Christenson: Summer brings pocketful of challenges

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Jerome Christenson

Jerome Christenson

I lost my quarters in the couch cushions and there’s a sore spot where I’ve been sitting on my keys. Much as I love the summer sunshine, I hate coming up short on pockets.

Say what you may about frostbite, wind chill and alternate-side parking, walking around in a Minnesota winter a guy has places to put stuff. A parka has pockets aplenty, and, other than averting hypothermia, pockets are about the best reason I can think of for wearing clothes.

It’s interesting to consider that if people were built more like kangaroos and only lived where it’s warm, Hugh Hefner might never have made a dime.

Now I’m not talking about pockets for pockets’ sake — guys who walk around in pants with button flap pockets sewn to the knee just look silly — I’m talking about pockets that hold stuff, let you carry stuff around without using your hands, your teeth or balancing it on the top of your head.

I’m talking about the pockets that make it worth your while to pull on your pants in the morning — worth your while because there’s no place for a wallet in your skivvies.

That’s really the nubbin of it. It’s not the pockets that count, but the stuff we stick in them. An empty pocket is nothing but a double layer of cloth; a pocket with something in it can be as good as life itself.

Nobody wrote down who invented the pocket — I suppose because nobody had any place to carry a pen — but I don’t doubt that shortly after Adam donned the first fig leaf an apple pocket was quick in coming.

As every middle school domestic science student used to be taught, nature abhors a vacuum and an empty pocket. In time a whole industry grew up adapting devices to be carried around with a few coins and half a roll of Tums.

The fact is, to get through the average day, a guy needs a certain amount of stuff and having that stuff close at hand sure makes the day go better. And it wasn’t just the stuff you were gonna need … there was always some stuff you hoped you might need.

“Be prepared,” we learned as Boy Scouts and the circular ridge in every high school senior’s wallet proved the concept stuck with us right through theoretical adulthood.

For young folks, acceptable pocket contents have changed dramatically since I started to sprout. The jack knife that went everywhere I did from my first day as a Bobcat Cub is now a deadly weapon, zero-ly tolerated any place it might prove useful.

The pocket tin of aspirin I had to hold off a high school headache is now a cache of dangerous drugs, and the pack of smokes carried to be cool is a sure-fire ticket for examination, expulsion and rehabilitation.

Over the years I’ve learned few things come in handier than a pair of pliers in my pocket, even if they don’t go well with a suit and tie. The pocket flask is one of man’s great inventions, and I’ve heard a pocket full of money is a great thing to have, but only second hand.

With summer upon us and pocket space again at a premium, I look with envy at the ladies, never at a loss for whatever they may need thanks to the handy, dandy satchels slung over their shoulders.

It was a great error when Adam settled for pockets and let Eve carry a purse.

If you’re not a kangaroo, life just isn’t fair.


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