'Nuf Stuff

Maureen with the very flat purse


How many parents out there have shoulder, neck and back problems because we serve second duty as the coat rack or pack mule for the rest of the family? It's bad enough we have to carry our own possesions, but everyone else's, too? The more stuff I have, the less nomadic I can be, so last summer I introduced a new strategy, carrying a hand bag big enough only for essentials, a true "pocket book" with no room for anyone else's castoffs.

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When I switched to this strategy, amusing screams of protest arose when my formerly bottomless bag closed up shop. The treasure trove of goodies in my purse disappeared, including treasures such as socks, dental floss, lip gloss, chap stick, hair brush, water bottle, chewing gum, notebook, sunglasses, ibuprofen, and lactaid. 

"No, I don't have room to carry your sunglasses."

"That's not fair!"

"You'll live."

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I did not do this to be mean, though perhaps my daughter would disagree. The shoulder and neck pain is real, arthritis is taking up residence in my knuckles, and I know I'm getting older by the day. I'm on my two month count down to fifty, which may be why I'm pondering this subject at this particular time. For my birthday, I wish I could mail order a Mary Poppins carpet bag, from which whimsy and full length floor lamps can be conjured upon demand. If only such a magical creation did exist. 

In contrast, many of my friends take pride in being “that person” for themselves and their families. Imagine my surprise when my friend rummaged through her enormous purse and pulled out a massive city phone book, then expressed surprise at finding it in there. She caught me off guard with her ensuing comment, "No wonder this darn thing is so heavy." The bigger the purse, the bigger the boulders get.

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And so my war on big purses has begun. To my friends bearing the burden of incredibly large satchels, here's my advice:

1. Trade in your "ginormous" purse for a modest "pocket book".

2. Brace yourself for complaints when you do so.

3. Repeat three times in the mirror each morning, "I am a person, not a pack mule".

 Your over burdened body and inner nomad will thank you!

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