I read an interesting article in the newspaper the other day. It stated that the major cause of neck and shoulder pain in women is their handbags. Some highly intelligent, highly funded research team finally managed to figure out that walking around with a 40-lb. bag slung over your shoulder actually might lead to discomfort.
Heck, I could have told them that years ago. When it comes to carrying heavy handbags, I pride myself on being the queen of sloping shoulders. My handbag is so heavy, my right shoulder has a permanent droop of at least two inches.
Why is my handbag so heavy? I guess it’s because I’ve always lived by the motto, “be prepared.” If my car were to break down in the wilderness and I became hopelessly lost, I could easily survive for two weeks on just the contents of my purse.
To be honest, I’d forgotten exactly what I carry in my “satchel” until about a week ago, when I finally decided to part with my old, worn-out, stapled-together handbag and splurge on a new one. Believe me, transferring the contents from the old bag to the new one was a real adventure. Each time I stuck my hand into the old handbag to pull out an item, I held my breath, not knowing whether to be intrigued or frightened.
Although I realize I am about to violate a carved-in-stone ancient rule that stipulates no woman shall ever, not even on her deathbed, divulge the contents of her handbag to any member of the male species, I have decided to actually reveal some of the items I found in my old handbag…
1. Clumps of colorful fuzz-balls that actually were an assortment of mints, cough drops, hard candies and Hershey’s kisses that had become so old and sticky, every piece of lint and tissue in the handbag had clung them.
2. Coin and condiment potpourri - 12 pounds of assorted loose change that had fallen out of my wallet and mixed together in the bottom of my purse with the contents of all the little torn packets of sugar, Sweet ‘n Low, and salt and pepper I’d taken from restaurants.
3. Lipstick with a missing cover (which probably explains why the lining of my handbag was decorated with streaks of “Passionate Rose”).
4. A wallet stuffed to capacity with expired credit cards, every driver’s license I’ve had since 1973, already-scratched lottery tickets, my nephew’s fourth-grade photo (he’s married now), a ticket stub from the State Theater’s first-run showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” and sales slips and coupons from stores such as Bradlees and Blockbuster Video.
5. A small can of Lysol disinfectant to spray on public toilets - just in case I actually ever get desperate enough to use one.
6. A bottle of fingernail polish in which the polish had formed into a little rubbery pink ball.
7. Rusty hair pins, safety pins, sewing needles, straight pins and a disposable razor, all of which, as I reached for them, made me wonder if I’d ever had a tetanus shot.
8. Approximately 112 plastic sandwich bags with only crumbs in them.
9. Take-out menus that still listed prime-rib dinners for $3.50.
10. Three mini-flashlights, two with corroded batteries and one with a half- sucked red Life Saver stuck on the front of it.
11. Keys to things I no longer have locks for.
12. Two plastic rain-bonnets that fold like paper fans and once were given free to customers in banks.
13. Aspirin, antacid pills, motion-sickness pills, Tylenol and nasal spray, all with expiration dates old enough to make them lethal weapons.
14. Three bottles of perfume that smelled like old rubbing-alcohol.
15. One nose-hair clipper. ( Don’t ask).
16. A little black book containing phone numbers so old, they all had only five digits in them.
17. A sheet of 22-cent postage stamps.
18. One contact lens, one artificial fingernail, one earring, one false eyelash and one knee-high stocking with a jelly bean and a wadded-up tissue in the toe.
19. Two extremely un-moist moist towelettes.
20. An envelope of negatives I was supposed to bring to the photo lab so I could have reprints made – negatives that had collected so many unidentified specks and blotches from my purse, the people in them looked as if they all were suffering from some sort of plague.
21. A square green hairy-looking thing with yellow streaks and an odor vaguely reminiscent of stale peanut butter.
And to think I found all of these “treasures” in only the first compartment!
Now to describe what I found in the other three compartments…
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