(Copyright 2000. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

August 14, 2000

What you can do with all that stuff

By Sarah Jordan

The Tattoo

It's that time again, you're out buying binders, book covers,
book bags and all sort of other school stuff. Great. Now, let
me ask, what are you going to do with all of that when
you're in school?

There are basically two options on stuff, you schlep it or you
stuff it.

Stuffing stuff can be problematic. The lockers are small and
hard to come by in a school system as organized as ours.

It also creates frequent problems when you need to do actual
academic work.

Handing in papers, returning books, and even finding that
elusive scrap of paper with the hot gal's phone number on it
can be difficult when your home away from home is in a
locker that's maybe half a foot by a foot by four feet and
located somewhere near Nebraska.

Schlepping stuff is my solution, and that of many high school
students. Schlepping is a better solution in the short run.

You have what you need when you do, and don't, need it.

You don't need to memorize combinations or spend minutes
you could be using to study on getting out your books for the

It will be many years from now when I and my classmates
start regretting that we dragged our junk around. The weight
is probably not going to help our future arthritic spines.

Plus, with overstuffed book bags on our backs, we wind up
looking like more like herds of pack animals than the next

There are of course kids who get around the back problems
and looking like llamas.

They do this by dragging their junk around in wheeled

Personally, I can't figure out how they get up and down the
stairs and I don't believe that they all have elevator keys.

Yet they don't deserve immediate respect for this. Some of
them have bags that look like they were marketed to toddlers
for sleepovers.

Even with the majority of your stuff in your locker, you will
still need to carry some of it.

To do that, you need to choose a book-bag.

I've never had a duffel bag, or one of the wheeled things, so
you're on your own there.

Of regular, over-the-shoulder book-bags, there are many
brands and styles to choose from.

Here's what I have come to know about them: in general,
anything that's made from that thin, plastic-coated junk will
fall apart.

These are the kind you'll probably remember from
kindergarten and tend to sport Pokemon and Barbie.

The same is true of some of those snazzy plastic bags
marketed to girls or women.

Canvas and other cloth bags seem to last fairly well. They
can stand up to the rigors of school life.

Some of these are rubberized on the inside. I'm not sure
whether this is intended as waterproofing, but if you get a
rubberized bag really wet, it will stay that way.

Those that don't fall apart seem to be marketed to boys or

This means that unless you shop L.L. Bean, you probably
can't get anything colorful.

Considering a book bag to be a tool, this shouldn't be a

You buy it to carry books, not to sit on a shelf and look

Since what shape a tool takes is controlled by what it does,
the shape of a book-bag should be whatever seems to fit its

There are bags that are just one big pocket. There are bags
that are divided and subdivided with smaller and smaller

I prefer one or two main sections and a few square pockets
on the back.

Some even come with water bottles, and others have key
chain clips.

There are, of course, many configurations and extras to
choose from, so try to find one that works for you.

So do yourself a favor: think about those net pockets and
tightening cords before you find yourself in a real tangle.