The Meaning of Adequate Pockets

It occurred to me the other day that a man can be measured by the adequacy of his pockets. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. succinctly stated that a person might be measured by something other than the color of his skin; in fact, he may be measured by the content of his or her respective character. While it is true that much is made of character, I believe the hour of refinement to be at hand. It is time to measure each other by the adequacy of our respective pockets.

Why are adequate pockets important?

To me, real freedom is defined as having adequate pockets. “Adequate pockets” means ready to the task, confident, free, and secure; adequate pocketry defines a territory and predicates a behavior. Your hands are available to emphasize important points, rendering speech clear and true.  While pockets can be used for concealment, most of us are concealing things that are embarrassing rather than dangerous, like tampons, lint, and old Skittles. The man who can be respected whilst wielding a handful of tampons, lint, and old Skittles is a man who is beyond the scope of this essay. Suffice it to say that with proper pocketry, those able containers, you can pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

What is an adequate pocket?

To define “adequate pocketry,” we must first define certain variables. What must go in the pocket? What are its properties and the properties of its nemeses? What is Strength plus Advantages less Vulnerability? A pocket that is appropriate to, say, a cocktail party, is not necessarily appropriate to a trek across a desert. That’s how we know that Raiders of the Lost Ark, while seemingly probable, in fact is not, as Marion would not have been able to manage herself in that white dress. Unless of course Indiana Jones is her pocket, but that’s so fraught with symbolism that it’s ridiculous, so let’s dismiss it out of hand.

Perhaps a less ridiculous example can be provided?

As usual, I digress. A more realistic example of the value of adequate pockets might be the analogy of the Tissues and the Flashlight. The former can be frozen but is susceptible to wetness, and the latter can be damp but has a more temperate operational temperature. There are many circumstances in which I need both of these, but am not desirous of walking around in the woods with one in each hand. Plus it might be snowing and/or raining, since that’s what usually happens. If I apply the genius of adequate pocketry, then I need protection from both cold and wet. Therefore, my pockets must be thermally insulated and water resistant, to say the least. If my pockets are adequate to the task, it is likely that the item to which they are attached will possess similar qualities. Ergo, I am likely to be dry and temperate, comfortable and secure, and from there it stands to reason that I will also be well rested, well fed, and have adequate brain activity to ensure that I don’t get lost or fall down. And I will probably also have room for a compass and a fire starter. See? It’s like witnessing the birth of civilization.

[Warning: the previous analogy relies heavily upon inductive reasoning. While powerful in laboratory settings, in practical applications inductive reasoning is highly prone to fallaciousness, as not all future events can be anticipated. Therefore, always confirm that roads are present before travelling.]

What is a world without pockets like?

At present, I have been rendered pocketless by the unjust grip of women’s career wear. I tuck gum into my waistband and money into my ahem-ness. Occasionally things wander down into my ordinarily sensible socks. Occasionally, too, the gum gets greedy and sticks to my money. All this so that I may be kicky and carefree like my male counterparts as we wander down streets and whistle and twirl straw hats. If you carry a purse around men, they will try to put things in it. From there, it’s only a short trip to making coffee. While we’ve often heard that the hand that makes the coffee rules the world, we all know that’s lip service—only subordinates make the coffee. I must conserve my wrath at the injustice of it all in order to supplement my future essay: “Pantyhose: Why?” The point is, without pockets, I am not formidable. In fact, I am vulnerable and slightly silly.

OK, we’ve discussed adequate pockets and the danger of being pocketless. What else do adequate pockets do?

Surprisingly, adequate pockets are not always for concealing things or for keeping things handy; pockets are important vehicles for storage as well. I have it on good authority that I possess a pair of pants with a Metro pass from Washington, DC, in one pocket. The Metro pass amuses me because it has pandas on one side and instructions on how to ride the escalator on the other. I envision tourist after tourist from the rich Midwestern flatlands reading the Metro pass as they embark on this latest all-American adventure. We Midwesterners are a stable and curious lot, and many of us still believe that pandas are bears, having never passed through the important pandas-are-members-of-the-raccoon-family belief stage that was recently revised so that they are bears again, as we all suspected in the first place; this is chief among the reasons why the older you get, the grumpier you get. Anywho, first the tourists approach the turnstile escalator entry, all excited about the bears. Wanting to learn more, they flip the card, only to find a comforting set of directions. Sent off into a daydream regarding the beauty of law and order, they’re still moving toward the escalator, and are so absorbed that they topple, one after the other, down the moving stairs.

This pass will remain in my pants until I wash them, at which point it will be moved to a dresser, then a pile, and finally to the recycling bin.

Interesting. Is there a downside to using pockets as storage? Might this be considered an attribute of an inadequate pocket?

Sometimes pockets can mislead you. You think that you are utilizing them for storage but in fact they are a black hole of despair. Photographs and letters are particularly vulnerable. The problem is that the primary purpose of photographs and letters is to serve as tangible memories, and when we want them close to us, we tend to place them lovingly near our groins. Alas, after treasuring them thusly and having our pleasant memory, we tend to forget them until the horror of the after-wash, when shreds of our token evince themselves amongst our otherwise clean load. We are left with a memory of a memory. But even here the cycle of life continues, as the shreds find their ways into new pockets, band with others of their ilk, and create lint. In this manner, nothing is ever truly gone.

How does lint tie in?

As go photographs and letters in the wash, so goes I could have just simply said good-bye, but really this is Auf Wiedersehen—until we meet again. You may not recognize your old friends. We won’t be photographs and letters anymore, but lint, a combination of all, waiting for a great man to wield us and command respect. We may be in the form of a pocketless, coffee-making “working girl” (as my great-grandmother used to say before it meant hooker), or a lost tourist, stumbling over their own knowledge. But really, I think it will be in the form of a prepared hiker, comfortable and dry, rebuilding civilization one tissue at a time, like a really slow Swiss pocketknife.

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